Chanda Ishisaka

Chanda Ishisaka was born and raised in Monterey Park, California located in Los Angeles County. She is a mixed race Yonsei, fourth generation Japanese and Mexican American. She lived in Seattle, Washington for six years where she happily was involved in the Japanese community and served on the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee to organize the annual pilgrimage to the former WWII incarceration camp Minidoka in Idaho. She currently resides in Orange County, California.

Updated November 2014

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Nikkei Chronicles #4—Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values

How I Remet my Mother

When thinking of the journal theme of Nikkei families, I thought of how much my family has shaped me but how little I have included them in my own involvement in the Japanese community. Even more, how much have I included my Mexican mother in my Japanese community?

Last year I was hit with a dilemma. My mother was coming to visit me in Seattle when I actually needed to leave for Idaho. My organization, the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, was having our annual pilgrimage trip, bringing over two hundred people to the former World War II Japanese incarceration camp …

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identity en ja es pt

Nikkei Chronicles #3—Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?

The Child of a Thousand Generations

The story of my middle name brought pride and also pressure to me at a young age. My middle name is Chiyoko, named after my grandmother Chiyoko, my father’s mother. My grandmother suffered from stomach cancer before I was born. She tried to stay alive to see me born but passed away a few months before my birth. My parents described to me how sad the family was with the death of my grandmother but I brought happiness back to the family. My parents’ favorite memories of me as a baby were taking me to my grandpa’s house where he …

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The Minidoka Pilgrimage and Continuing the Legacy

Today I received the news that my friend and fellow Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee member passed away. Frank was 2 years old during World War II when his family was told to leave Bainbridge Island and go to the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California and later sent to the camp called Minidoka in Idaho. To me, Frank was my elder, a man I respected and looked for guidance and wisdom. With his passing, I can’t help but reflect what the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee has meant to me over the years.

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I joined the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning …

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identity en ja es pt

Nikkei Chronicles #2—Nikkei+: Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race

Diary of a Mad Hapa Judo Girl

Being a martial artist was not supposed to be a part of my life. The plan for me was to focus on school and get good grades. But my dad asked my younger brother to learn judo when he was five years old and I became jealous. I asked my father if I could join. He said that I could but with the condition that I had to stay in judo until I received a black belt. At this time, I should mention that my father was a judo sensei, and he was strict about not having any quitters …

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Nikkei Chronicles #1—ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture

The Black Noodle

I made some soba for dinner today. Soba is a Japanese noodle made with buckwheat flour. My memory of soba noodles is having them with my obachan (grandma) at this one restaurant I grew up with called Oki’s in Monterey Park, California, which is no longer open.

I must have been around six years old when one day, I was at Oki’s with my two aunts. I was trying to explain to them I wanted soba.

Although at that time, I didn’t know what they were called. I never knew the Japanese words for the things I ate. I still …

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