- a Japanese person who immigrated to the U.S. or Canada after 1907 and was not eligible until 1952 for citizenship.
- any Japanese immigrant to the U.S.
Origin of Issei
1935–40; < Japanese, equivalent to is first + sei generation (earlier it-sei, it-seĩ < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese yì one + shēng birth)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Word Origin and History for issei
c.1930s, term used among Japanese immigrants for first-generation immigrants, in Japanese, literally "first generation," related to ichi "one."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper