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.

Fevereiro 2020

ikuoshinmasu (Kanagawa, Japan)

Ikuo Shinmasu first contacted Discover Nikkei about an article shared on our site by the North American Post in Washington. That initial inquiry then led to a collaboration with the Seattle-based Nikkei newspaper on a series about Ikuo’s grandfather. Yoemon Shinmasu was an Issei immigrant from Yamaguchi Prefecture who ran a successful barbershop business in Seattle, but died in an accident in his 40s. Ikuo was born and raised in Japan, but is sharing his research about his grandfather’s life, with eight parts published so far, available in English and Japanese.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

While I thought I had a good understanding of the experience of Nikkei in the past and just how unimaginable it was, I was completely struck by what they went through, as I read a number of posts on Discover Nikkei and learned the history of immigrants. I think it’s a great site where people can discover the lives of many Nikkei around the world by reading articles written by individuals with direct and honest storytelling.

I was given an opportunity this time to write a series of articles about my grandfather’s immigration to Seattle, and I discovered something as I was writing. For a long time, I had thought that my father, who devoted his life to teaching in elementary schools in Japan after the war, was a mediocre, ordinary elementary school teacher. However, as I re-discovered the fact that he was a Japanese American born in Seattle and spent his childhood and youth in America, I realized for the first time that he was actually a one-of-a-kind, respectable teacher who had seen a bigger world. And I’m grateful that my writing to Discover Nikkei has allowed me to have this discovery.

Read Ikuo’s stories (Japanese and English) >>

Q: ディスカバーニッケイの好きなところはどこですか?それはなぜですか?

日系人は過去に想像を絶する経験をしてきたと自分なりに理解していたが、ディスカバーニッケイ に投稿されているいろいろな方の移民の歴史を読み、改めてその壮絶な状況に驚嘆する。また、リ アリティに富む個人の投稿記事を通して世界にまたがる多くの日系人の方々の生き様を発見できる ので、素晴らしいサイトであると私は思う。

今回、私は祖父のシアトルへの移住経験について投稿させていただいたが、原稿を書きながら、あ る発見をすることができた。私は長いこと、戦後ずっと日本の小学校で教師を務めていた父親は、 うだつのあがらない平凡な小学校教員だと思っていた。しかし今回、父がシアトルに生まれた日系 アメリカ人で、アメリカで子供時代、青春時代を過ごしたということを再認識し、実は父は世界を 知るスケールの大きい凄い先生だったのだと初めて見直すことができた。この発見はひとえにデ ィスカバーニッケイへの投稿のお蔭であった。

新舛育雄さんの記事を読む (日本語&英語)>>

Janeiro 2020

NikkeiVoice (Ontario, Canada)

Founded in 1987, Nikkei Voice is a national Japanese Canadian newspaper that provides an important medium for Japanese Canadian expression and communication through articles covering news, arts, culture, entertainment, food, and Japanese Canadian history.

Nikkei Voice has been sharing some of their stories on Discover Nikkei for many years, through contributions by authors such as Kelly Fleck, Matthew O’Mara, and Luke Galati.

We asked Nikkei Voice editor Kelly Fleck what they like about Discover Nikkei and this is what she replied:

Discover Nikkei is this incredible space where news, stories and resources about the Nikkei community are gathered together in one place. It is what Nikkei Voice tries to do on a much smaller, Canadian scale, and Discover Nikkei impressively does on an international level. These stories cross borders of nation, language and generation and preserve the community's past, informs on the stories of today, and by doing so, looks to keep the community intact for the future.

Stories nourish the mind, give insight into perspectives we might have never had the chance to understand and connect us, no matter the distance. With Discover Nikkei, we in Canada, can learn about what Nikkei in America, Japan, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and so on, are up to, all in one place.

We are grateful that Discover Nikkei shares Nikkei Voice's stories about the Japanese Canadian community. We are thrilled to be a small slice of this international Nikkei community.

Read articles by Nikkei Voice editor Kelly Fleck >>

Dezembro 2019

TWATADA (Ontario, Canada)

Terry Watada is a Japanese Canadian author and poet. He has been sharing his stories on Discover Nikkei since December 2017 and has written on a variety of topics including culture, actors, politics, and racism. His poetry was also featured in Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column in November 2019.

We asked him what he liked about Discover Nikkei and this is what he said:

I like Discover Nikkei because it points to and brings to light the common experiences of Nikkei. No matter where Nikkei live, what they do, or what they believe, we all have similar if not the same experiences. We celebrate traditions in the same way, in food, dance, music, ceremony, observances and customs. We share a culture and definitely a history. It makes me feel connected in many tangible and intangible ways.

There are differences, of course, accounted for by the fact that we live in different cultures. Certainly that plays into our approach to situations and attitudes. In Canada, for example, the Nikkei are more dispersed (mainly because of government edict during WWII) than most. Consequently, there is no visible J-town. There are cultural centres, churches and community organizations, however, they are not concentrated in one area. The majority of third, fourth, etc. generation Nikkei tend to reject Nikkei culture: they avoid festivals, institutions and events; they don't eat Japanese or Japanese Canadian food; they out-marry and tend to be negative about their own kind.

There is no sense of community as a result.

In rectifying the situation, Discover Nikkei allows us to learn about each other. To accept and even celebrate the Nikkei ideal. Back in time, I was surprised to find that wise and worldly activists like Bill and Yuri Kochiyama didn't know about the Canadian internment. Bill confessed to me that “You [Canadians] had it a lot worse off than we did.” Instead of having to tour across the US and even Canada, speaking and singing about the Canadian Nikkei experience back in the Redress days, I could’ve directed people to the website. Or at least, use it to enhance wherever I was appearing.

Discover Nikkei then is a treasure-trove of information and opinion about being Nikkei. My only hope is that it continues well into the future and its readership expands exponentially.

Read Terry’s stories >>

Novembro 2019

densho (Seattle, Washington, United States)

Densho’s mission is to preserve and share stories of Japanese American World War II incarceration to promote equity and justice today. They have be sharing some of these stories with Discover Nikkei since 2006. At COPANI XX in September 2019, we partnered with Densho to present a session titled “Power of Our Stories—Case Studies” where we discussed the importance of preserving and sharing personal and community stories, photos, and videos.

We asked Densho what they like about Discover Nikkei and this is what they said:

Discover Nikkei is an incredible resource to learn about the history of Nikkei communities around the world, and to gain insight into the contemporary storytelling, research, activism, cultural work, and more that is taking place today.

We love that the stories shared through Discover Nikkei are multigenerational, multilingual, and multiracial—highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of the global Nikkei community. It’s vital that these stories are lifted up and kept alive, and we’re grateful that this site helps to uncover little-known chapters of Nikkei history and provide a platform for voices and perspectives that have been previously overlooked.

The information curated by Discover Nikkei, from historical journeys to present-day experiences of people of Japanese ancestry, is absolutely invaluable for anyone interested in expanding their understanding of what it means to be Nikkei.

Read Densho’s stories >>

Outubro 2019

jonathan (California, United States)

Jonathan van Harmelen is currently a PhD student in history at UC Santa Cruz specializing in the history of Japanese-American incarceration. He was introduced to Discover Nikkei by author Greg Robinson, co-authoring an article in April of this year. Since then, he has been contributing diverse stories related to Japanese Americans.

We asked him what he likes about Discover Nikkei and this is what he said:

Discover Nikkei is one of the most innovative and resourceful sites related to public history. By serving as a hub for scholars, activists, and individuals alike to share stories and research, it has created an ideal community for the preservation of Nikkei stories globally. The team at Discover Nikkei have done an excellent job of both showcasing what the Japanese American National Museum has to offer and creating a global network of writers, and I applaud them for this monumental achievement. The stories they have preserved are not only important to the Nikkei community, but are important lessons our global community can learn from.

I am grateful to Discover Nikkei for their support by sharing my articles and for their continued activism related to the history of Japanese diaspora community. I have been fortunate to use Discover Nikkei as a tool for my own research over the years, and for me to be able to contribute my own work has been an immense joy. Along with my mentor and collaborator Greg Robinson, I have enjoyed writing about lost histories for Discover Nikkei that contribute to our greater knowledge of the Nikkei experience.

Read Jonathan’s stories >>

Heróis Nikkeis: Pioneiros, Modelos e Inspirações

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Descubra Nikkei

O site Descubra Nikkei é um lugar once você pode se conectar com outras pessoas e assim participar nas experiências dos nikkeis. Para continuar a manter e expandir este projeto, nós precisamos da sua ajuda!

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