or ni·sei

[nee-sey, nee-sey]
Compare Issei, Kibei, Sansei.

Origin of Nisei

1940–45, Americanism; < Japanese: literally, second generation; earlier ni-seĩ < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese èr two, second + shēng birth Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for nisei


  1. a native-born citizen of the United States or Canada whose parents were Japanese immigrants

Word Origin for Nisei

Japanese, literally: second generation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nisei

"American born of Japanese parents," from Japanese ni- "second" + sei "generation." Use limited to U.S. West Coast until c.1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nisei in Culture


[(nee-say, nee-say)]

Persons whose parents were born in Japan but who were themselves born outside Japan. Many Nisei were moved by force in the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.