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Nima are members of the Discover Nikkei online community called Nima-kai. Join our community and share your stories about the Nikkei experience. Click an icon on the map to connect with Nima around the world!

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

Nima del Mes

jsunada (California, United States)

Mary Sunada taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 36 years. She is a member of the Orange County Buddhist Church, Japanese American National Museum, and the Go for Broke National Education Center. Her interests are in fishing, dancing, and traveling with family and friends.

Mary has been a Nima since 2014 and has contributed to several Nikkei Chronicles series include Nikkei Names (2014), Nikkei Family (2015), Nikkei-go (2016), and Nikkei Roots (2018). Her submission for Nikkei Names was voted a Nima-kai favorite! We asked her a few questions about the importance of Discover Nikkei.

Why is it important to you to share stories about your family, especially your father, on Discover Nikkei?

I am a daughter of a World War II US Army veteran who served in MIS (Military Intelligence Service). My father passed away when I was six months old. He was only 29, and my mom was 21. As I was growing up, Mom did not talk much about Dad. I only had a few old photos of him. My mom did save his military documents, an old address book, a Japanese/English dictionary and the American flag presented to her upon his death. My passion for knowing more about my dad grew into writing stories about and for him. These stories on Discover Nikkei were a platform for me to preserve his memory, to share my emotions with others, and to comfort me from time to time.

You have contributed to several of the Nikkei Chronicles. What do you like about the themed series?

These stories from Discover Nikkei have been about okage sama de, “because of you, I am.” This theme of family is important to me because it reveals who I am and where I came from. I began to realize that I was learning more about myself by researching my father’s documents, finding his living relatives, and traveling to Japan with the help of my husband, John. All my strength, loyalty, gratitude, and love came from my parents. I would not change any part of my life. I owe all that I am or will be to my ancestors before me. I am an essential part of them, and they will always be an important part of me.

Read Mary’s articles >>

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Raíces Nikkei: Indagando en Nuestra Herencia Cultural

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