Issei or is·sei [ees-sey] Word Origin noun, plural Is·sei or is·sei.

  1. a Japanese person who immigrated to the U.S. or Canada after 1907 and was not eligible until 1952 for citizenship.
  2. 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.”

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