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Creating the Nisei MarketRace and Citizenship in Hawaii's Japanese American Consumer Culture$
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Shiho Imai

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833329

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833329.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

The Markers of Whiteness

The Markers of Whiteness

(p.11) Chapter One The Markers of Whiteness
Creating the Nisei Market

Shiho Imai

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how Japanese Americans used the meaning and enactment of whiteness as a cultural marker of difference to rework the definition of “mainstream,” allowing them to claim their place in Hawaiʻi's racial hierarchy. More specifically, it chronicles the geographical and racial dislocation experienced by Nisei students who attended Honolulu's high schools and universities in the interwar years as they grappled with and internalized matters of race, ethnicity, class, and gender peculiar to Hawaiʻi. Drawing on the accounts provided in William C. Smith's survey, the book highlights the important role played by the material culture of the home in defining what it meant to be urban, modern, and “white.” The book first considers the demography of Nisei students in Hawaiʻi before discussing their early home life, gender expectations and generational conflict, and race relations. It also describes the Nisei's visions of the ideal home life that drew on images from mainstream America.

Keywords:   whiteness, Japanese Americans, Nisei, Hawaiʻi, Nisei students, race, gender, William C. Smith, material culture, race relations

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