Nikkei Chronicles #4—Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values

Nikkei family roles and traditions are unique because they have evolved over many generations, based on various social, political, and cultural experiences in the country they migrated to.

Discover Nikkei collected stories from around the world related to the topic of Nikkei Family, including the stories that tell how your family has influenced who you are, and allow us to understand your perspectives on what family is. This series introduces these stories.

For this series, we asked our Nima-kai to vote for their favorite stories and our editorial committee to pick their favorites.

Here are the selected favorite stories.

  Editorial Committee’s Selections:

  Nima-kai selection:

To learn more about this writing project >>

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >>

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The Weight On My Shoulders

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when this happened—maybe nine or ten—but I distinctly remember what the hotel room looked and smelled like. The bedspreads were ugly and itchy. There was a musty smell to everything, and we figured it was because the housekeepers never really cleaned, just moved the vacuum a few times over the carpet and called it a day. I refused to drink out of any of the glasses because I swore I saw a distinct lip print on the edge of one of the ones wrapped in the crinkly white paper that said, “Sanitized …

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How I Remet my Mother

When thinking of the journal theme of Nikkei families, I thought of how much my family has shaped me but how little I have included them in my own involvement in the Japanese community. Even more, how much have I included my Mexican mother in my Japanese community?

Last year I was hit with a dilemma. My mother was coming to visit me in Seattle when I actually needed to leave for Idaho. My organization, the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, was having our annual pilgrimage trip, bringing over two hundred people to the former World War II Japanese incarceration camp …

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Isaburo Tasaka’s 100-year old Charcoal Kiln Found on Salt Spring Island

What is the old saying? “What is old is now new again.” For thousands of years, the Wakayama Prefecture craftsmen made charcoal to produce the finest steel to pound into samurai swords. These skilled Wakayama artists were coveted by the Shogun. They knew how to produce high-grade, quality charcoal to melt the iron to produce weapons as well as churning out clay potteries. Once electricity and gas were introduced, charcoal-making became a thing of the past. In present day, however, this kind of charcoal-making became trendy again and it is now widely used by exclusive chefs who grill eel and …

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Walk It Off: True Grit & Gaman

“Walk it off.” When I was growing up, that was my father’s solution for almost every problem: A fight with my younger brother? Go outside. Walk it off. Got a headache or a stomach ache? Walk it off. Nervous about starting a new school? Can’t figure out your homework? Walk it off. Although I didn’t understand it then, this mantra had propelled my father through life and would one day save him and become a life lesson for me.

My Japanese American father, who once stood tall at a stocky 5'8" with broad shoulders and thick black wavy hair, embodies …

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A Letter to My Parents

Dear Teresa, Victor, and Maria Hito,

While anyone would agree you are far from traditional, I find myself now embracing our strange tendencies. Living among Japanese Peruvian immigrants with amusing accents may not seem difficult; however, I assure you it carries its burdens.

Growing up with a mom that isolated herself from socializing with other prosperous thriving parents, leaning on an uncle who replaced the supposed much needed father in my life, and explaining to my sweet grandmother the foreign English words she fought hard to understand. These people made up my childhood which I recall fondly upon.

However, I …

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camps Canada charcoal charcoal kiln CRD-PARC culture family father gaman grandfather guilt hapa health identity image immigration issei japanese american japanese peruvian Kimiko Murakami mexican american minidoka Minidoka Pilgrimage Mixed mother