Nima of the Month

Nima are members of our Discover Nikkei Nima-kai community. Our Nima of the Month are some of our most active participants. Learn more about them and what they like about Discover Nikkei.

August 2018

kmatsuno (Glendale, California, United States)

Kira Matsuno is currently an undergraduate at the University of California at Riverside studying business. She is presently working with Discover Nikkei and the Japanese American Bar Association through a summer internship as part of the Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) program. Recently, she spent time with the Honorable Fumiko Hachiya Wasserman, a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. She recorded the judge’s oral history and will soon publish a story about her experiences with the Judge Wasserman. Outside of her work and studies, Matsuno is an avid fan of fishing and sees the activity as a way to stay connected to her Japanese roots and community.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

One of my favorite parts of the Discover Nikkei website is the map of Nima-Kai. It is amazing to see how widespread this community is, and is still able to be connected to one another. Discover Nikkei helps break down the language barrier by translating articles and getting people engaged online. I started contributing to the website through the Nikkei Community Internship program. I have had the privilege of seeing the work that goes into this program, and how the team is constantly working to improve it.

It is extremely important for people to not lose their connection to history, heritage, and community. Discover Nikkei is an outlet that provides the space for those values to grow and keeps people informed on current events that are making an impact in the community. I have begun to see how important it is to recognize, appreciate, and learn from those who have done so much with their lives for the community. It has gotten me thinking about how I can give back so that younger generations can benefit just as I have.

Read Kira’s articles >>

July 2018

Art_Hansen (California, United States)

Art Hansen is Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he retired in 2008 as the director of the Center for Oral and Public History. He has worked with the Japanese American National Museum staff on numerous projects, including Discover Nikkei, and has published many articles and book reviews in various publications.

Art has been contributing articles to our site since 2009 and was previously selected Nima of the Month in May 2013. We asked him a few questions about the importance of Discover Nikkei.

What about Discover Nikkei makes it an important resources for scholars, writers, researchers, and students?

The main thing that appeals to me about Discover Nikkei as a scholar of Japanese American history, society, and culture is that it situates the Japanese American experience into a global, cosmopolitan context.

In what ways have you found Discover Nikkei useful?

The principal way that I avail myself of the rich content of the Discover Nikkei site is as a repository for answering virtually any question or concern that crops up in my ongoing research and writing on pan-Japanese topics.

Read Art’s articles >>

June 2018

Stankirk (Canada)

Stan Kirk is from originally from Canada, but now lives in Ashiya City, Japan with his wife and son. He teaches English at the Institute for Language and Culture at Konan University in Kobe. Recently Stan has been researching and writing the life histories of Japanese Canadians who were exiled to Japan at the end of World War II.

We are currently publishing Stan’s series about Basil Izumi who was born into a Japanese Canadian Anglican family in Vancouver shortly before the war. He and his family were sent to several camps near Lake Slocan during the war, and after they were exiled to Japan. They returned to Canada three years later. The series includes a brief historical overview of the relationship between the Anglican Church and Japanese Canadians.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

Reading the various stories contributed by other writers to the site has really impressed me and broadened my knowledge of the Nikkei experience. It has been deeply moving to see what makes the various life stories on the site both similar to and different from the life histories that I myself have researched and written.

Read the entire series: A Japanese Canadian Child-Exile: The Life History of Basil Izumi

May 2018

jaykun (San Diego, California, United States)

Jay Horinouchi is a Japanese American artist now working as an interpreter/designer in San Diego, California after living in Tokyo, Japan for about six years. Originally from Northern California, he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Although he has only shared one story on Discover Nikkei (about his experience in Japan following the 2011 earthquake), Jay has made his mark on the project artistically. He is the creator of many of our Nikkei Chronicles logos—ITADAKIMASU!, Nikkei+, Itadakimasu 2!, and this year’s Nikkei Roots.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

I love the Nikkei stories that I am able to discover and connect with, and reflect on how that relates to my family’s story. There’s always a new story to discover, that feels a little nostalgic, even if it’s not my personal story. Discover Nikkei is an amazing portal that brings all this together, and is very inspiring.

What have you enjoyed the most about creating logo designs for the Nikkei Chronicles? Where have the ideas for the designs come from?

When I first start to sketch ideas, it’s always a trip down memory lane, remembering the things that I grew up with, and rediscovering what I really enjoyed. For example, I absolutely love spam-musubi, I even dressed up as spam-musubi for Halloween once. So the previous two years had spam incorporated in the design. So this year, I told myself I wouldn’t add any spam, but was quite difficult to restrain myself. But I feel these drawings are small reflections of myself, so I just try to enjoy the process as much as possible.

Read his 2011 article >>

See his Nikkei Chronicles logo designs >>

April 2018

nealtoon (California, United States)

Neal Yamamoto is a Yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese American freelance artist who has contributed humorous illustrations, cartoons, and comic art for over a hundred books, comics, magazines, and educational publications nationwide. He also teaches cartooning and comic book illustration workshops at California State University, Los Angeles, Pasadena City College, Glendale Adult Education, and Santa Monica City College.

Discover Nikkei has been publishing his “My Name is Neal” cartoon series every Saturday since November 2007. We first selected him as Nima of the Month in July 2011. We asked him a few questions about the importance of Discover Nikkei. Below are his answers.

Over the past 10+ years, we have published over 530 “My Name is Neal” cartoons on Discover Nikkei. Which ones have been your most favorite or have seemed to resonate the most with people?

Wow, I’ve done that many cartoons? I hope most of them were entertaining! Oddly enough, the ones that tend to stick in my mind the most are the ones that weren’t humorous, like the ones that have to do with the atomic bomb or about the 100th/442nd battalion.

What drives you to continue creating the series? Why is Discover Nikkei an important place to include a cartoon series like this?

I keep doing it because I like having a forum to express/share my thoughts, humor, angst, or whatever weird trivia that happens to catch and hold my attention.

I don’t know if my cartoon is important in any way, shape, or form, but the forum in which it exists is; Discover Nikkei informs and entertains in a way that educates people about culture and diversity, which is essential to fully understanding our race (that being the Human Race, of course).

Check out Neal’s comics >>

Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

Submissions accepted until September 30.

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation