Originally Posted by MetasMom
Step 1 would be to teach your children the involved languages on the level of a native speaker. I am convinced that there is no cultural identity formation possible if it's a second language to them.
I'm not convinced that it's true. It's definitely not true in the Japanese-American/Nikkei community. A good number of Japanese-American's of my mother and in-laws generation speak little to no Japanese.
It's important to point out that most adult Japanese Americans/Nikkei today are 3rd or 4th generation. The first generation is gone (unless they emigrated post WWII), and the second generation are all senior citizens.
The internment during WWII also led a lot of the second generation to try to remove themselves more from being Japanese by not raising their children as bilingual and not maintaining many ties to the motherland.
My mother is Japanese-American, and she has one immigrant parent (1952) and one second generation parent. My grandfather was stationed in occupied Japan during the Korean Conflict and met my grandmother that way. Mom was not raised bilingual, but was exposed to the language. She and her siblings took Japanese classes later in their childhood.
My grandparents spoke Japanese around me, and my grandmother taught me polite phrases, how to count, and some other food related vocabulary. Mom and Nana cooked both Japanese and Western style foods, took us to a Japanese American church, and we were involved with the local Japanese-American community center. I think the only thing we didn't do at home was use chopsticks or the language. My dad is Caucasian.
My husband is 4th generation Japanese-American. His parents and grandparents are very involved with the Japanese-American community and are more "culturally" Japanese than my mother's family. His grandparents speak fluent Japanese, but his parents don't.
My kids are 3/4ths Japanese, and they're exposed to Japanese cuisine, attend a Japanese Buddhist church, and are being taught polite phrases in Japanese.