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.

September 2020

msaito4 (California, United States)

Matthew Saito (msaito4) is currently a third year student at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Finance and minoring in Philosophy, with an emphasis in Business Law. He plans to go to law school to work in either the civil rights or business law field.

This past summer, Discover Nikkei once again partnered with the Japanese American Bar Association to host a Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) program intern. For his primary assignment, Matthew interviewed pioneering transgender civil rights attorney Mia Yamamoto. He researched and wrote about trailblazer Chiyoko Sakamoto and the resurgence of xenophobia against Asian Americans due to COVID-19. For the More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports special series, he wrote about Nikkei youth basketball leagues. We will be sharing his final article reflecting on his internship experience later this month.

The Discover Nikkei Team thanks Matthew for his hard work this summer and wish him well in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

I really love Discover Nikkei because of the connections that it creates with Nikkei around the world. Discover Nikkei breaks the barriers of physical distance and documents the stories of Nikkei from a wide variety of backgrounds, locations, and environments. The stories and experiences shared on Discover Nikkei cannot be found anywhere else, and allows other Nikkei to connect with individuals that they may not have met otherwise.

What was the most rewarding part of your intern experience?

It was such a privilege to be the Japanese American National Museum’s intern this summer, and I enjoyed every minute of it! The most rewarding part of the experience was that I was able to meet and interact with so many different leaders in the Japanese American community. Each of these leaders gave me such great insight about how I can impact the community and create change for the future generations!

Read his articles >>

August 2020

laurahh (São Paulo, Brazil)

Laura Honda-Hasegawa (laurahh) is a Sansei in São Paulo, Brazil. Her writing shares her and others’ experiences and perspectives of being Nikkei. In her fiction, her stories explore life for dekasegi living in Japan.

She has been contributing her stories in both Portuguese and Japanese on Discover Nikkei since 2011. In addition to writing three original series, she has also written articles for Nikkei Chronicles, Kizuna 2020, and on other topics. Laura also helps us with translations, reviewing and editing Portuguese articles submitted by others, serving as an editorial committee member for past Nikkei Chronicles, led a writing workshop for us, recruited other writers, and more!

In addition to your own stories, you have contributed to Discover Nikkei in many ways. What makes this project so important to you?

I am interested in Japanese culture and the history of the Japanese who emigrated to different countries, and I've been writing about this topic. I owe this to the existence of Discover Nikkei, for if it hadn't been for this project I would hardly have had such an opportunity. It brings me joy to be able to contribute, at least a little, by expressing, through family and community stories, how I think and feel. I hope Discover Nikkei becomes the meeting point for Nikkei from all over the world, a special place where everyone can reinforce the strong ties that bind them.

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

I’ve been contributing to Discover Nikkei since July 2011 and it’s gratifying to know that, during these 9 years, I’ve been able to share through my writing my experiences as a Brazilian Nikkei. These days, that has been my ikigai, my life’s purpose.

Read her stories >>

Além de colaborar com suas histórias, você tem contribuído de diferentes maneiras para o Discover Nikkei. O que torna o nosso projeto tão importante para você?

Eu me interesso pela cultura japonesa e pela história dos japoneses que emigraram para diferentes países e tenho escrito sobre o assunto. Devo isto à existência do Discover Nikkei, porque se não fosse esse projeto dificilmente eu teria uma oportunidade dessas. Poder contribuir, pelo menos um pouco, expressando minha maneira de pensar e de sentir, através de histórias familiares e da comunidade, é motivo de felicidade. Espero que o Discover Nikkei seja o ponto de encontro dos nikkeis do mundo inteiro, um lugar especial onde todos possam estreitar os fortes laços que os unem.

O que de mais significativo aconteceu em consequência de ter se conectado ao Discover Nikkei?

Colaboro no Discover Nikkei desde julho de 2011 e é gratificante saber que, nestes 9 anos, pude transmitir através da escrita as minhas experiências como nikkei brasileira. Atualmente isto tem sido o ikigai, o meu propósito de vida.

Leia suas histórias >>

Q. エッセイの寄稿をはじめ、様々な分野でディスカバーニッケイをサポートしていただいていますが、ラウラさんにとって、ディスカバーニッケイプロジェクトの重要性は何ですか?


Q. ディスカバー・ニッケイへ参加することで得た最も有意義なことは何でしょうか?


彼女のストーリーを読む >>

July 2020

ryusukekawai (Kanagawa, Japan)

Ryusuke Kawai is a Japanese journalist and writer. He was previously a reporter for Mainichi Shinbun, but now works independently. He has written many books, including Yamato Colony: The Pioneers Who Brought Japan to Florida. He has been an active contributor on Discover Nikkei since 2010, exploring diverse topics such as John Okada’s No-No Boy, the Moriguchi family in Seattle who started the Uwajimaya Japanese markets, and reviews of Japanese American literature. He was previously named Nima of the Month in February 2015.

His current series presents letters exchanged by Issei Sukeji “George” Morikami and his sister-in-law’s family after the war. Morikami was a member of the pre-war Yamato Colony in Florida. Following World War II, he purchased land and continued to farm on his own. He later donated land to Palm Beach County where the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is now located.

With over 150 articles published within six series on Discover Nikkei from 2010 to now, why do you feel it’s important to continue sharing your stories on our site?

After a year spent in America in 1986, as a nonfiction writer I became very interested in people’s lives which straddled two countries. I’m attracted to the site especially when I think about the relationship between Japan and the war that had a huge impact on the idea of how the Japanese should be.

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

When I write a piece of nonfiction, I interview people, do research, and learn new facts. I also get to think about the meanings behind those facts. The most inspiring and meaningful thing for me is that I get to discover things and contemplate in the process of reporting and writing essays.

Read his articles >>

Q. 2010年から今にかけて150以上ものエッセイを6つのシリーズを通して書いてくださっていますが、ディスカバーニッケイへエッセイを書きづつける意義は何でしょうか?


Q. ディスカバーニッケイへエッセイをシェアすることで得た最も有意義なことは何でしょうか?


彼のストーリーを読む >>

June 2020

marissa (San Jose, California, United States)

Marissa is a Girl Scout from south San Jose, who is part of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Girl Scouts. She wrote a series of stories on Japanese immigrants detained on Angel Island during World War II as part of her Gold Award project, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Working in conjunction with Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, her final plan is to create an exhibit dedicated to the Japanese experience on Angel Island during World War II. She is very interested in sharing stories on the Japanese incarceration to members of each new generations, so that their pain will never be forgotten but used to create a better future.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

My favorite part about Discover Nikkei is how it connects so many people from so many different places and countries. Just reading all these stories brings this feeling of warmth and inclusion, with the Japanese community from around the world coming together to help preserve and share their culture. The fact that I get to participate in that is amazing! It shows me that I can make a difference, and helps me reach much wider audiences.

All of the articles are so interesting, they share the unique parts of different cultures with the world, and I learn something new every time I read them. By learning about the Japanese communities in different countries, I learn to broaden my horizons and open my eyes to the rest of the world. This global connectivity brings people from different countries, cultures, and religions together to share their stories and knowledge with the world, and I believe that this is what matters most in these uncertain times.

Read her articles >>

May 2020

tnimura (Washington, United States)

Tamiko Nimura is an Asian American (Sansei/Pinay) freelance writer, community journalist, and public historian. She grew up in Northern California and now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

We first came across Tamiko when we found an article she had written about Ichiro leaving the Seattle Mariners in 2012. We were happy to republish it on Discover Nikkei, and since then, she has been contributing stories on Discover Nikkei regularly about Nikkei in the Tacoma/Seattle area, as well as other topics dear to her.

Her submission to the first Nikkei Chronicles: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture was selected as an editorial committee favorite. She has also served on the editorial committees for the Nikkei Names (#3) and Nikkei Roots (#7) special series. She was previously selected as Nima of the Month in March 2013.

With 75 articles published on Discover Nikkei from 2012 to now, why do you feel it’s important to continue sharing your stories on our site? What other stories would you still like to write?

I’ve been so grateful to have the opportunity to cover and grow as a writer and a member of the Japanese American community through Discover Nikkei. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people, places, and causes through this platform, and to highlight their good work.

I’d still like to write more about the Nikkei community in Tacoma, and share more with the community about the two books I’ve been writing. One is a co-written graphic novel about Japanese American wartime resistance and the other is a family memoir in connection with my father’s unpublished memoir about his incarceration in Tule Lake. There are so many lesser-known Nikkei stories in the Pacific Northwest and I hope to continue to research and share them.

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

One of the most meaningful things happened with the translation of my article “My Log Cabin Sukiyaki Song” into all of the site’s languages. This led to being published internationally, in Peru, Canada, Japan, and Brazil. The translation into Japanese meant that I was able to send a piece of my writing to my relatives in Hiroshima, Japan. That I was writing about my father, their cousin, made it so meaningful for me. I don’t speak very much Japanese, and they don’t speak very much English (though their English is much better than my Japanese!).

Read her articles >>

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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

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Major support by The Nippon Foundation