Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/314/

Interviews

Jane Aiko Yamano

(b.1964) California-born business woman in Japan. A successor of her late grandmother, who started a beauty business in Japan.

Acculturation

Moving here, looking like a Japanese and not speaking it really felt strange. I think if no one said anything, it would be OK, but the fact that people would be kind of upset or kind of look at you funny and they would talk and talk and talk and it’s like, “I don’t understand.” Finally, we learned, “Wakarimasen” you know, and they just kind of look at you like, “Are you just dumb? Are you retarded? Are you slow? What’s wrong with you?” Then I had people, you know, really trying to tell me what they’re doing and trying to explain something to me to make sure that I felt included and I felt so bad. So I would try to understand and I’d look like I’m kind of understanding. And when they laugh, you laugh. But in reality, I mean I understood nothing.

Living in Japan but going to an American school is like living in America unless you have Japanese friends. So my Japanese didn’t grow at all until I graduated from ASIJ, went to Sofia and joined…and started this beauty school. Because it forced me to have Japanese friends that really wanted to talk to me but couldn’t and I really wanted to talk to them but couldn’t. So we’d draw pictures and there was one gentleman in our class that kind of spoke a little English and he would be like our translator. So I mean friendships grew from that and my Japanese got a little better. I can’t say that I understood everything. I used to go home with headaches after school, especially after I graduated high school because I could understand less than half of what the conversation was. And I like talking. I’m sure that surprises you. But you know, I like talking with people and I like being with people so not being able to speak with them or understand what they’re saying or not being able to express what I want to say was very frustrating.


Finding Home (film) identity languages

Date: September 3, 2003

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Interviewer: Art Nomura

Contributed by: Art Nomura, Finding Home.

Interviewee Bio

Jane Aiko Yamano, 38-year-old Nisei-Yonsei, was born in Los Angeles and moved to Japan at age 12 with her Japanese father and Sansei mother. At the time that her family moved to Japan, Jane’s Japanese was minimal, even though she attended Saturday Japanese school in Los Angeles. She was enrolled in the American School in Tokyo, which was largely English-speaking. She then graduated from Sophia University and went to beauty college, after which she went into business.

Ms. Yamano is now fluent in speaking, but limited in reading and writing Japanese. She recognizes the restrictions placed upon women in Japan, but her position as head of a beauty college gives her more authority than usual for a woman. She is a Japanese citizen, having been registered by her father, and is also a U.S. citizen, holding passports from both countries. She has now lived in Japan for over 25 years. (September 3, 2003)

Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
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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.

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Masakatsu Jaime Ashimine Oshiro
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Masakatsu Jaime Ashimine Oshiro

A Possible Path towards Happiness… (Spanish)

(1958-2014) Former Bolivian Ambassador to Japan

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Masako Iino
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Masako Iino

What is Nikkei? (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

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Masako Iino
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Masako Iino

Learning from Nikkei (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Nickname

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

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Little interaction with parents

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

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Context affects meaning

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

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James Hirabayashi
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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

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Steve Kaji
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Steve Kaji

FOB's

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

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Prejudice in Japanese school (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Mike Shinoda
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Mike Shinoda

Connecting to Japan

(b. 1977) Musician, Producer, Artist

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PJ Hirabayashi
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PJ Hirabayashi

Feeling empowered by taiko

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

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PJ Hirabayashi
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PJ Hirabayashi

Sense of lineage between Sansei and Issei through Taiko

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

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Ann K. Nakamura
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Ann K. Nakamura

Image of Americans

Sansei from Hawaii living in Japan. Teacher and businesswoman.

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Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
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Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki

Japanese influence growing up

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

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