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.

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 >>

March 2018

silvialumy (São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)

Silvia Lumy Akioka first started writing for Discover Nikkei in 2009, sharing her experiences as a student in Japan. She was selected as Nima of the Month that same year. In 2012, she visited Los Angeles for three weeks, during which she volunteered for Discover Nikkei. She has continued to help us as a volunteer ever since.

Although Silvia hasn’t contributed as many stories lately, she has been a tremendous help to us as a volunteer behind the scenes. She has assisted us with Portuguese transcriptions, translations, and helping us to communicate with our Portuguese-speaking users. This has been invaluable to us since no one on the staff knows Portuguese!

We asked her a few questions about the importance of Discover Nikkei. Below are her answers.

Why do you volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

I consider Discover Nikkei part of Nikkei history and heritage and that is why I like to contribute in some way to this interesting project.

What is the most important thing you have gained from participating in Discover Nikkei?

The texts I read and the testimonials I watch bring me a feeling of affinity—an indescribable feeling of belonging, affection, gratitude for our ancestors, and pride over our roots.

Why should people participate in Discover Nikkei?

Everyone is welcome to join Discover Nikkei and help us to enrich this legacy, which will remain for the next generations to discover.

Por que você é voluntário(a) do Descubra Nikkei?

Considero o Descubra Nikkei parte da história nikkei e patrimônio e por isso gosto de contribuir de alguma forma com esse projeto interessante.

O que você ganhou de mais importante participando do Descubra Nikkei?

Os textos que leio e depoimentos que assisto, trazem uma sensação de afinidade - um sentimento indescritível de pertencimento, de carinho e gratidão por nossos antepassados e orgulho de nossas raízes.

Por que as pessoas deveriam participar do Descubra Nikkei?

Todos são bem vindos para participar do Descubra Nikkei e nos ajudar a enriquecer este legado que ficará para as próximas gerações descobrirem.

February 2018

Masaji (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Norm Ibuki (Masaji) has written extensively about the Canadian Nikkei community since the early 1990s. Since 2009, he has been one of Discover Nikkei’s most prolific contributors; in March 2010, he was named Nima of the Month. In addition to continuing to share Canadian stories on our site, he has also introduced many Canadian readers and writers to Discover Nikkei.

[EN] I remember being a kid in suburban Toronto in the 1970s and ’80s, reading the stories of Frank Moritsugu and Terry Watada in the now defunct New Canadian newspaper for Japanese Canadians. Even then, I had an inkling that I wanted to take up the Nikkei cause in my small way and help to tell the JC story. Now, after more than two decades of interviewing JCs and writing about us from here and from Japan where I lived for nine years, I know that every one of our individual stories is unique and compelling and has an audience of eager readers who want to know more.

By reading the stories in Discover Nikkei, I’ve learned that we are a strong and resilient community that has contributed a lot to the making of Canada. We should never forget the Issei who dared to leave Japan in the late 1800s and who were not defeated by racism, World War II dispossession and internment, and even “dispersal” east of the Rockies and to Japan. Their legacy survives.

Our leaders today know that education is the key. If you are an educator as I am, I would encourage you to teach our history to your students. Share your stories. Every lesson is a step toward ensuring that the next generation is a better informed one. To our elders, please share your personal stories. And, to younger Nikkei, please ask your relatives about their experiences. Share family pictures and memories of life in BC where the vast majority of our stories began. We come from a remarkable people.

Finally, what really drives my continued commitment to writing for Discover Nikkei is the thought that there might be a kid out there reading my stories who might be influenced in some small way—just as I was, way back when, by Frank and Terry.

Read Norm’s articles >>

January 2018

GabyOshiro (Colorado, United States)

Artist and musician Gaby Oshiro was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Treviso, Italy. In 2016, she shared the powerful story of her father’s abduction by the Argentine military when she was just five years old. She has not seen him since.

[EN] My favorite thing about collaborating with Discover Nikkei is that I get to share pieces of my life and my family with other Nikkei around the world. I also like reading the articles posted every week to learn about history, art, and life experiences. George Takei’s articles are among my favorites.

When Yoko Nishimura asked me to write an article in 2016, I couldn’t decline, even though it was a bit scary for me to write for an audience. I wanted to be a witness to my parents’ lives and deeds, and tell their story so that other people may know about them. Painting and singing were always “my thing,” so writing was out of my comfort zone. But this experience has opened a new way of expression for me that I now work on alongside my artwork.

Read Gaby’s articles [EN] >>

[ES] Me gusta colaborar con DN porque puedo compartir fragmentos de mi vida y de mi familia con otros Nikkei alrededor del mundo, me gusta también leer los artículos que se publican sobre historia, arte y experiencias de vida. También los que hablan de George Takei.

Cuando Yoko Nishimura, la editora de DN me pidió que escribiera un articulo en el 2016, al principio me dió un poco de miedo narrar para un público, pero la voluntad de hacer conocer la historia de mis padres fue mas fuerte. Siempre lo mío era pintar o cantar, poder escribir me abrió una nueva forma de expresión que llevo contemporáneamente con mi trabajo pictórico.

Lea los articulos de Gaby [ES] >>

November 2017

roberto (Lima, Peru)

Roberto Oshiro Teruya is a Sansei Peruvian. He began writing for Discover Nikkei in June, contributing stories to Itadakimasu 2! as well as stories about his family and his identity.

[ES] Cuando navegaba por internet en una red social, veía que mis amigos nikkei siempre compartían artículos publicados en una página llamada Discover Nikkei, de esa manera empecé a entrar a este sitio, veía muchas publicaciones de nikkei de otras nacionalidades, con muchas experiencias similares a la mía, lo que me llamó mucho la atención fue la sección Itakakimasu, donde la gente contaba su experiencia alrededor de la comida, que en casa venían de nuestros abuelos, de generación en generación, hasta llegar a nosotros, en ella animaban a escribir su historia alrededor de la comida, cualquier persona podría escribir, es por eso que me animé y mandé un artóculo, seguí mandando artículos sobre el mismo tema, pero Yoko me aconsejó que escribiera otro tipo de artículos, así pudiera contar todas mis experiencias, recuerdos, que se relacionaban con mis raíces y es así como cada vez me acerco a ellas y con lo que escribo, deseo que la gente también se sientan identificados.

Leia seus artigos [ES] >>

[EN] Whenever I looked at social media on the Internet, I would see my Nikkei friends sharing articles from Discover Nikkei. That’s how I found out about the site. I saw a lot of articles about Nikkei of other nationalities with experiences similar to mine. One section that really caught my attention was Itadakimasu!, where people shared experiences related to food. At home, food customs and recipes were passed down by our grandparents, from generation to generation, until they reached us. Anybody can contribute to Discover Nikkei, so I decided to send in an article about food. I kept submitting articles on the same topic, but one day Yoko asked me to write other types of articles, so I began writing about experiences and memories related to my roots. I hope people can identify with what I write.

Read Roberto's articles [ES]>>

Itadakimasu 2! Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

Read the Itadakimasu 2! stories >>

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation