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.

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 >>

Agosto 2021

laurakato (California, United States)

Laura Kato is a rising third year student at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Philosophy with minors in Political Science and Business Administration, and plans to study criminal law. She has grown up in the Japanese American community through Asian League and other various organizations. She is the upcoming president of her school’s Nikkei Student Union.

Laura is a joint intern for the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and the Discover Nikkei project through the Nikkei Community Internship program. As part of her internship, she has written several articles, including one about her father, Judge Warren Kato, and how he has been a loving parent and role model. She also conducted a video interview with attorney Patricia Kinaga. The interview, plus a reflection article will be added to Discover Nikkei later this month.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I love how Discover Nikkei transcends both distance and generations. Anyone who goes to the website can view stories from all different types of people, from students to judges to filmmakers, ranging from many different generations and locations. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, and being able to see what people have to say from so many different locations, professions, and ages is truly amazing.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened during your internship?

I have had many life changing experiences during this internship but one of the most meaningful would be getting the opportunity to meet with such inspirational and successful people. I have had the honor of meeting with attorneys, judges from the Superior court, and activists who have done so much for this community.

Being able to hear their stories has really sparked a passion for law and community work within me. I am truly grateful for all that this internship has given me and hope to pay it forward in the future!

Read her stories >>

Julho 2021

kreativitea (Tōkyō, Japan)

Mike Omoto is a Yonsei, originally from Southern California, now living in Japan, working as Engineering Manager for Google Maps full time. He previously taught English as an ALT in Japan. He is member emeritus of the organizing committee for Copani San Fransisco 2019, and a regular attendee of Copani and Kaigai Nikkeijin Taikai.

Mike began as a volunteer translator for Discover Nikkei, but now serves as a technical consultant. He was largely responsible for the implementation of the recent major upgrade of our website’s infrastructure.

Why is it important for you to volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

Before moving to Japan in 2008, I did not know very much Japanese. After four years of getting to know my Japanese roots and a lot of intense studying, I wanted to become a translator, and so started translating articles and content from Japanese to English for Discover Nikkei. I then started a career in tech instead of going into translation.

Sometime after, the software engineer who was originally on the Discover Nikkei project left, and my engineering skills became a lot more useful than my translation skills. I took on the role of a technical consultant for Discover Nikkei, and helped bring the site to a modern technical stack.

Volunteering for Discover Nikkei is important to me because it represents an intersection of my interests—getting to know my cultural heritage, my interest as a translator (DN provides content in four different languages!), and my skills in technology. While I’m probably not uniquely qualified to do this work, it’s a very good fit and extraordinarily fulfilling piece of volunteering work to take on.

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

Visiting Peru for Copani in 2017 and being on the organizing committee for Copani in 2019 were some of the most meaningful things that have happened in my life. While I had to step away from organizing due to moving to Japan, participating in Copani meant meeting Nikkei from dozens of countries, which changed my perspective on the relationship that Nikkei had across Panamerica, and made me hopeful for a more collaborative future.

Read his story >>

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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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