Every once in a while, people ask me about the name of my blog, because they only hear the word “Nikkei” when it’s used for the Japanese stock exchange. “Nikkei” is also so the word used to describe people of Japanese ancestry outside of Japan. I’m a Nikkei-jin, or Nikkei person. When my blog first started out in the 1990s as a column in Denver’s weekly Japanese community newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Jiho, its publishers, Eiichi and Yoriko Imada, suggested I call the column “Nikkei View” since it reflected my perspective on pop culture and politics.
The name stuck. In the years since, I’ve come across “Nikkei” a few times as a term for who I am — mostly on research projects such as the International Nikkei Research Project, a three-year collaborative project involving more than 100 scholars from 10 countries and 14 participating institutions including the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in LA. There are organizations that use the term, such as the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, and the blog “Nikkei Ancestry.”
Now there’s another “Nikkei” site, which is republishing some of my babbling from this blog. In 2005, JANM launched Discover Nikkei, which is a gathering place for stories about Nikkei-jin from all over the globe, not just Japanese Americans but also Japanese Peruvians and Japanese Brazilians (two countries that have very large Nikkei populations), and every other country, as well as mixed-race people of Japanese ancestry. Continue reading