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

Being Nikkei is inherently a state of mixed traditions and cultures. For many Nikkei communities and families around the world, it is common to use both chopsticks and forks; mix Japanese words with Spanish; or celebrate the New Year’s Eve countdown with champagne and Oshogatsu with ozoni and other Japanese traditions.

This series introduces stories explore how Nikkei around the world perceive and experience being multiracial, multinational, multilingual, and multigenerational.

Each piece submitted to the Nikkei+ anthology was eligible for selection as our readers’ favorites. 

Here are their favorite stories in each language.

To learn more about this writing project >>

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >>

identity en

My Laborious, Glorious, and Ultimately Futile Self-Education

Most Nikkei have the luxury of being brought up with the tradition of our fatherland. To be taught the meaning of Obon by your parents, a Buddhist priest, or both. To be read stories as a young child of a boy sprung up from peaches, tongueless sparrows. Or, if your parents were well read, to hear the fable of a young master from Tokyo known as Botchan bring a Machiavellian red shirted devil from the boondocks down with a well placed punch. To appreciate the taste of good Japanese food without paying exorbitant prices for having it made for you. …

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food en ja es pt

“Shokuiku” activities at Nijiya Market Thinking about the future of shokuiku activities that pass on the Japanese food culture in America

Opening of Japanese Supermarket in San Diego

Today, we can find Japanese food in some supermarkets across America. In big cities, it’s not so difficult to get different kinds of Japanese food such as Japanese seafood, meat, seasonings and snacks. Especially if you go to a Nikkei supermarket, you can find a whole variety of food products – the exact things that you can get in Japan. Nijiya Market is one of the Nikkei supermarkets in America, which has expanded its business from California.

In 1986, Nijiya Market opened its first store in San Diego. Currently, it has 13 stores …

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identity en ja es pt

"Knowing" Multiethnic Identity; Field Notes on Mr. Virgil Westdale

Identity is a fickle concept. When we talk about “ethnicity” and its ties to identity, we are engaged in a delicate balancing act, making meaning out of how we feel about ourselves and how others view us. Multiethnicity provides a compelling model of this negotiation; “authenticity” fundamentally boils down to an argument over “blood” and “culture,” between what others see and what’s in our hearts.

As a mixed Chinese American and a UCLA Asian American Studies graduate student, I deal with these complexities personally and professionally on a daily basis. My position as an “ethnic outsider” who researches Japanese experiences …

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identity en

My Japanese Jewish Girl Fears

As a Japanese-Jewish American girl, I have suffered. 

It’s not just that both of my tribes were placed in camps because they were simply born, or perhaps hated for being smart, bold, different, and even oddly wonderful.

As a Jew, I am reminded continually that I am lucky to be alive, part of the chosen, and should I kvetch about my standing in life, may God burn me like a self-burning bush—and one that isn’t even on sale.

And as a Japanese woman, I have been taught from an early age that suffering is in fact a divine art to …

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community en ja es pt

The Candle That Burns Out

Last May 23, I completed 10 years as Administrative Secretary General at the Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture, known as Bunkyo. In December 2006, the full name of the institution was changed to Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture and Social Services, but that’s a topic for some other time.

May 23 is an important date for the city of São Paulo. On this day in 1932, four young students were murdered by federal government forces, an event that led Paulistas1 to join forces in the fight against the burgeoning Getúlio Vargas dictatorship.

I succeeded Senichi Adachi, who held that …

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442nd ainoko asian american studies Brazil buddhism business Chronicles community culture discrimination fear Food education generation hapa Hapa Japanese Conference identity issei Japan Jewish Jewish-Japanese Mixed multiethnic Nijiya Market nikkei nikkei-plus