Definition of sansei in US English:



North American
  • A person born in the US or Canada whose grandparents were immigrants from Japan.

    Compare with nisei and issei
    • ‘She titles the interview with a sansei author, ‘A Sansei Author Writes Himself Home’.’
    • ‘Besides the chief instructor, most of the senior students were nisei or sansei and several of them had moved to California from Hawaii where they had earlier begun their aikido training.’
    • ‘As a sansei, a third-generation Japanese American, she sees no need to qualify her work as Asian American or Asian at all.’
    • ‘My grandchildren will be American sansei in Japan, unless one of my children or their children has children with someone of yet another nationality and so carries on that grand wandering that is native to the human family.’


1940s: Japanese, from san ‘third’ + sei ‘generation’.