Gosei (Japanese diaspora)

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Gosei (五世, "fifth generation") is a Japanese diasporic term used in countries, particularly in North America and in Latin America, to specify the great-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.[1] The children of at least one Yonsei parent are called Gosei.[2]

The character and uniqueness of the Gosei is recognized in its social history.[3] The Gosei are the subject of on-going academic research in the United States and Japan.[4]


The great-great-grandchildren of these Japanese-Brazilian (Nipo-brasileiros) immigrants would be called Gosei.

The earliest organized group of Japanese emigrants settled in Mexico in 1897.[5] Today, the four largest populations of Japanese and descendants of Japanese immigrants live in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Peru. Gosei is a term used in these geographic areas outside Japan. Gosei characterizes the child of at least one Yonsei (fourth generation) parent. Differences among these national Gosei developed because of the varying historical processes through which their Japanese emigrant forebears became Nikkei.[6]

Gosei in Brazil[edit]

Japanese-Brazilians (Nipo-brasileiro) make up the largest Japanese population outside Japan, numbering an estimate of more than 1.5 million (including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity),[7] more than that of the 1.2 million in the United States.[8] The Gosei are a small part of the ethnic minority in that South American nation in the last decades of the 20th century.[9] In 1990, 0.8% of the Nipo-Brasileiros community were Gosei.[10]

Gosei in Canada[edit]

Japanese-Canadian Gosei are entirely acculturated, as is typical for any ethnic group.[11]

Gosei in Peru[edit]

Japanese-Peruvian (Nipo-peruano) Gosei make up less than 1.0% of the Nikkei population in 2000.[12]

Gosei in the US[edit]

The lives of Japanese-Americans of earlier generations contrasts with the Gosei because they have English-speaking grandparents.[13] According to a 2011 columnist in The Rafu Shimpo of Los Angeles, "Younger Japanese Americans are more culturally American than Japanese" and "other than some vestigial cultural affiliations, a Yonsei or Gosei is simply another American."[14]

Cultural profile[edit]


The term Nikkei (日系) was coined by a multinational group of sociologists and encompasses all of the world's Japanese immigrants across generations.[15] In North America, the Gosei are among the heirs of the "activist generation" known as the Sansei.[16]

Generation Cohort description
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 any country outside Japan to at least one Issei parent.
Sansei (三世) The generation of people born to at least one Nisei parent.
Yonsei (四世) The generation of people born to at least one Sansei parent.
Gosei (五世) The generation of people born to at least one Yonsei parent.[17]


  1. ^ In Japanese counting, "one, two, three, four, five" is "ichi, ni, san, yon, go". Future generations would be called rokusei (6th), 7th: nanasei (7th), etc. -- see Japanese numerals
  2. ^ Nomura, Gail M. (1998). "Japanese American Women," in The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History (Mankiller, Barbara Smith, ed.), pp. 288-290., p. 288, at Google Books; Masterson, Daniel et al. (2004). The Japanese in Latin America, p. 291., p. 291, at Google Books
  3. ^ Numrich, Paul David. (2008). North American Buddhists in Social Context, p. 110.
  4. ^ 国立大学法人 東京学芸大学 (Tokyo Gakugei University), "Socioeconomic Status, Acculturation, Discrimination, and Health of Japanese Americans: Generational Differences" by Takashi Asakura et al., 2004; Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant# 12490011; retrieved 2012-12-24.
  5. ^ Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), "Japan-Mexico Relations"; retrieved 2011-05-17
  6. ^ Ichioka, Yuji et al. (2006). Before internment: essays in prewar Japanese American history, p. 295., p. 295, at Google Books
  7. ^ MOFA, "Japan-Brazil Relations"; retrieved 2011-05-17
  8. ^ US Census, US "Selected Population Profile in the United States; Japanese alone or in any combination," 2005' retrieved 2011-05-17
  9. ^ Doi, Elza Takeo. "Japonês," Enciclopédia das Línguas no Brasil; retrieved 2011-05-17
  10. ^ De Carvalho, Daniela. (2002). Migrants and Identity in Japan and Brazil: the Nikkeijin, p. 27., p. 27, at Google Books citing Centro de Estudo Nipo-Brazileiros statistics
  11. ^ Fisher, Nancy L. (1996). Cultural and Ethnic Diversity: a Guide for Genetics Professionals, p. 101., p. 101, at Google Books
  12. ^ Adachi, Nobuko. (2006). Japanese Diasporas: Unsung Pasts, Conflicting Presents, and Uncertain Futures, p. 145., p. 145, at Google Books
  13. ^ Ogawa, Dennis M. (1978). Jan ken po: the World of Hawaii's Japanese Americans, p. 48., p. 48, at Google Books
  14. ^ Johnson, George Toshio. "Into the Next Stage: Japanese American Newspapers: Over and Out?" Rafu Shimpo (US). February 17, 2011; retrieved 2011-05-17
  15. ^ Japanese American National Museum (JANM), "What is Nikkei?" retrieved 2011-05-17
  16. ^ US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi website: "Japantown Represents More than 100 Years of a Unique Immigrant Experience," inserted into the Congressional Record to commemorate the 100th anniversary of San Francisco's Japantown. September 19, 2006; excerpt, "... the emergence of the activist third generation — the Sansei — who are now "baby boomers" and the parents and grandparents of the fourth and fifth generations — the Yonsei and Gosei"; retrieved 2011-05-17
  17. ^ Ikezoe-Halevi, Jean. "Voices of Chicago: Day of Remembrance 2006," Discover Nikkei (US). October 31, 2006.


  • Masterson, Daniel M. and Sayaka Funada-Classen. (2004), The Japanese in Latin America: The Asian American Experience. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07144-7; OCLC 253466232
  • Nomura, Gail M. (1998). "Japanese American Women," in The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History (Mankiller, Barbara Smith, ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618001828; OCLC 43338598

Further reading[edit]

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