Yonsei (四世 lit. fourth generation?) is a Japanese diasporic term used in countries, particularly in North America and in Latin America, to specify the great-grandchildren of Japanese immigrants (Issei). The children of Issei are Nisei (the second generation). Sansei are the third generation, and their offspring are Yonsei. (In Japanese counting, "one, two, three, four" is "ichi, ni, san, yon." See: Japanese numerals). For the vast majority of Yonsei in the Western hemisphere, their Issei ancestors emigrated from Japan between the 1880s and 1924.
Brazilian, American, Canadian and Peruvian citizens
Although the earliest organized group of Japanese emigrants settled in Mexico in 1897, the four largest populations of Japanese and descendants of Japanese immigrants live in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Peru.
Yonsei is a term used in geographic areas outside of Japan to specify the child of at least one Sansei (third generation) parent, who is the child of at least one Nisei (second generation), who is the child of at least one Issei parent. An Issei is a Japanese person who emigrated from Japan. Typically, if a person is Yonsei, more than one of his or her great-grandparents were born in Japan.
Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, numbering an estimate of more than 1.5 million (including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity), more than that of the 1.2 million in the United States. The Yonsei Japanese Brazilians are statistically significant component of that ethnic minority in that South American nation, comprising 12.95% of the Japanese Brazilian population in 1987.
The term Yonsei Japanese American refers generally to Yonsei citizens of the United States, but the term's usage is flexible—describing both emigrant and immigrant experiences. Most of the interned Japanese-Peruvian Nisei who were deported from Peru during World War II became naturalized American citizens; but they considered their naturalized children as Sansei, meaning three generations away from the emigrants who had sailed to South America at the turn of the century. From this perspective, the sons and daughters of these formerly stateless refugees would be Yonsei, even as offspring of parents who would be otherwise categorized as Issei or "first generation" immigrants would also be called Nisei.
While the Japanese Americans were the largest ethnic group in Hawai'i for more than sixty years (1900-1960), their numbers have decreased since then. The Hawaiian Yonsei don't have to be actively involved in the creation of their group ethnic identity and they tend to dichotomize their American and Japanese heritage. As of 2008, the U.S. yonsei generation had been the subject of relatively few academic studies. Notable among the literature to date on yonsei is Carrie Takahata's 2002 poem "Making Yonsei", in which she compares and contrasts the yonsei generation with previous Hawai'ian Japanese generations.
The yonsei differ from previous generation of Japanese-Americans in that the overt discrimination, World War II and the internment camps which overshadowed the lives of previous generations are concepts unrelated to their daily existence. Due to a lack of obvious struggles or difficulties faced by previous generations of Japanese-Americans, the yonsei are sometimes called the "spoiled generation". The yonsei generation in Hawai'i can be compared to white Americans in the continental U.S. The yonsei have an equal, if not higher, educational, economic and political status as their continental white counterparts, and also have a low immigration rate, as Japanese immigration has declined since 1965. Also, intermarriage with non-Japanese became common in the Japanese American community in the 1960s. Intermarriage among Japanese Americans was at approximately 50% by the 1970s, and at 70% in the 1990s. This cultural distance from the original homeland results in a "symbolic" expression of ethnicity seen in both the continental white and the Hawai'ian yonsei groups. Outside of the continental white population, the yonsei of Hawai'i are one of the few U.S. ethnic groups that express their ethnicity in a "symbolic" way.
While members of the sansei and yonsei generation may visit Japan, they tend to see this activity only as tourism. Japanese cultural structure is generally not present among the yonsei generation. According to a 2006 study of yonsei women in Hawai'i, this generation of Japanese-Americans tends to assert their ethnicity in such "symbolic" ways as the celebration of holidays and ceremonies associated with Japan, eating ethnic foods, and the use of Japanese middle-names. The study noted that the yonsei generation considered its ethnicity to be less important than did previous generations of Japanese-Americans. Cheryl Lynn Sullivan, an ethnic research who specializes in the Japanese-American community of California, wrote, "It is common in the Japanese American community not to consider yonsei Japanese American -- they are 'just plain Americans.' This is especially true of children who are the offspring of Japanese American-Euro-American marriages." Others celebrate their ancestry in cultural exchanges based around youth and sports events, e.g. Yonsei Basketball Association.
Within Japanese-Canadian communities across Canada, distinct generational subgroups developed, each with different sociocultural referents, generational identity, and wartime experiences.
Among the approximately 80,000 Peruvians of Japanese descent, the Yonsei Japanese Peruvians are an expanding element.
The term Nikkei (日系) was coined by a multinational group of sociologists and encompasses all of the world's Japanese immigrants across generations. The collective memory of the Issei and older Nisei was an image of Meiji Japan from 1870 through 1911, which contrasted sharply with the Japan that newer immigrants had more recently left. These differing attitudes, social values and associations with Japan were often incompatible with each other. In this context, the significant differences in life experiences and opportunities has done little to mitigate the gaps which separated generational perspectives amongst their children and grandchildren.
|Issei (一世)||The generation of people born in Japan who later immigrated to another country.|
|Nisei (二世)||The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Hawaii, or any country outside of Japan either to at least one Issei or one non-immigrant Japanese parent.|
|Sansei (三世)||The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Hawaii, or any country outside of Japan to at least one Nisei parent.|
|Yonsei (四世)||The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Hawaii, or any country outside of Japan to at least one Sansei parent.|
The Yonsei, their parents, their grandparents, and their children are changing the way they look at themselves and their pattern of accommodation to the non-Japanese majority.
There are currently just over one hundred thousand British Japanese, mostly in London; but unlike other Nikkei communities elsewhere in the world, these Britons do not conventionally parse their communities in generational terms as Issei, Nisei, or Sansei.
The number of yonsei who have earned some degree of public recognition has continued to increase over time; but the quiet lives of those whose names are known only to family and friends are no less important in understanding the broader narrative of the nikkei. Although the names highlighted here are over-represented by sansei from North America, the Latin American member countries of the Pan American Nikkei Association (PANA) include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, in addition to the English-speaking United States and Canada.
- Warren Furutani.
- Colleen Hanabusa
- Gina Hiraizumi
- Grant Imahara
- Travis Ishikawa
- Paul Kariya
- Robert Kiyosaki
- Brandon League
- Lenn Sakata
- Garret T. Sato
- Mike Shinoda
- Don Wakamatsu
- Rachael Yamagata
- Kristi Yamaguchi
- ↑ Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Japan-Mexico Foreign Relations
- ↑ Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Japan-Brazil Relations
- ↑ US Census data 2005
- ↑ Doi, Elza Takeo. "Japonês," Enciclopédia das Línguas no Brasil.
- ↑ Murakami-Tsuda, Vicky. "A Yonsei’s Reflections…on Unearthing My Family’s Values," Discover Nikkei. June 13, 2007.
- ↑ Higashide, p. 222.
- ↑ Okamura, Jonathan Y. (2008). Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai'i. Temple University Press. p. 26. ISBN 1592137563.
- ↑ Okamura, p. 125
- ↑ Okamura, p. 142
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Okamura, p. 138
- ↑ Takahata, Carrie. (2002). "Making Yonsei" in Okamura Jonathan (ed.) The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-824-82687-6
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Armbruster, Shirley. (1998-3-1). "Melding into the melting pot Third-generation Japanese-Americans who intermarry want their children to remember and honor their heritage", The Fresno Bee.
- ↑ Okamura. (2008). p. 126.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Ishikawa, Juri (2006). Yonsei Japanese American Women in Hawai'i quoted in Okamura, Jonathan Y. (2008). Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai'i, p.144.
- ↑ Okamura. (2008). p. 151.
- ↑ Ishikawa (2006). p.143-144.
- ↑ McLellan, Janet. (1999). Many Petals of the Lotus: Five Asian Buddhist Communities in Toronto, p. 36.
- ↑ Levano, Cesar. "Nikkeis: La Memorial y el Futura," Caretas. No. 1619. May 19, 2000.
- ↑ "What is Nikkei?" Japanese American National Museum.
- ↑ McLellan, p. 37.
- ↑ McLellan, p. 68.
- ↑ Itoh, p. 7.
- ↑ National Association of Japanese Canadians: PANA
- ↑ Discovering Nikkei: Furutani bio
- Aoyagi-Stom, Caroline. (2008-11-07). "Yonsei Grandchildren of Nisei Vets Help Keep 'Go for Broke' Story Alive" at The Pacific Citizen Web retrieved 2008-11-15.
- Fujioka, Janine Midori. (1989). Ethnicity and Patterns of Affectionate Behavior: An Empirical Study of Sansei and Yonsei College-Age Students. Thesis (M.A.)--University of California, Los Angeles, 1989. OCLC: 21365787
- Itoh, Keiko. (2001). The Japanese Community in Pre-War Britain: From Integration to Disintegration. London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 0-700-71487-1; 13-ISBN 978-0-700-71487-2
- McLellan, Janet. (1999). Many Petals of the Lotus: Five Asian Buddhist Communities in Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 10-ISBN 0-802-08225-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-802-08225-1
- Okamura, Jonathan Y. (2008). Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai'i. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 10-ISBN 1-592-13756-3; 13-ISBN 978-1-592-13756-5
- Reidun, Renée and H. Johansen-Khan. (1987). Ethnic Identity of Sansei and Yonsei Japanese American High School Students in California and Hawaii. University of California, Davis [M.S. thesis]. OCLC 81603457
- Sowell, Thomas. (1981). Ethnic America: A History. New York: Basic Books. 10-ISBN 0-465-02075-5; 13-ISBN 978-0-465-02075-1
- Suzuki, David T. (1977). Nisei, Sansei, Yonsei. Vancouver : B.C. Learning Connection. OCLC: 40403168
- Takahata, Carrie. (2002). "Making Yonsei" in Okamura Jonathan (ed.) The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-824-82687-6
- Tsukuda, Patrick Takeo. (2004). Yonsei: A Fourth Generation Reflects. Thesis (M.A.)--Portland State University. OCLC: 56637903
- Watanabe, Karin Junko. (2001). The Influence of Family Structure on the Ethnic Identity: Development of Multiracial Japanese Americans: An Exploratory Study of Yonsei in Hawaii: A Project Based Upon an Independent Investigation. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work OCLC: 48455290
The specific term Yonsei is discussed in literature describing a number of immigrant populations, e.g.,
English language culture
- American Yonsei; Hawaiian Yonsei
- Asakawa, Gil. (2004). Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Happa -- & Their Friends. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. 10-ISBN 188065685X; 13-ISBN 9781880656853; OCLC 54694568
- Koskof, Ellen. (2005). Music Cultures in the United States: An Introduction. London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 0-415-96588-8; 13-ISBN 978-0-415-96588-0
Reidun, Renée and H Johansen-Khan. (1987). Ethnic Identity of Sansei and Yonsei Japanese American High School Students in California and Hawaii. University of California.-- see "References" section
- Tacoma Community College Library. (1972). Issei, Nisei, Sansei, Yonsei: A Bibliography of Japanese Holdings, Including a Short List of Materials on the Japanese Internment & the U.S. Internal Security Act : a Subject, Title & Author Arrangement. Tacoma: Friends of Tacoma Community College Library.
Takahata, Carrie. (2002). "Making Yonsei" in Okamura Jonathan (ed.) The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-824-82687-6-- see "References" section
- Tanaka, Brandi-Ann. (2000). A Yonsei from Hawai'i: Four Generations of Memories. in Skipping Stones (November 2000).
- Võ, Linda Trinh and Rick Bonus. (2002). Contemporary Asian American Communities: Intersections and Divergences. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 10-ISBN 1-566-39938-6; 13-ISBN 978-1-566-39938-8
- Yonsei Grandchildren of Nisei Vets Help Keep 'Go for Broke' Story Alive
- Canadian Yonsei
- Agnew, Vijay. (2005). Diaspora, Memory and Identity: A Search for Home. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 10-ISBN 0-802-09374-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-802-09374-5
- Anderson, Jim, Maureen Kendrick, Theresa Rogers and Suzanne Smythe. (2005). Portraits of Literacy Across Families, Communities, and Schools: Intersections and Tensions. London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 0-805-84859-2; 13-ISBN 978-0-805-84859-5
- Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Maroussia, Nazilla Khanlou and Helene Moussa. (2008). Not Born a Refugee Woman: Contesting Identities, Rethinking Practices. New York: Berghahn Books. 10-ISBN 1-845-45497-9; 13-ISBN 978-1-845-45497-5 OCLC 180755168
Portuguese language culture
- Brazilian Yonsei
- De Carvalho, Daniella. (2002). Migrants and Identity in Japan and Brazil: The Nikkeijin. London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 0-700-71705-6; 13-ISBN 978-0-700-71705-7
- Lesser, Jeffrey. (2007). A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960-1980. Durham: Duke University Press. 10-ISBN 082234081X; 13-ISBN 9780822340812
Spanish language culture
- Peruvian Yonsei
- Hirabayashi, Lane Ryo and Akemi Kikumura-Yano. (2002). New Worlds, New Lives: Globalization and People of Japanese Descent in the Americas and from Latin America in Japan. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 10-ISBN 0-804-74462-9: 13-ISBN 978-0-804-74462-1
- Masterson, Daniel M and Sayaka Funada-Classen. (2003). The Japanese in Latin America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 10-ISBN 0-252-07144-1; 13-ISBN 978-0-252-07144-7