Nikkei Heritage

This series republishes selected articles from Nikkei Heritage, the quarterly journal of the National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco, CA. The issues provide timely analysis and insight into the many facets of the Japanese American experience. NJAHS has been a Discover Nikkei Participating Organization since December 2004.

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food en

Taste Buds Memory of a Childhood on a JA Strawberry Farm

I don’t quite know what to make of the notion of Japanese American food. What I can talk about is what I ate as a child and as an adult, and how my diet and tastes have changed and how I still eat plenty of foods that I ate as a child. I grew up on farms in Southern California during the pre World War II days. My mother was a Kibei-Nisei, which is to say that she was born here in Oxnard and then sent to Japan for her early education. This was due to the fact that ...


food en

Plate Lunch: The Original Fusion Cuisine

Folks from Hawai‘i will tell you: plate lunch starts with two scoops rice and one scoop mac salad. Atop this starchy base, go ahead and pile on any protein-heavy fare you want, just don’t skimp on salt or grease. Glistening slices of beef teriyaki, crunchy chunks of chicken katsu, gristly chains of short rib, golden slabs of mahi mahi, viscous pools of sumptuous stew, fried heaps of hot dog, SPAM, or egg—it’s all game. If the mood strikes you, pour on a ladleful of brown gravy. Garnish with a little shredded cabbage, to add a touch ...


culture en

Yoshiko Wada

“When my two sisters and I were younger, we lived in my maternal grandparents’ home in Tokyo....In those summer months, we could hardly wait to finish supper so that we could put on our yukata and run outdoors to participate in the folk dance practice sessions for the Obon Odori festival....All three sisters wore fabric with the same design motif because our three yukata were made out of two bolts of cloth. We needed Grandmother Tsuru’s help to put on our freshly laundered and heavily starched outfits. She separated the sleeves and the bodices in order for ...


identity en

An American in Europe

What is it like to be a Japanese American in Europe, far from one’s family and origins? How does it feel mingling mostly with Caucasians in their culture and language? Since the summer of 1966, I have lived, studied, and worked in numerous European countries.

My experience has been very positive, a nice compliment to my years of studies and professional work in Japan, Asia and Latin America. While Europe is the source of our political, religious and educational systems, it is now undergoing a major transformation due to immigration and the founding of the European Union. As a ...


politics en

Applying ‘Wa’ as an Activist Provider

Since I came to this county in 1978, I learned a lot about the protection of equal rights, affirmative action, and civil rights. In Japan, I had participated in student movements in late 60’s and early 70’s and raised my voice against the Vietnam War, unequal treatment of ethnic Koreans and other minority people in Japan, environmental pollution, and corrupt Japanese government systems and big corporations.

However, I was always part of the majority there and had never been treated differently because of my skin color, accent, or ethnicity. Since I immigrated to this country, I have been ...