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.

March 2023

TWWrites (Maine, United States)

Taylor Wilson is a volunteer writer for Discover Nikkei. She has always enjoyed the culture of Japan from a young age, starting with interests in Japanese game series, anime, and manga. Over the years, her appreciation and interest in Japan and its rich culture has expanded. Her additional interests include reading a wide variety of books, writing, cooking, and learning about many different topics.

Taylor has interviewed several authors for Discover Nikkei and is working on another article to be published in March 2023. We’re glad to have her as a volunteer and look forward to working with her more in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I think what I love the most about Discover Nikkei is the work it does to show the depths of Japanese culture, both in Japan and its Nikkei communities, to readers all around the world regardless of ancestral or personal connections to Japan.

When most people think of Japan, their thoughts turn to Japanese entertainment (i.e. anime and video games), food, and on occasion the language or art. Many people don’t know about Nikkei communities; nor do they understand how Nikkei communities play a role in the greater Japanese culture and identity, or even the culture of countries where these communities are found.

When I was younger, I was mainly focused on my various Nintendo games, reading manga, or watching anime. While I still enjoy these things, as I have gotten older, I have had a drive to learn more about Japan through learning the language, reading countless books or articles on the country and its culture, watching documentaries or videos about Japan, and visiting local Japanese cultural events or organizations like my local Japanese Friendship Garden. All of these actions throughout my life have allowed me to see how culturally rich and unique Japan is as a country. Since becoming involved with Discover Nikkei, I have been able to see another side of the Japanese culture and its communities, that I never really knew about previously in my own journey to learn more about Japan.

What do you like most about volunteering with Discover Nikkei?

My enjoyment of volunteering with Discover Nikkei is twofold.

1. I love that as I do research, write my articles, and conduct my interviews, I get to learn so much about the topics at hand and the people who were involved with making those things a reality. For instance, I really enjoyed the time I spent on creating my article “An Interview with Roy Wesley on His Book, His Father, and Sharing His Family’s Story.” This article was my first look into the Japanese American community and a family’s personal experience in America during and after World War II, from a first-hand account. I got to learn so much about the author, Roy Wesley, his father, and about the development of contact lenses (a product I have used before). In my article where I interviewed Katie Yamasaki on her book Shapes, Lines, and Light, my understanding and appreciation for the Nikkei community, especially here in the U.S. where I grew up, was nurtured even more. I really look forward to learning more about different Nikkei communities, experiences, and stories as I write more articles for Discover Nikkei.

2. As much as I love learning about Nikkei communities, I truly enjoy being able to share these stories with others around this world. I enjoy the fact that I get to highlight narratives and experiences of wonderful people to audiences that might not have gotten the chance to learn about them; all of which plays into my passion in creating a more understanding world that all can enjoy. I am very thankful that my work with Discover Nikkei allows me to do my part to bring people together.

Read her stories >>

February 2023

Hiraharito (Tōkyō, Japan)

Tetsuya Hirahara began listening to foreign shortwave broadcasts when he was in junior high school in Japan. He is interested in the history of radio in general, and in recent years has been researching the history of radio programs for Japanese immigrants broadcast in the Americas. In 2020, he self-published Japan Hour, which introduces programs that were held in the North American continent before the war.

Discover Nikkei republished a 2018 interview with Tetsuya from the Peru Shimpo, which introduced us to his project. Keiko Fukuda also interviewed him for Discover Nikkei. In September 2022, we began sharing excerpts from his book about Seattle, originally published in the North American Post. In December 2022, we began sharing excerpts about Los Angeles, originally published by The Rafu Shimpo. We will be sharing excerpts about British Columbia, Canada from the Gekkan Fraser (Fraser Monthly) soon!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

A lot of Nikkei who live abroad experience things that they would never face in Japan. Those things come in many different forms, as some may be experiencing them at this very moment, and others see them as hardships or accomplishments of the past. What’s great about Discover Nikkei is that visitors to the site can enjoy intriguing stories based on such valuable experiences.

What compelled you to write about Japanese radio programs in other countries?

To put it in simple words, it’s because very few people are looking into Japanese radio programs. As a hobby, I look for and receive shortwave radio programs. I used to go after radio waves from distant stations. These days, my target has changed from being geographical to chronological. I’ve started looking into the history of radio from long ago. Getting not-so-well-known information about Japanese radio programs gives me the same kind of pleasure as finding new radio stations. It’s been said that many people in the Nikkei community looked forward to and eagerly waited for Japanese radio programs. As a radio fan, I hope to tell more people about Japanese radio programs and those involved in them.

Read his articles >>
(Japanese only)

Q. ディスカバーニッケイの好きなところは何ですか?


Q. 他の国の日本語ラジオ放送について書く魅力は何ですか?


ストーリーを読む >>

January 2023

roxsylin (California, United States)

Roxsy Lin is a Latinx author/illustrator. She grew up in Merida, Venezuela, but is now based in California, where she works as a freelance illustrator, primarily on children’s books. She believes they can foster community, empathy, and compassion, bringing light to the most challenging times. See more at

Roxsy began volunteering for Discover Nikkei this summer and has already created two delightful illustrations to celebrate Christmas and Oshogatsu. We look forward to working with her more this year!

What made you decide to volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

I love Japanese culture. I grew up watching anime as a child. Then as I got older, I developed an interest in Japanese arts. I fell in love with ukiyo-e, sumi-e, and classic Japanese literature. When the opportunity came to volunteer with Discover Nikkei, I couldn’t be more excited. Learning about the Nikkei experience and how Japanese people have integrated into different cultures around the world has been very enriching for me. I’m eager to connect with the Discover Nikkei community, and I look forward to keeping illustrating many more exciting topics for them.

Where do you get your ideas for your illustrations?

My main source of inspiration is my childhood memories. I grew up with my mom and grandparents in Merida, a tiny mountain town in Venezuela. My hometown is full of colors, flavors, and music, which I carry around everywhere I go. Those experiences have become an endless source of inspiration for me. The smell of hot guarapo—a delicious drink made out of cane sugar—and the colors of the Frailejon flowers fill my soul with beautiful images. They keep me drawing and writing with the desire to share those memories with lots and lots of people.

Check out her illustrations for Discover Nikkei >>

December 2022

esnewman (Hawaii, United States)

Esther Newman grew up in California. After college and a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she returned to school to study twentieth century American history.

While in graduate school, she became interested in her family’s history which led to research on topics affecting the Japanese diaspora including World War II incarceration camps, migration, and assimilation. She is now retired, but continues to enjoy writing about these subjects.

Esther’s first contribution to Discover Nikkei was a 7-part essay about her grandfather, Yoshitaro Amano, a prominent Issei businessman who was seized from Panama and imprisoned during World War II. She was a volunteer for Discover Nikkei from 2010-2015. After a hiatus, she returned in 2021, and continues to interview authors, filmmakers, community leaders, and innovators for Discover Nikkei. Esther was previously selected Nima of the Month in March 2011.

What is your favorite story that you’ve written for Discover Nikkei?

My favorite story is always the one I’m currently working on. The farther away I get from my own youth, the more impressed I’ve been by the young people profiled in the Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30 series. I’m grateful for the opportunity to write about some of them.

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

I expected to meet interesting people by volunteering for Discover Nikkei and I certainly have. However, I didn’t expect to receive emails and photos from a family member I never knew existed who now resides in Vietnam. She found me through my articles posted on Discover Nikkei.

Read her stories >>

November 2022

karenkawa7 (New York, United States)

Karen Kawaguchi is a writer based in New York City. She was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Nisei father from Seattle, but grew up primarily in the Chicago area, before moving to Okinawa where she attended high school. Following graduation from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, she lived in Washington, DC; Dallas; and Seattle. She recently retired as an editor in educational publishing, having worked for Heinemann, Pearson, and other leading publishers. She volunteers for Literacy Partners (adult ESL) and enjoys going to Japan Society, art museums, and botanical gardens. She feels fortunate to be able to draw deeply from the three cultures in her life: Japanese, American, and Japanese-American.

Karen began volunteering for Discover Nikkei in April 2022, and has already written articles for the Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30 series and an interview with Mitch Homma about the importance of preserving and sharing family history. We look forward to presenting more stories by her in the future!

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

The Nikkei community in the New York City area is relatively small and my extended family lives 3,000 miles away in Seattle and Portland. Discover Nikkei gives me a wonderful opportunity to learn about the rich lives of Nikkei around the world and to feel more connected to our community.

What do you like most about volunteering for Discover Nikkei?

It is a great honor to interview people, to learn about their contributions to their communities, and to write their stories to share with the Discover Nikkei community. Even though the people I’ve interviewed differ from me in terms of family history, geography, and life purpose, we’ve always found meaningful ways to share perspectives and to connect.

Read her stories >>

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Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation