Are you a Nima*?

Nima are members of the Discover Nikkei online community called Nima-kai. Join our community and share your stories about the Nikkei experience. Click an icon on the map to connect with Nima around the world!

*The term “Nima” comes from combining Nikkei and nakama (Japanese for “colleagues”, or “fellows”, or “circle”).

Nima of the Month

gilasakawa (Denver, Colorado, United States)

Gil Asakawa is a journalist, editor, author, and blogger who covers Japan, Japanese American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture and social justice issues in blogs, articles, and social media. He is a nationally-known speaker, panelist, and expert on Japanese American and Asian American history and identity. He’s the author of the recently published Tabemasho! Let’s Eat!: A Tasty History of Japanese Food in America and Being Japanese American.

Gil has been contributing articles to our website since 2009. In addition, he’s participated as a moderator for past Discover Nikkei programs—“From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers” program in Los Angeles (April 2011) and What Is Nikkei Food?” (February 2022). He will be interviewed in the upcoming Nima Voices: Episode 10 with guest host Nancy Matsumoto on October 25, and will be serving as moderator of the upcoming conversation with Nikkei chefs from Brazil, Peru, and the United States—stay tuned for details!

Gil is also part of Discover Nikkei’s Editorial Committee for the Itadakimasu 3! Nikkei Food, Family, and Community special series. He was previously a member of the editorial committees for Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture and was named Nima of the Month in April 2011.

Why is it important to share diverse Nikkei stories from around the world?

The experiences of people who have roots in Japan but have spread out to other parts of the globe often go untold. In the United States, most people are unaware of the Japanese American stories of early immigration and wartime imprisonment. And too many Japanese in America don’t know about the history of Japanese in Canada, Latin America, or other parts of the world. That means we also don’t know about the cultures and traditions of Nikkei in other countries. Even though we share values, our cultures, including food, have been shaped by where we’ve settled. Knowing all our stories will give us a better understanding of our identities and create a stronger bond between all our communities.

What do you like most about Discover Nikkei’s virtual programs?

Technology has helped make the world less disconnected. When geography isn’t a barrier the way it has been throughout history, we can connect and build bridges, creating relationships with far-flung communities of Nikkei and share our stories and histories and cultural differences—and cultural similarities. I have very much enjoyed participating in virtual Discover Nikkei Programs that bring together people from Japan, Latin America, and North America. I’ve learned so much by watching and listening to virtual programs. This technology has been available for some years, but I have to say, the Coronavirus pandemic has had one very good side-effect: It’s forced us all to use online tools to hold virtual events that weave together our communities into an even more colorful tapestry than ever before.

Read his articles >>

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation