Preserving the Nisei Generation
World War II was a global conflict that brought complex issues to the table: Nazism, Communism, anti-Semitism, and the benefits of coming together as a nation to provide better opportunities for countries around the world. One of the greatest challenges for America came when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, causing internal resentment for the Japanese-Americans living among the Pacific Coast. However, what many fail to realize is that the Nisei (children born to Japanese immigrants), made a tremendous impact during the late part of the nineteenth century.
The Nisei youth were faced to confront a problem that many of us will never encounter. Since they were born to Japanese immigrants, their parents had an innate loyalty to both America and Japan. With both countries at war, what were the Nisei soldiers supposed to do? It was a war in which brothers killed brothers, sisters killed sisters, and mothers went against their child. Yet, the Nisei remained loyal and true to their new country: America. While they experienced racism and prejudice at every corner, they never stopped fighting for the country’s beliefs in equality and independence.
Today, the Nisei aren’t largely spoken about in history books, and few people know of their legacy. Organizations like the Go for Broke National Education Center are combating this issue by providing discussions, exhibits, and oral histories that allow their generation to remain validated and relevant. However, you don’t need to create a foundation to create awareness of this powerful and awe-inspiring group of people. All it takes is your willingness to dive into the currents of history, and to remain vocal about the geniuses and splendor of the Nisei generation. We are the carriers of history, and through our work to remember, we’re simultaneously working to fight back.
Julia Schemmer is a senior from Norco High School, where she participates in five AP classes, is the president of the Female Empowerment Club and Link Crew, and publicist of Chinese Culture Club, American Cancer Society, and the FIDM Fashion Club. Aside from managing the communications at Her Culture, she is the founder of She Speaks Media and The Face of Cancer, editor for The Prospect Magazine, editor in chief of Motivation Daily, and contributor for the Huffington Post. Her future endeavors consist of becoming an international human rights lawyer, foreign correspondent, diplomat, and finally seeing the day where Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar.
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