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.

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 >>

Setembro 2019

javapotomac (Maryland, United States)

Members of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) include Japanese American veterans of World War II and the Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf wars. Through their newsletter, The Advocate, they have been connecting and sharing stories about Nikkei veterans.

JAVA began sharing their stories with Discover Nikkei this January, written by the association’s researchers as well as by veterans and their families.

We asked Gerald Yamada, JAVA President, what they like about Discover Nikkei and this is what he said:

Discover Nikkei has long been listed on the Japanese American Veterans Association’s “Resource” page and for good reason! Discover Nikkei brings together a unique mix of historical and contemporary articles and issues connected to Nikkei.

While JAVA members are always thrilled to see a profile related to those who served in the 100th/442nd or MIS as well as stories of individuals who were incarcerated in wartime internment camps, we are equally fascinated to read about the rich and varied experiences of those with Japanese ancestry around the world. Indeed, it is not unusual to consult Discover Nikkei for a wide range of interesting articles such as specific information on the 442nd veteran and artist Shinkichi G. Tajiri who created the Friendship Knot in Bruyères, France, to other articles on say the Japanese tradition of “forest bathing.”

Discover Nikkei leads readers to think deeply about shared history; it is an uncommon bridge to commonalities among persons of Japanese ancestry.

Read Japanese American Veterans Association’s stories >>

Agosto 2019

kaylatanaka (Torrance, California, United States)

Kayla Tanaka is presently working with Discover Nikkei and the Japanese American Bar Association through a summer internship as part of the Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) program. She is attending the University of California, Riverside (UCR), majoring in economics. Outside of her internship, Kayla is very involved with her community, including the Nikkei Student Union at UCR and the Intercollegiate Nikkei Council.

As part of her internship, she interviewed Judge Holly J. Fujie. An article and video clips from the interview will be available soon. She also interviewed filmmaker Tad Nakamura on his involvement with the At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum, will be contributing to our Nikkei Heroes series, and worked on other assignments.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

Discover Nikkei is a resource that can be of use to any generation, both within and outside of the Nikkei community. From the events calendar, interviews, and photo archive there seems to be an endless supply of Nikkei knowledge and stories internationally. Although I grew up in a relatively Japanese American community (Torrance, CA) I was unaware of how diverse the Nikkei diaspora truly is, but after doing research through Discover Nikkei I realized that there is a much broader meaning to the word “Nikkei.”

The Discover Nikkei site does not just provide contextual resources, but also a supportive community of alike and diverse individuals that help each other understand and relate to different Nikkei experiences. This site is a great resource that I hope this generation and following generations learn how to use to its fullest potential.

Read Kayla’s stories >>

Heróis Nikkeis: Pioneiros, Modelos e Inspirações

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Descubra Nikkei

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