Discover Nikkei Logo

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1194/

Considers Pittsburg his home, but always wanted to live in Japan

My home, my home is Pittsburg…my home is, you know, my hometown is Pittsburg, but, you know, my…my life is in Japan. I definitely feel that way. Because in the…in the U.S., you know, I really wasn’t able to find my niche, as far as what I wanted to do, especially when I got out of college, but they only thing that I can think about whenever I was in college and when I was studying, you know, and thinking about what I wanted to do—it was always connected to Japan—it always…you know whenever…I decided to come to Japan, and I said that I was gonna come here, I was gonna try to become an enka singer, but if I wasn’t able to become an enka singer, I would definitely use my studies from college and use them somewhere in Japan. So I always wanted to be in Japan and improve my Japanese and live in Japan.


hapa identity racially mixed people

Date: March 30, 2010

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura

Contributed by: Interview by Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum. Courtesy of Japanese American Cultural & Community Center

Interviewee Bio

Jero (Jerome Charles White, Jr.) was born on September 4, 1981, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. His African American grandfather met his Japanese grandmother as a U.S. serviceman during World War II. They married and had a daughter, Harumi, and eventually moved to his grandfather’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Jero’s parents divorced when he was young so he was raised with a strong sense of Japanese culture. He was introduced to enka by his grandmother and started to sing enka under her encouragment. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003, he moved to Japan and worked as an English teacher and as a computer engineer, but started to pursue singing professionally after promising his grandmother that one day he would perform at the Kohaku Uta Gassen, the New Year’s Eve musical special that she enjoyed.

Jero’s mix of traditional enka with a youthful, hip hop style has revitalized a singing style that has been slowly dying out by attracting people from all age groups. He won over many hearts after hearing about his promise to his grandmother and was a highlight of the night when he did appear on the Kohaku Uta Gassen in 2008. He won the Best New Artist award in the Japan Record Awards that year. He has gained popularity among Nikkei and performed for sold-out audiences in the U.S. in 2010.

(March 2010)

Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
en
ja
es
pt
Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki

Grandmother's influence on decision to go to Japan

(b.1942) Japanese American ceramist, who has lived in Japan for over 30 years.

en
ja
es
pt
Masakatsu Jaime Ashimine Oshiro
en
ja
es
pt
Masakatsu Jaime Ashimine Oshiro

A Possible Path towards Happiness… (Spanish)

(1958-2014) Former Bolivian Ambassador to Japan

en
ja
es
pt
Masako Iino
en
ja
es
pt
Masako Iino

What is Nikkei? (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

en
ja
es
pt
Masako Iino
en
ja
es
pt
Masako Iino

Learning from Nikkei (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Nickname

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Context affects meaning

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Testing assumptions of Japanese scholars

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
Steve Kaji
en
ja
es
pt
Steve Kaji

FOB's

Hawaii born Nikkei living in Japan. English Teacher at YMCA.

en
ja
es
pt
Venancio Shinki
en
ja
es
pt
Venancio Shinki

Prejudice in Japanese school (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

en
ja
es
pt
Mike Shinoda
en
ja
es
pt
Mike Shinoda

Connecting to Japan

(b. 1977) Musician, Producer, Artist

en
ja
es
pt
PJ Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
PJ Hirabayashi

Feeling empowered by taiko

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

en
ja
es
pt
PJ Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
PJ Hirabayashi

Sense of lineage between Sansei and Issei through Taiko

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

en
ja
es
pt
Ann K. Nakamura
en
ja
es
pt
Ann K. Nakamura

Image of Americans

Sansei from Hawaii living in Japan. Teacher and businesswoman.

en
ja
es
pt
Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
en
ja
es
pt
Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki

Japanese influence growing up

(b.1942) Japanese American ceramist, who has lived in Japan for over 30 years.

en
ja
es
pt
PJ Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
PJ Hirabayashi

Diverse membership in San Jose Taiko

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

en
ja
es
pt

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
VIRTUAL PROGRAM
Nikkei Uncovered IV: a poetry reading
Join us virtually and enjoy poetry by Matthew Mejia, Christine Kitano, and Mia Ayumi Malholtra.
NEW SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT
We're on Instagram!
Follow us @discovernikkei for new site content, program announcements, and more!