ニッケイ物語#3 — ニッケイ人の名前:太郎、ジョン、フアン、ジョアオ?

名前にはどんな意味があるのでしょう?このシリーズでは、名前の意味や起源など、日系人の名前(姓、名前、あだ名を含む)にまつわるこれまで語られることのなかったストーリーを紹介します。

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その他のニッケイ物語シリーズ: 

#1: いただきます!ニッケイ食文化を味わう
#2: ニッケイ+ ~混ざり合う言語、伝統、世代、人種の物語~
#4: ニッケイ・ファミリー: 記憶、伝統、家族観 
#5: ニッケイ語:家族、コミュニティ、文化の言葉 
#6: いただきます 2!新・ニッケイ食文化を味わう 
#7: ニッケイ・ルーツ:私たちの文化の足跡をたどる

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What's in a Name?

My parents named me Gorobei Yoshida. It is an old fashioned name. My mother said I was named after her grandfather, who was a respected man in our village back in Japan, but my uncle says, that was the name of my mother’s favorite movie star as a teen. Most of my friends call me Goro, at least, the ones who can pronounce my name properly. My father’s Mexican helpers have nicknamed me Gordo. My father is a gardener.

My father moved the family here from Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, when I was 12 years old. As he spoke ...

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You Can Call Me Ben

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet) William pretty much sums it up for me as far as names go, but it is interesting to learn about how names are determined by different times and cultures.

In Japan, middle names were not used, but in the turn-of-the-century America, Japanese pioneer immigrants, Issei, in most cases gave their Nisei children, second generation Japanese in America, Japanese middle names as well as American names. American names were given in order to ease assimilation into the American ...

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What’s in a Nikkei Name?

Writing assignment: an essay about Nikkei Names. A cinch, until I asked myself the question, “What is a Nikkei name?” As I understand it, Nikkei is the term we are using these days for Japanese in the diaspora? If so, should I write about Japanese names? That would be a short essay, unless I made a list of all the Japanese names I know—actually, it would still be a short essay.

So, if not “Japanese” names, then I’ll write about names people have who are of Japanese ancestry. Easy enough, except that I know little about names. I ...

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Here’s My Name

My mother wanted to name me Nicolas, after her father. He died when she was still very young. My father was against it. He didn’t want any of the kids named after anyone in the family. He wanted all of us to have our own names. Being, that my dad is a junior, I’m sure the pressure of being named and following in grandfather’s footsteps must have weighed heavily on him.

My grandfather had been a Bracero during World War II, and he became a landowner. He was well loved in the town my dad was born ...

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Don't Call Me Michael!

I was born in Japan. My birth name is Murase Ichiro [村瀬一郎]. My obaachan proposed “Ichiro”—a name not uncommon for a first-born male, but she also had another reason. My grandmother, who taught at Kyoritsu Women’s University in Tokyo, had been a friend of the mother of Hatoyama Ichirō, a Japanese politician who later headed the center-right Liberal Democratic Party and became the Prime Minister of Japan. (He’d be turning in his grave to know that a person with progressive, left-leaning politics was named after him.)

When I came to America at age nine, we first lived ...

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