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Nikkei vs. Nisei (Spanish)

(Spanish) As a kid I felt not just Nikkei, I felt Nisei. I distinguish between the two because, in reality, the second generation is still very tied to the first generation that immigrated. Therefore, in my case, I feel that I had more of a sense of being Nisei. In fact, back then, all the descendents of Japanese were Nisei. Nowadays it’s Nikkei because there are also Yonsei, Gosei. So that’s how I felt the way I did as a kid, and, as such, naturally there were good and bad things about it, because in the post-war period Japan still wasn’t a country that people respected as much as they do today. So, we did feel those effects, the Nikkei of that time. But today, for example, those same Nikkei from that time feel differently. I myself feel different actually. Why? Because whether you’re Nisei or any other generation, I think the integration into Chilean society or with Chilean culture is much greater. And taking advantage of our knowledge of both sides, a lot of times one can do things in the professional realm or the business realm that benefits both sides, and I think that’s an interesting advantage.


Chile generations Hawaii identity Japanese Americans Nikkei Nisei United States

Date: October 7, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Ann Kaneko

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Roberto Hirose was born in Quillota, Chile on August 8, 1950. He spent his childhood in an agricultural environment where he met a variety of the local Japanese in Chile. He attended school in Quillota and later in Copiapó. In Copiapó, he had the opportunity to meet people from Japan who had come to the mining area of Chile for work. He studied electrical engineering at La Universidad de Chile, in Santiago (1968-1973). Subsequently, he was awarded a six month scholarship by the Ministerio de Educación de Japón to study Japanese at the University of Foreign Languages in Osaka, and research electrical engineering at the University of Hiroshima for one year. For over a decade, Roberto worked in the machinery department at Mitsui Chile Ltda. In 1986, he worked at Industrias Vinycon (as a manufacturer of industrial fishing materials). In 2002, he managed the diversification of Vinycon in northern Chile, specifically in Caldera, where he directed an agricultural center for the cultivation of abalone. In regards to Nikkei activities in Chile, Roberto actively participated in the Sociedad Japonesa de Beneficencia from 1968 to 1986. Afterwards, he became involved with the Corporación Nikkei de la Región de Valparaíso (formerly the Agrupación Nikkei de Valparaíso) of which he is still a part of today. (May 2, 2007)

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