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Nikkei Names: Writing Workshop in Chicago

Licensing

Discover Nikkei presented a free writing workshop on July 19 at the Church of Christ Presbyterian in conjunction with annual writing series called Nikkei Chronicles #3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João? to explore what your name says about you and the origins of Nikkei names. 

Before the workshop, the instructor Andrew Leong prepared a warm-up activity and asked participants "Tell us about your names." Check out their responses in this album.

Slides in this album 

Andrew Leong Leading the Workshop

Andrew Leong is an assistant professor of English and Japanese literature at Northwestern University. He lead the Nikkei Names Workshop in Chicago on July 19 2014. 

Nikkei Names Workshop in Chicago
Contributed by: editor

Nicole Sumida

From what I understand, Sumida means “corner rice paddy.”  It is also the name of the river that runs through Tokyo.  The Sumida name is well known on the Big Island (Hilo) from 1950s – 80s as my grandfather ran a restaurant and kamaboko factory.  To this day, people will ...

Nicole Sumida
Contributed by: editor

Roy Wesley

My father, Newton Wesley, changed our family name, Uyesugi, at the end of World War II because he thought it would be too difficult to be in business as an optometrist. People would not be able to find him in the telephone book or even pronounce the name. His parents ...

Roy Wesley
Contributed by: editor

Jane Yoshiko Kaililani Ryushin Tanoue

I was named June for the month I was born in. Yoshiko is for my paternal grandmother who’s name was Yoshi.

Kaililani is a name given to me by Kumu Hula (master hula teacher). It means “the skin of Heaven.” It is also the name of a genealogy chant for ...

Jane Yoshiko Kaililani Ryushin Tanoue
Contributed by: editor

Carolyn Chiye Funai

I was born in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii and was given the name Chiye Takita (da).  I was told that my name Chiye means “wisdom”.  Taketa—“Take” means bamboo & “ta” means rice paddy field or as explained to me to mean bamboo rice paddy.  My nickname growing up was “Blondie” because ...

Carolyn Chiye Funai
Contributed by: editor

Mary Louise Doi

I know four Mary Dois.  The first is my mother—Mary Ansai Doi, then me.  Next , my father’s cousins wife is Mary Doi and their daughter is Mary Margaret Doi.  

My mom has no Japanese name and her siblings either have no Japanese name or uniquely spelled names. 

Mom’s ...

Mary Louise Doi
Contributed by: editor

Jane Shizuko Hidaka

I was named after my father, Jack Shigeru Sumida, to have the same initials.  Considering my mother.

Jane Shizuko Idaka
Contributed by: editor

Jean Midori Mishima

My middle name means “green.”  I’m sort of famous because there is a liqueur name “Midori.”

Jean Midori Mishima
Contributed by: editor

Vicky Kumi Murakami-Tsuda

I was named after a soap opera character, Victoria from “One Life to Live.”  The character was on for a long time and was at some point mayor, and was well liked, but also had multiple personality disorder.  Her nickname was “Viki”. Somehow, they named me “Vicky,” instead of “Victoria” ...

Vicky Kumi Murakami-Tsuda
Contributed by: editor

Russel Tsuda

My parents wanted all their children’s names to begin with “R”.  So my brother and sister have names that begin with “R.”  My parents wanted my name to be different from other “Russells” so they purposely dropped one “L” from my name.

Russel Tsuda
Contributed by: editor

Andrew Leong

My parents named me and my brother in alphabetical order (A & B).  There’s not much “Nikkei” about Andrew as a name, but my aunt insists on writing it as アンジュ instead of アンドリュー.

She likes that way of writing it because there’s a princess named 安壽姫 (anju-hime) in a ...

Andrew Leong
Contributed by: editor


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