2020 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 2020

NikkeiVoice (Ontario, Canada)

Founded in 1987, Nikkei Voice is a national Japanese Canadian newspaper that provides an important medium for Japanese Canadian expression and communication through articles covering news, arts, culture, entertainment, food, and Japanese Canadian history.

Nikkei Voice has been sharing some of their stories on Discover Nikkei for many years, through contributions by authors such as Kelly Fleck, Matthew O’Mara, and Luke Galati.

We asked Nikkei Voice editor Kelly Fleck what they like about Discover Nikkei and this is what she replied:

Discover Nikkei is this incredible space where news, stories and resources about the Nikkei community are gathered together in one place. It is what Nikkei Voice tries to do on a much smaller, Canadian scale, and Discover Nikkei impressively does on an international level. These stories cross borders of nation, language and generation and preserve the community's past, informs on the stories of today, and by doing so, looks to keep the community intact for the future.

Stories nourish the mind, give insight into perspectives we might have never had the chance to understand and connect us, no matter the distance. With Discover Nikkei, we in Canada, can learn about what Nikkei in America, Japan, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and so on, are up to, all in one place.

We are grateful that Discover Nikkei shares Nikkei Voice's stories about the Japanese Canadian community. We are thrilled to be a small slice of this international Nikkei community.

Read articles by Nikkei Voice editor Kelly Fleck >>

Fevereiro 2020

IkuoShinmasu (Kanagawa, Japan)

Ikuo Shinmasu first contacted Discover Nikkei about an article shared on our site by the North American Post in Washington. That initial inquiry then led to a collaboration with the Seattle-based Nikkei newspaper on a series about Ikuo’s grandfather. Yoemon Shinmasu was an Issei immigrant from Yamaguchi Prefecture who ran a successful barbershop business in Seattle, but died in an accident in his 40s. Ikuo was born and raised in Japan, but is sharing his research about his grandfather’s life, with eight parts published so far, available in English and Japanese.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

While I thought I had a good understanding of the experience of Nikkei in the past and just how unimaginable it was, I was completely struck by what they went through, as I read a number of posts on Discover Nikkei and learned the history of immigrants. I think it’s a great site where people can discover the lives of many Nikkei around the world by reading articles written by individuals with direct and honest storytelling.

I was given an opportunity this time to write a series of articles about my grandfather’s immigration to Seattle, and I discovered something as I was writing. For a long time, I had thought that my father, who devoted his life to teaching in elementary schools in Japan after the war, was a mediocre, ordinary elementary school teacher. However, as I re-discovered the fact that he was a Japanese American born in Seattle and spent his childhood and youth in America, I realized for the first time that he was actually a one-of-a-kind, respectable teacher who had seen a bigger world. And I’m grateful that my writing to Discover Nikkei has allowed me to have this discovery.

Read Ikuo’s stories (Japanese and English) >>

Q: ディスカバーニッケイの好きなところはどこですか?それはなぜですか?

日系人は過去に想像を絶する経験をしてきたと自分なりに理解していたが、ディスカバーニッケイ に投稿されているいろいろな方の移民の歴史を読み、改めてその壮絶な状況に驚嘆する。また、リ アリティに富む個人の投稿記事を通して世界にまたがる多くの日系人の方々の生き様を発見できる ので、素晴らしいサイトであると私は思う。

今回、私は祖父のシアトルへの移住経験について投稿させていただいたが、原稿を書きながら、あ る発見をすることができた。私は長いこと、戦後ずっと日本の小学校で教師を務めていた父親は、 うだつのあがらない平凡な小学校教員だと思っていた。しかし今回、父がシアトルに生まれた日系 アメリカ人で、アメリカで子供時代、青春時代を過ごしたということを再認識し、実は父は世界を 知るスケールの大きい凄い先生だったのだと初めて見直すことができた。この発見はひとえにデ ィスカバーニッケイへの投稿のお蔭であった。

新舛育雄さんの記事を読む (日本語&英語)>>

Março 2020

takako70 (Illinois, United States)

Takako Day is a Shin-Issei originally from Kobe, Japan, who has lived in the US for nearly 30 years. She is an award-winning freelance writer and independent researcher who has published seven books and hundreds of articles in Japanese and English. Working as a reporter at the Nichibei Times in San Francisco, CA, first opened her eyes to social and cultural issues in multicultural America. Her latest book, Show Me the Way to Go Home: The Moral Dilemma of Kibei No No Boys in World War Two Incarceration Camps, is her first book in English.

Takako has been sharing stories about pre-war Issei pioneers and Nisei in Chicago on Discover Nikkei since 2016, including a series about the lives of four Japanese in Chicago and the Midwest who were arrested on suspicion of espionage during World War II. We are currently in the process of publishing her most recent 3-part article about shoyu(soy sauce) in Chicago.

We asked her what she liked about Discover Nikkei and this is what she replied:

[EN] Now that I've lived in the US longer than in Japan where I was born and grew up, and I am now at age of an official senior citizen, I am sometimes at a loss to answer the question, “Why am I now in the US?”

As if responding to my uncertainty, Discover Nikkei helps me look into “me” and empowers me with the valuable stories and experiences of Nikkei all over the world. Their stories give me peace of mind and help me look forward to the years ahead.

Read Takako’s stories (English only) >>

[JA] いよいよ日本よりもアメリカ生活の方が長くなり、高齢者と呼ばれる年齢になると、時々ふと「なぜ私は今アメリカにいるのだろう」という不安な気持ちに襲われます。そんなとき、「ディスカバーニッケイ」で、さまざまな土地と時代を生き抜いた人々の生き様を知ると、まるで「ディスカバーミー」のエネルギーをもらうかのようです。それは、私に与えられた”これからの時間”への安心感につながっています。

タカコさんのエッセイを読む(英語のみ) >>

Abril 2020

albertomatsumoto (Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan)

Alberto has dedicated his life to helping Latin American Nikkei living in Japan through legal translations and counseling. He teaches at Kanagawa University, is a published author, and popular speaker.

Alberto has published over 100 articles on Discover Nikkei since 2007 in Spanish and Japanese, mostly through his ongoing The Nikkei of Latin America and Latino Nikkei series. In addition, he does many translations for our project, served on three Nikkei Chronicles editorial committees, and has served as a consultant and advisor on Latin American Nikkei content and issues. Alberto was interviewed by Discover Nikkei in 2019. He was previously named Nima of the Month in October 2010.

Why is it important for you to share stories about Nikkei in Japan on Discover Nikkei?

Becoming more familiar with the Nikkei residents of Japan is also a great opportunity to understand and learn about the Nikkei of Latin America, the United States, and sometimes even from Asia. The settlement of Latino Nikkei in Japan is a process similar to that faced by Japanese immigrants a century ago. At that time, they had to build their lives from nothing or from very little and overcome uncertainty about how to educate their children and plan for their future. It would make me very happy to know that my writing helps guide this integration process.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

Participating in Discover Nikkei has enabled me to get to know the Nikkei of Latin America as well as the United States and Canada. At events such as COPANI (Convention of Pan American Nikkei) I was able to meet some of these distinguished leaders in person. Through this network of relationships, I’ve learned many things and I hope to share that knowledge within my own society. I feel that by writing articles and translating histories and stories, Nikkei can learn about many experiences that will broaden their own vision of the world and of society.

Read Alberto’s stories >>

¿Por qué es importante para usted compartir historias sobre los nikkei en Japón en Descubra a los Nikkei?

Conocer mejor a los nikkei residentes de Japón implica también una gran oportunidad para conocer e interiorizarse sobre los nikkei de América Latina, de los Estados Unidos y en ocasiones también de Asia. Este asentamiento de los nikkei latinos en Japón es un proceso similar que los inmigrantes japoneses se enfrentaron un siglo antes, donde tuvieron que construir sus vidas desde la nada o con muy poco, donde dudaron cómo educar a sus hijos y cómo planificar su futuro. Si mis escritos sirven para orientar este proceso de integración me sentiré sumamente satisfecho.

¿Cuál ha sido la cosa más significativa que le ha ocurrido como resultado de su conexión con Descubra a los Nikkei?

Mi participación en Discover Nikkei me ha permitido conocer no solo a los nikkei de América Latina sino también a los de Estados Unidos y Canadá y en ocasiones como la COPANI (Convención Panamericana Nikkei) pude conocer en persona a algunos de estos prestigiosos líderes. A través de esta red de relaciones pude aprender muchas cosas y espero poder retribuir estos conocimientos en mi propia sociedad. Escribiendo artículos o traduciendo historias y relatos siento que que los nikkei pueden conocer muchísimas vivencias que permitirían ampliar su visión del mundo y de la sociedad.

Lea las historias de Alberto >>

Q. ディスカバー・ニッケイへ日本住む日系人のストーリをシェアすることの重要性は何ですか?


Q. ディスカバー・ニッケイへ参加することで得た最も有意義なことは何ですか?


アルベルト・松本さんの記事を読む >>

Maio 2020

tnimura (Washington, United States)

Tamiko Nimura is an Asian American (Sansei/Pinay) freelance writer, community journalist, and public historian. She grew up in Northern California and now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

We first came across Tamiko when we found an article she had written about Ichiro leaving the Seattle Mariners in 2012. We were happy to republish it on Discover Nikkei, and since then, she has been contributing stories on Discover Nikkei regularly about Nikkei in the Tacoma/Seattle area, as well as other topics dear to her.

Her submission to the first Nikkei Chronicles: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture was selected as an editorial committee favorite. She has also served on the editorial committees for the Nikkei Names (#3) and Nikkei Roots (#7) special series. She was previously selected as Nima of the Month in March 2013.

With 75 articles published on Discover Nikkei from 2012 to now, why do you feel it’s important to continue sharing your stories on our site? What other stories would you still like to write?

I’ve been so grateful to have the opportunity to cover and grow as a writer and a member of the Japanese American community through Discover Nikkei. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people, places, and causes through this platform, and to highlight their good work.

I’d still like to write more about the Nikkei community in Tacoma, and share more with the community about the two books I’ve been writing. One is a co-written graphic novel about Japanese American wartime resistance and the other is a family memoir in connection with my father’s unpublished memoir about his incarceration in Tule Lake. There are so many lesser-known Nikkei stories in the Pacific Northwest and I hope to continue to research and share them.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

One of the most meaningful things happened with the translation of my article “My Log Cabin Sukiyaki Song” into all of the site’s languages. This led to being published internationally, in Peru, Canada, Japan, and Brazil. The translation into Japanese meant that I was able to send a piece of my writing to my relatives in Hiroshima, Japan. That I was writing about my father, their cousin, made it so meaningful for me. I don’t speak very much Japanese, and they don’t speak very much English (though their English is much better than my Japanese!).

Read her articles >>

Junho 2020

Marissa (San Jose, California, United States)

Marissa is a Girl Scout from south San Jose, who is part of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Girl Scouts. She wrote a series of stories on Japanese immigrants detained on Angel Island during World War II as part of her Gold Award project, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Working in conjunction with Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, her final plan is to create an exhibit dedicated to the Japanese experience on Angel Island during World War II. She is very interested in sharing stories on the Japanese incarceration to members of each new generations, so that their pain will never be forgotten but used to create a better future.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

My favorite part about Discover Nikkei is how it connects so many people from so many different places and countries. Just reading all these stories brings this feeling of warmth and inclusion, with the Japanese community from around the world coming together to help preserve and share their culture. The fact that I get to participate in that is amazing! It shows me that I can make a difference, and helps me reach much wider audiences.

All of the articles are so interesting, they share the unique parts of different cultures with the world, and I learn something new every time I read them. By learning about the Japanese communities in different countries, I learn to broaden my horizons and open my eyes to the rest of the world. This global connectivity brings people from different countries, cultures, and religions together to share their stories and knowledge with the world, and I believe that this is what matters most in these uncertain times.

Read her articles >>

Julho 2020

ryusukekawai (Kanagawa, Japan)

Ryusuke Kawai is a Japanese journalist and writer. He was previously a reporter for Mainichi Shinbun, but now works independently. He has written many books, including Yamato Colony: The Pioneers Who Brought Japan to Florida. He has been an active contributor on Discover Nikkei since 2010, exploring diverse topics such as John Okada’s No-No Boy, the Moriguchi family in Seattle who started the Uwajimaya Japanese markets, and reviews of Japanese American literature. He was previously named Nima of the Month in February 2015.

His current series presents letters exchanged by Issei Sukeji “George” Morikami and his sister-in-law’s family after the war. Morikami was a member of the pre-war Yamato Colony in Florida. Following World War II, he purchased land and continued to farm on his own. He later donated land to Palm Beach County where the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is now located.

With over 150 articles published within six series on Discover Nikkei from 2010 to now, why do you feel it’s important to continue sharing your stories on our site?

After a year spent in America in 1986, as a nonfiction writer I became very interested in people’s lives which straddled two countries. I’m attracted to the site especially when I think about the relationship between Japan and the war that had a huge impact on the idea of how the Japanese should be.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

When I write a piece of nonfiction, I interview people, do research, and learn new facts. I also get to think about the meanings behind those facts. The most inspiring and meaningful thing for me is that I get to discover things and contemplate in the process of reporting and writing essays.

Read his articles >>

Q. 2010年から今にかけて150以上ものエッセイを6つのシリーズを通して書いてくださっていますが、ディスカバーニッケイへエッセイを書きづつける意義は何でしょうか?


Q. ディスカバーニッケイへエッセイをシェアすることで得た最も有意義なことは何でしょうか?


彼のストーリーを読む >>

Agosto 2020

laurahh (São Paulo, Brazil)

Laura Honda-Hasegawa (laurahh) is a Sansei in São Paulo, Brazil. Her writing shares her and others’ experiences and perspectives of being Nikkei. In her fiction, her stories explore life for dekasegi living in Japan.

She has been contributing her stories in both Portuguese and Japanese on Discover Nikkei since 2011. In addition to writing three original series, she has also written articles for Nikkei Chronicles, Kizuna 2020, and on other topics. Laura also helps us with translations, reviewing and editing Portuguese articles submitted by others, serving as an editorial committee member for past Nikkei Chronicles, led a writing workshop for us, recruited other writers, and more!

In addition to your own stories, you have contributed to Discover Nikkei in many ways. What makes this project so important to you?

I am interested in Japanese culture and the history of the Japanese who emigrated to different countries, and I've been writing about this topic. I owe this to the existence of Discover Nikkei, for if it hadn't been for this project I would hardly have had such an opportunity. It brings me joy to be able to contribute, at least a little, by expressing, through family and community stories, how I think and feel. I hope Discover Nikkei becomes the meeting point for Nikkei from all over the world, a special place where everyone can reinforce the strong ties that bind them.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

I’ve been contributing to Discover Nikkei since July 2011 and it’s gratifying to know that, during these 9 years, I’ve been able to share through my writing my experiences as a Brazilian Nikkei. These days, that has been my ikigai, my life’s purpose.

Read her stories >>

Além de colaborar com suas histórias, você tem contribuído de diferentes maneiras para o Discover Nikkei. O que torna o nosso projeto tão importante para você?

Eu me interesso pela cultura japonesa e pela história dos japoneses que emigraram para diferentes países e tenho escrito sobre o assunto. Devo isto à existência do Discover Nikkei, porque se não fosse esse projeto dificilmente eu teria uma oportunidade dessas. Poder contribuir, pelo menos um pouco, expressando minha maneira de pensar e de sentir, através de histórias familiares e da comunidade, é motivo de felicidade. Espero que o Discover Nikkei seja o ponto de encontro dos nikkeis do mundo inteiro, um lugar especial onde todos possam estreitar os fortes laços que os unem.

O que de mais significativo aconteceu em consequência de ter se conectado ao Discover Nikkei?

Colaboro no Discover Nikkei desde julho de 2011 e é gratificante saber que, nestes 9 anos, pude transmitir através da escrita as minhas experiências como nikkei brasileira. Atualmente isto tem sido o ikigai, o meu propósito de vida.

Leia suas histórias >>

Q. エッセイの寄稿をはじめ、様々な分野でディスカバーニッケイをサポートしていただいていますが、ラウラさんにとって、ディスカバーニッケイプロジェクトの重要性は何ですか?


Q. ディスカバー・ニッケイへ参加することで得た最も有意義なことは何でしょうか?


彼女のストーリーを読む >>

Setembro 2020

msaito4 (California, United States)

Matthew Saito (msaito4) is currently a third year student at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Finance and minoring in Philosophy, with an emphasis in Business Law. He plans to go to law school to work in either the civil rights or business law field.

This past summer, Discover Nikkei once again partnered with the Japanese American Bar Association to host a Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) program intern. For his primary assignment, Matthew interviewed pioneering transgender civil rights attorney Mia Yamamoto. He researched and wrote about trailblazer Chiyoko Sakamoto and the resurgence of xenophobia against Asian Americans due to COVID-19. For the More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports special series, he wrote about Nikkei youth basketball leagues. We will be sharing his final article reflecting on his internship experience later this month.

The Discover Nikkei Team thanks Matthew for his hard work this summer and wish him well in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei and why?

I really love Discover Nikkei because of the connections that it creates with Nikkei around the world. Discover Nikkei breaks the barriers of physical distance and documents the stories of Nikkei from a wide variety of backgrounds, locations, and environments. The stories and experiences shared on Discover Nikkei cannot be found anywhere else, and allows other Nikkei to connect with individuals that they may not have met otherwise.

What was the most rewarding part of your intern experience?

It was such a privilege to be the Japanese American National Museum’s intern this summer, and I enjoyed every minute of it! The most rewarding part of the experience was that I was able to meet and interact with so many different leaders in the Japanese American community. Each of these leaders gave me such great insight about how I can impact the community and create change for the future generations!

Read his articles >>

Outubro 2020

fukuda (California, United States)

Keiko Fukuda (fukuda) is a Shin Issei freelance writer living in Southern California. She has been sharing her stories on Discover Nikkei since 2008, primarily interviews with a wide variety of Shin Issei and some Shin Nisei about their experiences living in the United States.

Keiko served on the 2018 Nikkei Chronicles #7—Nikkei Roots editorial committee. She was previously named Nima of the Month in May 2011.

Why do you feel it’s important to continue sharing your stories on our site? What other stories would you still like to write?

I’ve lived in the U.S. for 28 years now. I’m a so-called Shin Issei. I can see myself and the community I live with an objective eye when I write stories about Nikkei, including the Shin Issei like me, and their culture. Also, I want the voices of Nikkei abroad to be heard as much as possible, as I’m concerned about the current, extremely introverted Japan—a country which once sent a great number of people to the American continent. I want to take advantage of the nature of Discover Nikkei being an online medium which can be accessed from anywhere, even by Japanese people living in Japan. I’d like to continue writing about the life of Nikkei and how they approach life in America, as they share their racial heritage.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

I’m very happy when Japanese media reach out to me and say they want to interview the people I wrote about for Discover Nikkei or when I get requests from readers asking for details about the places I introduced in my essays, those related to Nikkei culture, because they say they want to stop by during their next visit to Los Angeles. These are the moments when I truly realize that my stories have reached people. I also feel blessed to have years of relationships with the people who have let me interview and write about their life.

Read her articles >>

Q. ディスカバーニッケイへ寄稿しづつける意義はなんですか?また、今後どのようなストリーを書きたいと考えていますか?


Q. ディスカバーニッケイへエッセイをシェアすることで得た最も有意義なことは何でしょうか?


彼女のエッセイを読む >>

Novembro 2020

luisiguchiiguchi (Lima, Peru)

Luis Iguchi Iguchi (luisiguchiiguchi) is a Nisei from Lima, Peru. He has contributed to the newspapers Peru Shimpo and Prensa Nikkei, as well as the magazines Nikko, Superación, Puente, and El Nisei. He was founding president of the Nisei Jauja Club.

He began contributing articles to Discover Nikkei in September, and we have already shared five stories—including four for More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports (and one more coming soon). We look forward to sharing even more in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

Participating in Discover Nikkei has been a very pleasant and didactic experience. It’s been pleasant because I feel like I’m surrounded by friends from different parts of the American continent. And it’s didactic because I’ve seen how the histories of Japanese communities are being preserved in an open and safe way for Nikkei and non-Nikkei people alike around the world.

It has been a wonderful way for me and many of my friends to learn about Discover Nikkei. As a Nikkei, I feel that the story of our forefathers should live on through time. From being immigrants who didn’t understand the language to finding a way to support themselves in formal ways. I think that these are examples for the newer generations, so they can directly see that life without sacrifice is false, deficient, and has no value for society. Hard work and honor are the values they instilled in us from childhood. And we are there, the examples of our parents’ effort.

Read his stories (Spanish only) >>

¿Qué es lo que te gusta de Descubra a los Nikkei?

Participar en Discover Nikkei ha sido una experiencia sumamente agradable y didáctica. Agradable porque se siente uno rodeado de amigos de distintos lugares del continente americano y didáctica por conocer cómo las historias de las colonias japonesas quedarán preservadas de forma abierta y segura para el público nikkei y no nikkei del mundo.

Ha sido maravilloso para mí y muchos de mis amigos conocer Discover Nikkei y siento que, como nikkei, la historia de nuestros padres tiene que perdurar en el tiempo. De ser inmigrantes sin conocer el idioma, a tener un sustento en donde formalizar su vida. Y pienso que el ejemplo a las nuevas generaciones es darles motivos para entender que la vida sin sacrificios es falsa, pobre y sin ningún valor para la sociedad. El trabajo y la honradez son los valores que nos inculcaron desde nuestra niñez. Y ahí estamos como ejemplo de lo que hicieron nuestros padres.

Lea los articulos de Luis >>

Dezembro 2020

milestone (British Columbia, Canada)

George Doi was born in a small mining town in British Columbia, Canada. At the age of nine, he and his family were uprooted and moved to Bay Farm, a remote internment camp where they remained for 4 years. Now 88 years old, he still has sharp memories of those times and the hardships endured there.

George submitted the story about his virtual “walk around the world” as part of the More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports special series, and we’re now in the process of publishing his 4-part story about his family’s experiences before, during, and after World War II. The first two parts are already online, with the last two sections to be published in the next few weeks.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I was first introduced to Discover Nikkei by my friend, Norm Ibuki. I especially enjoy reading about the Nikkeis in USA and South American countries and noting the differences/similarities that were used towards our imprisonment. I feel that our stories need to be told and not buried. The younger generations must be kept informed and educated about those times while there are still first-hand story tellers to tell their stories, and to this end, Discover Nikkei is playing a vital role.

Read his stories >>

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Descubra Nikkei

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