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*The term “Nima” comes from combining Nikkei and nakama (Japanese for “colleagues”, or “fellows”, or “circle”).

Nima of the Month

KatoSaori (Tōkyō, Japan)

Originally from Yokohama in the Kanagawa prefecture, Kato Saori started contributing to Discover Nikkei earlier this year. Her articles for Discover Nikkei are about Amami Islanders, people who originally hailed from the Northern Ryukyu Islands in Japan, who have immigrated to Brazil. This is closely related to her work at Kanagawa University, where she studied migration and spent one year abroad at São Paulo University in Brazil. In addition to her research she currently serves as an exhibition guide at the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

[EN] I think that any person at one point in life questions his or her identity. As for me, there was a time when I wanted to find out who I was and where I came from.

My paternal grandfather was not around for as long as I can remember. So, I only know some parts of my roots on his side, which were told by my grandmother.

Luckily, on my mother’s side, I have some clear memories of having communicated not only with my grandparents but also with my great-grandfather. Even my great-uncle and great-aunt are around now, so I have been able to trace back some generations of my maternal roots.

But my paternal roots are simply one mysterious family - my grandparents who so suddenly appeared on earth. With no trace, it’s almost impossible to trace back their roots before their generation. Now that my grandmother, uncle and aunt are gone, my paternal roots will forever remain a mystery. I have lost them.

I want to leave some records of people who migrated abroad from a place called Amami and those of their offspring. I don’t want their offspring to get lost in their roots like I have. When I thought about it, Discover Nikkei seemed like my perfect choice. I thought that those who have some connections to people recorded there might be able to find a path to their roots, as long as this project keeps going with records of Japanese people and their descendants carried on.

I believe that Discover Nikkei is a time capsule, which will carry stories of people who have explored the world from many parts of Japan and those of their offspring, to future generations. I hope that this wonderful project will continue to grow, and its records will be passed onto Nikkei in 100 years from now.

Read Saori’s articles >>

[JA] 誰もが一度は自分が何者なのかを考えるのではないだろうか。少なくともかつての私は、自分が誰なのか、ルーツがどこにあるのかを探したいと思っていた。
 
幸いにも母方は、祖父母に加えて曽祖父とも、実際に触れ合った思い出が私には残っている。それだけでなく大叔父や大叔母までもが今現在も健在なので、私は母方のルーツを数世代前まで遡って知ることができた。

しかし、私の父方の祖父は、物心ついた時には既に語り合える場所にいなかった。だから父方のルーツについては祖母から聞いた断片的な話しか知らず、私にとっては祖父母の世代から突然この世に現れた謎のファミリーでしかない。祖父母より前の世代については手掛かりもなくルーツを辿ることは非常に困難になってしまった。祖母や伯父伯母達も居なくなってしまった今、もう父方のルーツは永遠の謎になってしまった。私は父方のツールを見失った。

「奄美という場所から外国へ渡った人々とその子孫の記録を残したい。彼らの子孫が私のようにルーツの迷子にならないように・・・」。そう考えた時、ディスカバー・ニッケイが最適だと思った。日本人とその子孫の物語が記録されているこのプロジェクトが続く限り、このサイトに記録された人々に所縁のある人達は自分のルーツの手掛かりを得ることが出来るかもしれないと思ったからだ。

ディスカバー・ニッケイは、日本各地から世界を目指した人々とその子孫の記録を後世に伝えるためのタイムカプセルだと私は思っている。この素晴らしいプロジェクトがずっと続いて、100年後の日系人たちにもこの記録が届きますように。

加藤里織さんの記事を読む >>

Meet more of our Nima of the Month...

Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

Read the Nikkei Roots stories >>

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