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.

October 2019

jonathan (California, United States)

Jonathan van Harmelen is currently a PhD student in history at UC Santa Cruz specializing in the history of Japanese-American incarceration. He was introduced to Discover Nikkei by author Greg Robinson, co-authoring an article in April of this year. Since then, he has been contributing diverse stories related to Japanese Americans.

We asked him what he likes about Discover Nikkei and this is what he said:

Discover Nikkei is one of the most innovative and resourceful sites related to public history. By serving as a hub for scholars, activists, and individuals alike to share stories and research, it has created an ideal community for the preservation of Nikkei stories globally. The team at Discover Nikkei have done an excellent job of both showcasing what the Japanese American National Museum has to offer and creating a global network of writers, and I applaud them for this monumental achievement. The stories they have preserved are not only important to the Nikkei community, but are important lessons our global community can learn from.

I am grateful to Discover Nikkei for their support by sharing my articles and for their continued activism related to the history of Japanese diaspora community. I have been fortunate to use Discover Nikkei as a tool for my own research over the years, and for me to be able to contribute my own work has been an immense joy. Along with my mentor and collaborator Greg Robinson, I have enjoyed writing about lost histories for Discover Nikkei that contribute to our greater knowledge of the Nikkei experience.

Read Jonathan’s stories >>

September 2019

javapotomac (Maryland, United States)

Members of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) include Japanese American veterans of World War II and the Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf wars. Through their newsletter, The Advocate, they have been connecting and sharing stories about Nikkei veterans.

JAVA began sharing their stories with Discover Nikkei this January, written by the association’s researchers as well as by veterans and their families.

We asked Gerald Yamada, JAVA President, what they like about Discover Nikkei and this is what he said:

Discover Nikkei has long been listed on the Japanese American Veterans Association’s “Resource” page and for good reason! Discover Nikkei brings together a unique mix of historical and contemporary articles and issues connected to Nikkei.

While JAVA members are always thrilled to see a profile related to those who served in the 100th/442nd or MIS as well as stories of individuals who were incarcerated in wartime internment camps, we are equally fascinated to read about the rich and varied experiences of those with Japanese ancestry around the world. Indeed, it is not unusual to consult Discover Nikkei for a wide range of interesting articles such as specific information on the 442nd veteran and artist Shinkichi G. Tajiri who created the Friendship Knot in Bruyères, France, to other articles on say the Japanese tradition of “forest bathing.”

Discover Nikkei leads readers to think deeply about shared history; it is an uncommon bridge to commonalities among persons of Japanese ancestry.

Read Japanese American Veterans Association’s stories >>

August 2019

kaylatanaka (Torrance, California, United States)

Kayla Tanaka 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. She is attending the University of California, Riverside (UCR), majoring in economics. Outside of her internship, Kayla is very involved with her community, including the Nikkei Student Union at UCR and the Intercollegiate Nikkei Council.

As part of her internship, she interviewed Judge Holly J. Fujie. An article and video clips from the interview will be available soon. She also interviewed filmmaker Tad Nakamura on his involvement with the At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum, will be contributing to our Nikkei Heroes series, and worked on other assignments.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

Discover Nikkei is a resource that can be of use to any generation, both within and outside of the Nikkei community. From the events calendar, interviews, and photo archive there seems to be an endless supply of Nikkei knowledge and stories internationally. Although I grew up in a relatively Japanese American community (Torrance, CA) I was unaware of how diverse the Nikkei diaspora truly is, but after doing research through Discover Nikkei I realized that there is a much broader meaning to the word “Nikkei.”

The Discover Nikkei site does not just provide contextual resources, but also a supportive community of alike and diverse individuals that help each other understand and relate to different Nikkei experiences. This site is a great resource that I hope this generation and following generations learn how to use to its fullest potential.

Read Kayla’s stories >>

July 2019

sergiohernandez (México, Mexico)

Over the past nine years, Sergio Hernández Galindo has conributed many thought-provoking and insightful articles about Japanese emigration to Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. In addition to being an author and researcher who has published numerous articles and books, he is an in-demand professor. Sergio has taught at universities in Italy, Chile, Peru, and Argentina as well as Japan. Recently, he was a fellow for the Japan Foundation, which is affiliated with Yokohama National University.

Sergio was previously selected Nima of the Month in July 2016. His submission for Nikkei Chronicles #5—Nikkei Go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture was selected as an editorial committee favorite.

[EN]
Why is it important for you to share stories of Japanese Mexicans on Discover Nikkei?

The Japanese Mexicans stories are not only interesting but very relevant to understand our history as multicultural countries. I hope these stories will help prevent any kind of racism and intolerance against immigrants in our time.

How do you feel about your stories being translated and read all over the world?

The Discover Nikkei platform has allowed me to connect and meet people from Japan, America, and Latin America. I have shared information on immigrants stories. I feel very happy when I receive mails from Mexico and abroad.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

Some Nikkei people have asked me for information about their own roots that I have been able to obtain in the archives. As a researcher it has been a rewarding experience.

Read Sergio’s stories >>

[ES]
¿Por qué es importante para usted compartir historias de los japoneses mexicanos en Descubra a los Nikkei?

Las historias en torno a los japoneses-mexicanos no sólo son interesantes sino muy relevantes para entender nuestra historia como países multiculturales. Espero que las mismas contribuyan para evitar cualquier tipo de racismo e intolerancia contra los inmigrantes en nuestro tiempo.

¿Cómo se siente sobre el hecho de que sus historias estén siendo traducidas y leídas en todo el mundo?

La plataforma de Discover Nikkei me ha permitido ponerme en contacto y conocer gente de Japón, Estados Unidos y de Latinoamérica. He compartido información sobre las historias de inmigrantes. Me siento muy contento cuando recibo correos desde México y del extranjero.

¿Cuál ha sido la cosa más significativa que le ha sucedido como resultado de su vínculo con Descubra a los Nikkei?

Algunos personas nikkei me han solicitado información sobre sus propias raíces que yo he podido obtener en los archivos. Como investigador ha sido una experiencia gratificante.

Lea los artículos de Sergio >>

June 2019

monakasone (California, United States)

Makiko Nakasone is an Issei journalist who lives with her Sansei husband, Steve and their two sons in La Cañada Flintridge, California and is also the charter president of the Rotary Club of Little Tokyo. She was formerly a staff writer at The Nihon Keizai Shinbun, also known as The Nikkei the world’s largest financial newspapers. Her articles have also appeared in Asahi Shimbun, Japan Times, Sydney Morning Herald, and others.

Makiko began volunteering for Discover Nikkei in February of 2019 and has written articles profiling individuals in Southern California. She hopes to start writing articles in Japanese for Discover Nikkei as well

[EN] What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

By nature, I’m a curious person, and Discover Nikkei is the only website where I can learn about other Nikkei in Brazil, Hawaii, and the rest of the US. The stories about other Nikkei inspire me to do more for the community. They also give me great ideas about how best we can promote cultural exchanges and better understanding, which has been my dream since childhood.

For a long time, I confessed I was proud to be “Japanese” and not Nikkei as I am a Japanese citizen, active in my local “American” community. However, after living in Los Angeles for almost 30 years, I realize that I am “Nikkei,” particularly to the eyes of non-Japanese. For Discover Nikkei, I would like to focus on the Nikkei who may not receive the spotlight because they are deeply rooted in the local communities who quietly and surely promote Japanese cultures.

Read Makiko’s articles >>

[JA] ディスカバー・ニッケイの何が好きですか?また、それはなぜですか?

元来、好奇心旺盛の私にとって、ロス以外だけでなく、ブラジルやハワイなどに住む日系人について知ることができるウェブサイト「ディスカバー・ニッケイ」があるのはうれしい。他地域に住む日系人の記事を読むことで、ロスの日系社会にもっと貢献すべきだと促されることもある。また、子供の頃からの夢だった、文化交流や相互理解促進について、より良い方法のヒントも得られる。

長いこと、「自分は、日本人」と思いながら、地元米社会に根付いた生活をしてきた。しかし、30年ほどロスに住み、「私も日系だ」と気づいた。米国人の目には、私は「Nikkei」だ。これからは、日系人として、「ディスカバー・ニッケイ」を通して、スポットライトを浴びることなく、地元米社会で地道に、かつ、確実に文化交流を行っている日系人に焦点を置きたいと思う。

中曽根牧子さんの記事を読む >>

Nikkei Heroes: Trailblazers, Role Models, and Inspirations

Read the Nikkei Heroes stories and help select the Nima-kai community favorite >>

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Major support by The Nippon Foundation