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Nikkei Chronicles #11—Itadakimasu 3! Nikkei Food, Family, and Community

June 8, 2022 - Oct. 12, 2022

The theme of the 11th edition of Nikkei Chronicles—Itadakimasu 3! Nikkei Food, Family, and Community—takes a look at several questions, such as: How does the food you eat connect your Nikkei community? What kinds of Nikkei recipes have been passed down from generation to generation? What is your favorite Japanese and/or Nikkei dish? 

Discover Nikkei solicited stories related to Nikkei food from May to September 2022. Voting closed on October 31, 2022. We received 15 stories (8 English; 1 Japanese; 6 Spanish; and 1 Portuguese) from Brazil, Canada, Peru, and the United States, with one submitted in multiple languages.

An editorial committee chose a favorite story in each language. In addition, a Nima-kai favorite was determined by online community voting. Here are the selections!

Editorial Committee’s Favorites

Nima-kai Favorite:

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Nikkei Chronicles (series)

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Leftovers

Oct. 12, 2022 • Marsha Takeda-Morrison

“Nokorimono,” my mom said disdainfully. Leftovers. She was emphasizing the rule in our house as she often did, that yesterday’s food was perfectly fine for family, but not good enough to be served to guests.  I was in middle school, and had just told her that a classmate would be coming over to work on a project. I had mistakenly asked if we could finish off the croquettes she’d made for dinner the night before. She bristled at the audacity …

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unique fusion

Oct. 10, 2022 • Mya Sánchez Penedo

Daniel Shimidzu was three years old when he arrived in Peru from Japan. Like many other dekasegi, his family had decided to travel to the country of their ancestors to work, and it was in those lands where the fourth generation Nikkei was born, grew up and had his first encounters with Japanese food. In his most pleasant memories, flavors appear such as the onigiri that his grandfather prepared before going out for a walk, or the stew similar to …

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New Year's aromas

Oct. 7, 2022 • Arturo Wakabayashi

My grandparents, Tatsuzo and Kinu Wakabayashi, natives of Hikone- shi and Shigaken , arrived in the city of Lima through yobiyose , or called by another immigrant, established at the beginning of the 20th century. They had six children, my father Francisco Tatsuo, the eldest, and five daughters: Aiko, Laura Fusako, Isabel Shizuko, Rosa Sueko and Luisa Toshiko. According to the custom of Japanese immigrants, my father and his sister were sent to study in Japan, returning to Peru alone, …

Thumbnail for JANM Sashimi Potluck Lunches: Extended A Pre-WWII Tradition
JANM Sashimi Potluck Lunches: Extended A Pre-WWII Tradition

Oct. 4, 2022 • Chris Komai

Most people appreciate that anyone who works for a reputable nonprofit organization is unlikely to get rich. But the intangible rewards for those who feel the satisfaction of helping to fulfill a worthwhile mission often surpass the limited monetary compensation. And if you’re lucky, you might gain access to tangible benefits unique to the Japanese American nonprofit community. As someone who worked for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) for over 20 years, I witnessed a series of remarkable summer …

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Tree of Lemon

Sept. 18, 2022 • Chiana Fujiwara

Before the current tree came into bloom, its predecessor was flourishing elsewhere long before. The predecessor's keepers, a large Sansei sharecropper family, had to make the best of what they grew while still hoping to remain true to their ancestral roots. They were residing in shacks on other peoples’ land, then to a small barrack across the country barely capable of keeping itself intact, and soon back to a new shack as tiny as ever. Feeding the family a dinner …

Thumbnail for Creole Sashimi
Creole Sashimi

Sept. 16, 2022 • Yuki Nakandakari

It's September and I want to tell you a very personal story about a perfect dish for these hot times of year. It is Creole sashimi . A dish that brings back many childhood memories, anecdotes about my father, my Oji (grandfather in Japanese), my Japanese family, etc. Sashimi is a Japanese dish prepared with finely cut raw fish and/or shellfish. The word Sashimi in Japanese refers to “tasting an ingredient for itself.” The protein is served with a sauce …

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Authors in This Series

Chiana Fujiwara is a fifth generation Japanese American, fifth generation Mexican American, and second generation Chinese American college student from southern California majoring in Psychology. Having strong connections to Japanese American Internment during World War II, she has since developed a passion for further researching the stories of her family as well as the general period and its impacts at large. Other hobbies include ancient Chinese poetry and everything that has to do with history.

Updated October 2023

Keiko Fukuda was born in Oita, Japan. After graduating from International Christian University, she worked for a publishing company. Fukuda moved to the United States in 1992 where she became the chief editor of a Japanese community magazine. In 2003, Fukuda started working as a freelance writer. She currently writes articles for both Japanese and U.S. magazines with a focus on interviews. Fukuda is the co-author of Nihon ni umarete (“Born in Japan”) published by Hankyu Communications. Website: 

Updated July 2020

Javier García Wong-Kit is a journalist, professor, and director of Otros Tiempos magazine. Author of Tentaciones narrativas (Redactum, 2014) and De mis cuarenta (ebook, 2021), he writes for Kaikan, the magazine of the Japanese Peruvian Association.

Updated April 2022

Enrique Higa is a Peruvian Sansei (third generation, or grandchild of Japanese immigrants), journalist and Lima-based correspondent for the International Press, a Spanish-language weekly published in Japan.

Updated August 2009

Kyra Karatsu was born and raised in Santa Clarita, CA. She is currently a first-year Journalism student at College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA and hopes to transfer to a university after the completion of her AA degree. Kyra is a Japanese-German Yonsei and enjoys reading and writing about the Asian American experience.

Updated January 2021

Chris Komai is a freelance writer, who has been involved in Little Tokyo for more than four decades. He was the Public Information Officer of the Japanese American National Museum for over 21 years, where he handled public relations for the organization’s special events, exhibitions and public programs. Prior to that, Komai worked for the Japanese-English newspaper, The Rafu Shimpo, for 18 years as a sports writer, sports editor, and English editor. He still contributes articles to the newspaper and writes for Discover Nikkei on a variety of topics.

Komai was Past Board Chair for the Little Tokyo Community Council and is currently First Vice Chair. He also serves on the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association board. He has been a member of the Southern California Nisei Athletic Union Board of Directors for basketball and baseball for almost 40 years and sits on the Board of the Nikkei Basketball Heritage Association. Komai earned a B.A. degree in English from the University of California at Riverside.

Updated December 2019

Yuki Nakandakari is a Peruvian chef who has directed the restaurants “Chalaco's” in Philadelphia, “Pisco” in Baltimore, “Ocopa” in Washington DC and the “Lima's Chicken” chain, among others. He is currently promoting the first Cevicheria Pop-Up concept in the USA with “Ceviche Brothers”. Host of the first Peruvian Talk-Show in the US “Loreando Entre Causas”. Contributor to influential radio stations, magazines and newspapers in the United States, as well as winner of various recognitions for his professional career. He has participated in gastronomic fairs such as “Perú Fusión” NJ and “Perú to the World Expo” NY, where he was distinguished on the list of “Top Peruvian Chef in the USA 2021” and the TV program Sabor & Fusión by SurPeru. Member of the 2022 Board of Directors of the Peruvian American Chefs Association PACH.A. and Culinary Director of Top Peruvian Chef. The prestigious international gastronomic guide Michelin included it in its 2017 Washington DC edition.

Last updated September 2022

Meiry Mayumi Onohara received a degree in Letters and Accounting from the Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil, and she is currenly a Master's student in Accounting at the same university. She is a Nisei on her father's side and a Sansei on her mother's side. Her father is from Saga-ken and her mother's family came from Kobe. She used to be a Portuguese language teacher, but today she manages the family business.

Updated May 2022

Roberto Oshiro Teruya is a 53-year-old Peruvian of the third generation (Sansei); his parents, Seijo Oshiro and Shizue Teruya, both came from Okinawa (Tomigusuku and Yonabaru, respectively). He lives in Lima, the capital of Peru, where he works in the retail clothing business in the city's downtown. He is married to Jenny Nakasone and they have two children Mayumi (23) and Akio (14). He has a deep interest in continuing to preserve the customs inculcated by his grandparents, including cuisine and the butsudan, and hopes his children will do the same.

Updated June 2017

David Sato is a Sansei born and raised in Southern California. His father was a General Practitioner in Little Tokyo. His mother was raised in Hawaii and married his father just prior to being shipped to the camps in 1942. Sato felt fortunate in his opportunity to become a cardiologist in Burbank, where he practiced for 36 years. He now runs a Multi-specialty Medical Group for Providence Health and Services.

Updated August 2022

Mya Sánchez Penedo is a Peruvian communicator with a major in journalism. In 2022, it obtained second place in the Reduction of Inequalities category of the first Responsible Journalism Contest. She has worked as a gender journalist in the independent media La Antígona. Currently, he is a Press Assistant at the Peruvian-Japanese Association.

Marsha Takeda-Morrison is a writer and art director living in Los Angeles who drinks way too much coffee. Her writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Parents, Genlux, Niche,, and other lifestyle, education, and parenting publications. She also covers pop culture and has interviewed the likes of Paris Hilton, Jessica Alba, and Kim Kardashian. While she spends a lot of time in Hollywood she has never had plastic surgery, given birth to an actor’s child, or been on a reality show. Yet.

Updated May 2023

Chuck Tasaka is the grandson of Isaburo and Yorie Tasaka. Chuck’s father was 4th in a family of 19. Chuck was born in Midway, B.C., and grew up in Greenwood, B.C. until he graduated from high school. Chuck attended University of B.C. and graduated in 1968. After retirement in 2002, he became interested in Nikkei history. (Profile photo courtesy of Nelson photographer)

Updated October 2015

Cody Uyeda is a fourth generation Japanese American living in Southern California. He has a BA and JD from USC and an Ed.M from HGSE, and currently works in educational research and the Asian American nonprofit space.

Updated July 2022

Arturo Wakabayashi is a civil engineer. He is a third generation Nikkei, born in Lima. Paternal grandparents are immigrants from Shigaken , and maternal grandparents are immigrants from Yamagataken .

Last updated September 2022

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