Issei or is·sei [ees-sey] Word Origin noun, plural Is·sei or is·sei.
- 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.
Compare Kibei, Nisei, Sansei. 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) Word Origin and History for issei Issei
c.1930s, term used among Japanese immigrants for first-generation immigrants, in Japanese, literally “first generation,” related to ichi “one.”