Nima of the Month

Nima are members of our Discover Nikkei Nima-kai community. Our Nima of the Month are some of our most active participants. Learn more about them and what they like about Discover Nikkei.

Janeiro 2022

norio (California, United States)

Norio Umezu Hall is a transmasculine Yonsei parent, with a father who immigrated from Japan. He writes for a national non-profit and loves writing, watching films, reading stories, spending time with his family, and stargazing.

Norio became a volunteer writer for Discover Nikkei in August 2021. We look forward to working with him more in 2022!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

Learning about the Japanese Latin American Redress Movement as a young adult made me realize I had a limited understanding of what it means to be Nikkei in this world. I love that Discover Nikkei provides more opportunities to challenge my myopia. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a single platform sharing stories about Nikkei people, traditions, and events in so many languages and places.

What made you decide to volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

I decided to volunteer with Discover Nikkei because I support its vision of connecting people across generations through storytelling. Many years ago, I was an officer for the Nikkei Student Union (NSU) at my college. During a discussion about declining participation at NSU events, a fellow member shared they wished leadership would organize more events where we could all learn about our heritage and explore what it means to be Nikkei. I felt angry at the time. I didn’t know how to find information to organize those kinds of events much beyond reading Farewell to Manzanar and Journey to Topaz. (While those are great stories, they only explore a fragment of the Nikkei experience). Being part of the Discover Nikkei team allows me to help build a resource for others who want a kaleidoscopic view of Nikkei communities.

Read his stories >>

Dezembro 2021

ednaih (Los Angeles, California, United States)

Edna Horiuchi is a retired third grade teacher. She enjoys traveling and is trying to learn Japanese. She has been contributing articles to Discover Nikkei since 2017, submitting stories for four Nikkei Chronicles series.

Edna recently became a volunteer writer for Discover Nikkei. She has already written an article about artist Miné Okubo, and is currently working on an interview with performing artist and activist Nobuko Miyamoto. We look forward to working with her more in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I like that Discover Nikkei publishes a wide range of topics from a variety of authors and in different languages, too. It is so interesting to read about other people’s family stories and to learn about little known topics.

What made you decide to volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

I enjoy writing and thought it would be fun to be assigned different stories. Since I recently retired, I now have the time to do this.

Read her stories >>

Novembro 2021

Kotaro71 (São Paulo, Brazil)

Antonio Kotaro Hayata is a Nisei, originally from São Paulo, Brazil, who now works in Japan in the finance industry and also as a legal translator and interpreter.

He recently joined Discover Nikkei as a volunteer writer and translator. He submitted an article for the Nikkei Generations series and translated an article about artist Kenzi Shiokava into Portuguese.

We look forward to working with him more in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

My first contact with Discover Nikkei happened after a good friend introduced me to the website while we were talking about how to exchange more experiences among Nikkeis around the world. Despite that all of us are Nikkei, we carry many different characteristics in terms of cultural, social, and historical background and it is necessary to share these between us. Discover Nikkei can be this kind of tool that I was trying to find. In the website, we can access many interesting articles about lots of topics and can spend a nice time reading. And I am very grateful to connect with Discover Nikkei and can have the possibility to know about other Nikkeis from many countries and can tell them more about Japanese Brazilians.

What made you decide to volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

Since I was introduced to Discover Nikkei and understand their proposal to create more fans for Japanese cultural and spread it, I thought to try to help Discover Nikkei in many ways to improve the site and increase access in order for more and more people to have the chance to know more about Japan. I feel very comfortable to talk with Discover Nikkei people who are very kind and provoke me to think more about what it means to be Nikkei and its importance, and having a chance for helping and developing the project. I am very honored to be part of this project. Thank you!

Read his stories (English & Portuguese only) >>

O que você mais gosta no Discover Nikkei?

Meu primeiro contato com o Discover Nikkei foi quando eu e meu grande amigo estávamos discutindo sobre como trocar mais informações e experiências com outros nikkeis pelo mundo e ele me falou do site. Embora todos sejamos nikkeis, temos diferentes características em termos culturais, sociais e históricos e seria muito bom se todos pudessem compartilhá-las. E o Discover Nikkei poderia ser este tipo de ferramenta que estava procurando. Dentro do website, temos acesso a vários artigos interessantes sobre os mais diversos tópicos, que proporcionam um momento muito prazeroso de leitura. Estou muito contente por estar em contato com o Discover Nikkei e ter a possibilidade de conhecer mais sobre outros nikkeis de diversos países e contar um pouco sobre os nikkeis brasileiros.

O que o fez decidir ser voluntário no Discover Nikkei?

[POR] Desde que tive contato com o Discover Nikkei e entendi melhor o seu propósito de criar mais fãs da cultura japonesa e espalhar isso, pensei em tentar ajudar o Discover Nikkei de várias formas para melhorar o site e fazer crescer o número de acessos, pois assim, mais pessoas têm a chance de obter mais conhecimento sobre o Japão. Fico muito confortável em conversar com o time do Discover Nikkei, pois são muito legais e sempre me provocam para pensar mais sobre ser nikkei e sua importância, tendo a chance de ajudar e desenvolver este projeto. Sinto-me orgulhoso por fazer parte deste projeto. Obrigado!

Leia suas histórias (Inglês e português apenas) >>

Outubro 2021

aldenmhayashi (United States)

Alden M. Hayashi is a Sansei who was born and raised in Honolulu, but now lives in Boston. After writing about science, technology, and business for more than 30 years, he has recently begun writing fiction to preserve stories of the Nikkei experience. His first novel, Two Nails, One Love, was published last month. His website:

Alden began contributing stories on Discover Nikkei in August, including a submission for the Nikkei Generations special series. We hope to share more from him in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I love the breadth of coverage that Discover Nikkei provides. Through this website, I’ve read about Japanese Christians in Chicago; I’ve watched an interview with Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, the author of the seminal Farewell to Manzanar; and I’ve learned what life was like in post-war Japan from the first-hand accounts of Sansei Robert Kono. All this makes me realize the sheer vastness and complexity of our tapestry of Nikkei experiences.

Your background is in writing non-fiction in very technical topics. What made you decide to write fiction about the Nikkei experience?

My Nisei mother had nine siblings and, with the recent death of my dear Uncle Yuki last June, that generation of my mother’s family is all deceased. It’s dawned on me that, as a Sansei, I am now part of the elder generation and, as such, I feel a great responsibility to try to preserve the stories of my Issei grandparents’ immigration to Hawaii and my Nisei parents’ struggles to provide their children with the opportunities in the U.S. that they didn’t have. In writing short stories and novels, I hope to capture certain essential truths of the Nikkei experience—the resilience of the Issei and Nisei to overcome the hardships they faced, especially during World War II, and the many values they passed on to the Sansei and Yonsei generations.

Read his stories >>

Setembro 2021

kyra.karatsu (California, United States)

Kyra Karatsu is a Japanese-German Yonsei from Santa Clarita, CA—about an hour from Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, where she often visited her grandmother, Mary Karatsu, who was a long-time volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum. She is a second-year Communications major at College of the Canyons and works to develop OER materials and Zero Cost Textbooks in her college’s Online Education department. She also contributes to The Rafu Shimpo.

Kyra has followed in her grandmother’s footsteps and is now a volunteer for Discover Nikkei since this past January. She has written stories for us about Oshogatsu and the graphic novel, We Hereby Refuse. In addition, she has shared with us several of her own stories, including one about her grandmother which was included in the Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities special series. We just published a second story that’s also part of the series.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I really enjoy the scope of the platform. One moment, I can be reading about traditional Japanese food, and the next, I’m reading through someone’s intimate, personal journey. It’s also amazing to see how simultaneously collective and diverse the lived experiences of the Nikkei community are. While I might not be able to identify with each and every story on the site, I’m always able to pluck similarities that I see reflected in my own life. On Discover Nikkei, there’s a little something for everyone.

What do you like most about volunteering for Discover Nikkei>

Before volunteering, I had relatively little writing experience and even less experience with interviewing. I was an A student in my high school English class and an editor for my school’s yearbook—but nothing could have prepared me for everything I was about to learn while volunteering. So, as both a student and a novice writer, I’m incredibly grateful that Discover Nikkei has become such a wonderful learning opportunity. And, along the way, I’ve met some really remarkable people who have just as remarkable stories to tell.

Read her stories >>

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Descubra Nikkei

O site Descubra Nikkei é um lugar once você pode se conectar com outras pessoas e assim participar nas experiências dos nikkeis. Para continuar a manter e expandir este projeto, nós precisamos da sua ajuda!

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