UBC Theses and Dissertations
Balancing in-between : emerging concepts of Nikkei identity explored through Hapa young adults in multicultural Canada Sekita, Misato
The establishment of Nikkei Place in 2000 was a turning point for the Vancouver Nikkei community. The term Nikkei, which is used throughout the world to designate those who are of Japanese descent and live outside of Japan, has been recaptured and redefined at a local level. This allows not only Japanese Canadians but also Ijusha (those born in Japan who are more recent immigrants), and Hapa (those born from a union of Japanese Canadian and non-Nikkei parents) to be embraced by and to rejuvenate the community. This research discusses the struggle and achievement of the Nikkei community in Vancouver, Canada that strives to remain as a community. I argue that Nikkei in Vancouver comprise a synthesis of ethnic community and cultural community that requires constant redefining of membership and expansion of boundaries. As a method of my research, I conducted participant observation field work along with ten semi-structured interviews, eight of them with Hapa. Since many of the studies on the history of Japanese Canadians are narrative, an historical review provided not only background information but also served as a part of my method. The history of the Japanese Canadian community and its relation to multiculturalism in Canada explains the current nature of the Nikkei community in Vancouver. The results of this research suggest people hope to sustain a community by way of redefining the external boundary in relationship to multicultural Canada and the internal boundaries within the heterogeneous Nikkei community. Through interviews with Hapa young adults of Nikkei in Vancouver, much diversity was found among them which reaffirmed the diverse nature of the Nikkei community.
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