A Japanese immigrant, especially one to the United States.
A Japanese immigrant to North America, esp. one coming to the U.S. after 1907 and ineligible until 1952 to become a U.S. citizen.
Origin of issei
- Japanese ichi one, first (from Middle Chinese ʔjit) ((also the source of Mandarin yī one)) (ultimately from Proto-Sino-Tibetan it) (Burmese ʔac) sei generation (from Middle Chinese ʂiaj` generation, world) (also the source of Mandarin shì)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition