Nikkei Chronicles #7 — Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

Stories in the Nikkei Chronicles series have explored many of the ways that Nikkei express their unique culture, whether through food, language, family, or tradition. For this edition, we are digging deeper—all the way down to our roots!

We solicited stories from May to September of 2018 and received 35 stories (22 English; 1 Japanese; 8 Spanish; and 4 Portuguese) from individuals in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Japan, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. For this series, we asked our Nima-kai community to vote for their favorite stories and an editorial committee to pick their favorites. In total, four favorite stories were selected.

Here are the selected favorite stories.

Editorial Committee’s Selections:

  Nima-kai selection:

To learn more about this writing project >>


Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series:

#1: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture 
#2: Nikkei+ ~ Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race ~ 
#3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João? 
#4: Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values 
#5: Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture 
#6: Itadakimasu 2!: Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

war en ja es pt

Tule Lake Stockade Diary: A Story of Survival

Forty five years ago, my father, Tatsuo Inouye, and I sat in the family kitchen to transcribe his Tule Lake Stockade Diary. My two little boys were sleeping in the back room while we cranked it out night after night in a smoky room until I had a paper for my class at UCLA.

It was not just an assignment; it is our family story, our voice, and our stamp on America.

As a Sansei born at the end of the incarceration, I am the first to say that I don’t have any memory of the camps. However, our ...

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identity es

Cartas de Miyako. Ser nikkei en Veracruz

My name is Jumko Ogata and until about a year ago I didn’t know the term Nikkei. Since I was a child, my grandmother had told me stories about her father, an immigrant named Jimpei Ogata (when he was baptized as a Catholic, he added the name Mariano), who came to Mexico to work in the coal mines. But because of his daily experience of inhuman conditions deep inside the earth, he decided to escape in search of a better life.

After several years he landed in Otatitlán, Veracruz, also known as Santuario del Cristo Negro. There he ...

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identity es

Si caes siete veces, levántate ocho

Recuerdo que estaba jugando después de un almuerzo preparado con especial esmero, cuando mi okasan se acercó y me toco el hombro: “¿ves a ese hombre que está ahí? Él va a ser tu esposo”. Me pareció guapo.

Tu ojichan fue un hombre maravilloso, cayó varias veces pero siempre tuvo la fuerza y el valor para levantarse y reinventarse. Un hombre de honor, descendiente de samuráis y uno de los pocos japoneses de su época que obtuvo un título de Negocios en la Universidad de Waseda.

¿Sabías que él fue el primero de la colonia japonesa ...

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culture pt

A música japonesa e eu

Quando eu tinha meus oito anos, frequentei por algum tempo a escola de língua japonesa e a única lembrança que tenho dela é o Gakugei-kai, quando os alunos apresentavam números musicais e peças de teatro para uma pequena plateia de pais e professores. Sempre cabia à menina mais graciosa da turma o cobiçado papel de princesa da história e quem tinha talento musical cantava as tradicionais cantigas infantis.

Eu nunca fui escolhida para ser a princesa nem tinha jeito para cantar, mas havia uma cantiga que gostava muito – “Mikan no hana saku oka” – e eu comecei ...

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media es

Kenji Igei, el cantautor nikkei peruano con inspiración uchinanchu

“Esta es una historia que va más allá de mi propia historia, se remonta a mis ancestros, a mis raíces, pero no deja de ser mía. Este es un viaje que va más allá de cruzar un inmenso océano, de sentir una emoción que está dispuesta a no apagarse más, esta es la historia de este viaje, un encuentro con mi identidad, con la fuerza que heredé en el alma y las sonrisas que brotan al decir Uchinanchu Yaibin”.

Esta es una estrofa del tema que todos cantaron, a una sola voz, en ...

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