Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities

Submissions for Nikkei Generations closed on September 30. Thank you very much to everyone who submitted stories!

Read the Nikkei Generations stories and help select the Nima-kai community favorite >>

The last day to vote is NOVEMBER 5.

Welcome to the 10th edition of Nikkei Chronicles! Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities takes a look at intergenerational relationships in Nikkei communities around the world, with a particular focus on the emerging younger generations of Nikkei and how they connect (or don’t) with their roots and with older generations. Through your stories, we hope to gain insight into how global Nikkei communities are evolving overall.

What are relations like among the generations in your community? How have things changed, and how have they not? Who are some fascinating younger Nikkei that you know, and what are they up to? How do you see your community evolving, and what kind of legacies do you want to leave? Personal stories, memoirs, interviews/Q&As, essays, research, reviews, and other forms of prose addressing these rich topics are all welcome.

Submissions will be accepted from May 1 until September 30, 2021, at 6 p.m. PDT.

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* This series is presented in partnership with: 



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Across Oceans

My parents met in Osaka when Mum was in her final year of school and Dad was a university student. Mum was an occasional backup singer on TV and graduated with a degree in nihongo (Japanese), while Dad worked as a sales representative for a kimono dress and fabric company.

They married in their 20s and enjoyed their life together for nearly a decade before I was born in 1987. With a baby on the way, Dad secured a job at a major Japanese real estate firm. He became a quintessential Japanese salaryman, leaving home before sunrise and returning late …

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Interned and enlisted: My family history

Tomo, my grandfather

My grandfather Tom (Tomo) was a joker, the self-confessed black sheep of the family. He liked to “stir the pot,” and his deep belly laugh would erupt whenever he sensed some kind of family controversy.

Just for fun, he left my grandmother waiting at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney on their wedding day “FOR A LONG TIME” (she said) for him to arrive. She wanted to strangle him. He just laughed.

I called him Pop. He was strong-willed, bullish, hard-working but also very charismatic and well-liked. He seemed to have inherited his confidence from his Australian mother, …

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In Conversation with Japanese-Australian artist Elysha Rei

Brisbane-based artist Elysha Rei’s bold paintings and intricate paper cuttings draw upon her Japanese heritage. Her grandmother Akiko was raised in Osaka until her father died when she was 12, as well as Tokyo and Manchuria. She was working as a typist just after the war when she met Glen an Australian soldier stationed in Iwakuni as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. The two fell in love and married in 1948. They had their first daughter in Japan – Elysha’s aunt, Patricia. Glen wished to leave the army and move to Australia with his new family, but this …

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Life with Grandpa Toyoji & Grandma Kii Imai - Part 2

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Grandmother Kii Imai (1873-1964) displayed her humbleness, respect for all forms of life, her debt of gratitude for everything, and her meekness. She was not as well educated formally as grandfather, but yet understood the nature of man and lived a life of gratitude. She greeted everyone with a deep bow, always with a smiling face. Unlike grandpa, she was the one who tilled the soil and took care of the back yard garden and grew vegetables for the family. She even taught me to sharpen the hoe using a flat file. She would put present …

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Life with Grandpa Toyoji & Grandma Kii Imai - Part 1

PartGrandpa Toyoji (1869-1953--from Niigata, Japan) was unquestionably a unique person, exercising complete freedom and free will. His mannerisms and actions that he displayed, his character that he portrayed, makes me think he was one that no one can ever duplicate. He would be so stern at times, and yet on the other hand he could be very compassionate and caring. Grandfather was never a physical person, in that he was never seen in the back yard garden, nor working with tools, nor involved in any food preparation – he was not a manually oriented individual.

He was indeed a scholar; …

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