Join Discover Nikkei as we present a variety of new virtual programs and videos to share through our YouTube channel and website.

Check this page to find out about upcoming virtual programs and see videos from past events. Let us know what kinds of programs and guests that you would be interested in seeing.

Upcoming Programs | Nima Voices | Other Past Programs

 

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

Combining Culinary Cultures: A Conversation with Nikkei Chefs from Los Angeles, São Paulo, and Lima

Saturday, December 3, 2022 • 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (PST)

(Optional post-program chat with chefs: 4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.)

Saturday, December 3
  ● 1 p.m. (Honolulu)
  ● 3 p.m. (Los Angeles / Seattle / Vancouver)
  ● 5 p.m. (Mexico City / Chicago)
  ● 6 p.m. (Lima / New York / Toronto)
  ● 8 p.m. (São Paulo)
  ● 11 p.m. (London)

Sunday, December 4
  ● 12 a.m. (Amsterdam)
  ● 7 a.m. (Manila)
  ● 8 a.m. (Tokyo)
  ● 10 a.m. (Sydney)


[Language: English, Español, Português]

Join us for a conversation with noted Nikkei chefs—Niki Nakayama of n/naka (Los Angeles, CA, US), Telma Shiraishi of Restaurante Aizomê (São Paulo, Brazil), and Roger Arakaki of Sushi Ito (Lima, Peru). The program will be moderated by Gil Asakawa, author of the recently published book, Tabemasho! Let’s Eat!: A Tasty History of Japanese Food in America. Carole Iida-Nakayama, co-owner and sous chef of n/naka and n/soto, will also be joining us for the program.

The chefs will discuss their cultural backgrounds and how it has influenced their culinary styles, their thoughts on “Nikkei food,” and more! They will also answer questions from the audience. Following the program, there will be an optional opportunity to chat informally with the chefs in breakout rooms.

For Niki Nakayama, chef and owner of n/naka and n/soto, the art of cooking comes down to feeling. Always one to follow her intuition, Nakayama’s instincts guide her path as a chef, and it continues to be the driving force behind every dish she creates. n/naka, her highly acclaimed Two MICHELIN Star restaurant in West Los Angeles, serves as a global destination for modern kaiseki with a California twist, at which Nakayama—alongside wife and Sous Chef Carole Iida-Nakayama—serves world-class, artfully curated, and exquisite dishes in a progression designed to reflect the mood of season, time, and place.



Telma Shiraishi is the head chef of Restaurante Aizomê, which crafts Japanese food with Brazilian and Japanese ingredients, and commands an Aizomê unit at the Japan House São Paulo. Her cuisine is based on a balanced combination between hot and cold recipes with authentically Japanese values, seasonal and local ingredients. Telma is also in charge of the kitchen at the Japanese Consulate in São Paulo, where she holds the title of Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador, which was granted by the Japanese Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Telma is the first Brazilian professional and one of the few women in the world to receive the honor. 



Roger Arakaki graduated from La Unión, a school serving the Nikkei community, and initially enrolled at Universidad Ricardo Palma. He majored in architecture, but later set off in a new direction when he traveled to Japan and stayed there for nine years, immersing himself in the country’s ancient culture and wide-ranging cuisine. Arakaki is the chef and co-owner of Sushi-Ito, a restaurant founded more than 25 years ago in Peru that offers the best of Japanese and Nikkei cuisine. He is also a leader in efforts to raise awareness about Japanese and Nikkei cuisine in Peru and throughout the world, traveling to numerous provinces and countries to promote Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. In 2021, he was chosen as a Bicentennial Chef as part of the commemoration of the bicentennial of Peru’s independence, and was recognized by the US Senate for his achievements in Peruvian and Nikkei cuisine in East Hampton, New York.



At n/naka, West Los Angeles’s highly acclaimed Two MICHELIN Star Japanese restaurant, Sous Chef Carole Iida-Nakayama utilizes her in-depth knowledge of Japanese cooking and highly organizational nature to support her wife, Chef/Owner Niki Nakayama, in the creation of a modern kaiseki dining experience. In March 2021 they launched n/soto in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles as a takeout-only restaurant focusing on bento. It opened its doors in April 2022 as an izakaya-inspired Japanese restaurant. Translating to “outside” in Japanese, “soto” refers both to the pandemic that closed people off from the outside world and the menu’s exploration of Japanese cuisine as interpreted throughout Los Angeles.


This program will be presented via Zoom with simultaneous translation in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Registration is required. Space is limited, so register now!

REGISTER NOW!

*This program is sponsored by The Nippon Foundation and is presented in partnership with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, JCI Brasil-Japão, and Asociación Peruano Japonesa. Additional support is provided by Onigiri Producciones.

                       

 

NIMA VOICES

“Nima” are members of the Discover Nikkei online community. Hailing from all around the world, they each bring unique experiences and perspectives to the site’s rich archive of stories. We are thrilled to present Nima Voices, a series where we uplift our Nima through brief, but enlightening, interviews!

Nima Voices: Episode 10—Gil Asakawa

October 25, 2022

In the tenth episode, Denver-based author Gil Asakawa was interviewed by guest host Nancy Matsumoto, a freelance writer and editor who covers agroecology, food and drink, the arts, and Japanese/Japanese American culture. Gil chatted with Nancy about his background; sense of identity as a Japanese American; his newly released book, Tabemasho! Let’s Eat!: A Tasty History of Japanese Food in America; stereotyping and social justice issues; his love of food; and more!

 

Nima Voices: Episode 9—Greg Robinson

July 12, 2022

In the ninth episode, Greg Robinson, a noted author and scholar of Japanese and Canadian American history, was interviewed by guest host Lisa Doi, a curatorial assistant at the Japanese American National Museum and a PhD Student in American Studies at Indiana University. Greg has been contributing articles to Discover Nikkei since 2009, shedding light on extraordinary, yet little-known Nikkei, many of which were published in an award-winning anthology, The Unsung Great: Portraits of Extraordinary Japanese Americans. They chatted about some of his favorite stories from the book, his connections to Discover Nikkei, and more!

 

Episode 8—Laura Honda-Hasegawa

March 15, 2022

[Language: Portuguese]

The 8th episode (and first in Portuguese!) featured Laura Honda-Hasegawa, a Sansei from São Paulo, Brazil, whose writing shares her and others’ experiences and perspectives of being Nikkei. She was interviewed live by guest host Patricia Murakami, a Japanese Brazilian lawyer from São Paulo who is active in many Nikkei associations. They discussed Ohayo Bom Dia, Laura’s first Discover Nikkei series about being Brazilian Nikkei; her fictional stories exploring life for dekasegi living in Japan; Nikkei communities in Brazil; her experiences living in Japan; Discover Nikkei; and more.

 

Episode 7—Ryusuke Kawai



December 8, 2021

[Language: Japanese]

The 7th episode of Nima Voices (and first in Japanese!) featured Ryusuke Kawai, a Japanese journalist and non-fiction writer. He was interviewed live by guest host Masako Miki, Japanese External Relations Officer at the Japanese American National Museum. Ryusuke shared his background as a journalist; how he got interested in exploring “Nikkei” topics; his Japanese translation of the book “No-No Boy” by John Okada; his writings about Sukeji Morikami, the only Yamato Colony member to remain in Florida; and about Shinichi Kato, who published the book “Beikoku Nikkeijin Hyakunenshi (100 years of Nikkei in the United States),” and more.

 

Episode 6—Christine Piper



September 7, 2021

The sixth episode featured Christine Piper, an award-winning, mixed-race Japanese-Australian author. She was interviewed live by guest host Emily Anderson (Project Curator at JANM and a specialist on modern Japan) about her family background; her writing; the Japanese/Nikkei community in Australia, especially during World War II; and her experience as a field research facilitator for the Global Nikkei Young Adult Research Project.

 

Episode 5—Jay Horinouchi

July 6, 2021

The fifth episode featured Jay Horinouchi—a Japanese American artist/consultant—interviewed by guest host Soji Kashiwagi. They talked about the challenges of designing the Nikkei Chronicles graphics and reflected on the 10th anniversary of the Great Tohoku Kanto earthquake. Jay was living in Japan in 2011 and assisted with post-tsunami recovery efforts. As Executive Director of the Grateful Crane Ensemble, Soji led three goodwill tours to Tohoku in 2014, 2016, and 2018 where the group performed songs of hope and healing for survivors.

 

Episode 4—Juan Alberto Matsumoto

April 27, 2021

[Language: Spanish]

The fourth episode—also the first Spanish episode—of “Nima Voices” features Japanese Argentinean Alberto Matsumoto with guest host, Monica Kogiso. They are both Nisei, originally from Escobar, Argentina. Alberto talked about his background, a city of Escobar where he grew up, Nikkei communities in Argentina, his identity, education for childen of dekasegi, Nikkei in Japan, his Malvinas war experiences, and more. Read Alberto's work hereWatch his oral history interview here.

Mónica Kogiso is a communicator and cultural bridge between Japan and Argentina. She is a production coordinator for Japanese media and organizes trips and events that promote ties among various peoples and cultures. She is a former president of Centro Nikkei Argentino, and participates actively in the Panamerican Nikkei Association. She promotes and works to support the development of Nikkei youth leaders in Argentina and Latin America. She has been a longtime collaborator with Discover Nikkei.

 

Episode 3—Tamiko Nimura

March 2, 2021

The third episode featured Discover Nikkei contributor Tamiko Nimura with guest host, Japanese American youth activist Justin Kawaguchi. Tamiko talked about her family—especially her uncle, the late playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi; her sense of cultural identity and the importance of traditions; the Nikkei community in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Tacoma, WA; and her upcoming book, a co-written graphic novel, titled We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press/Wing Luke Asian Museum). Read Tamiko’s work here.

 

Episode 2—Erik Matsunaga

December 15, 2020

The second episode featured Erik Matsunaga with guest host, award-winning author Naomi Hirahara. Erik talked about his family, projects to map historic Japanese American neighborhoods in Chicago, his @windycitynikkei Instagram account, and his other articles on Discover Nikkei. Read Erik’s work here.

Naomi Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, she has written several 12-part serials for Discover Nikkei, including her latest, Ten Days of Cleanup. Her historical mystery, Clark and Division, set in 1944 Chicago, will be released in August 2021 by Soho Crime. Read Naomi’s stories on Discover Nikkei.

 

Episode 1—Chuck Tasaka

October 27, 2020

The inaugural episode featured Japanese Canadian Chuck Tasaka with guest host, actor and comedian Kyle Mizono. Chuck talked about unique Canadian Nikkei foods; how Greenwood, BC became the first Japanese Canadian internment camp during WWII and remained a Nikkei community after the war; Nisei nicknames; his Nikkei heroes; and more. Read all of Chuck's stories here.

Kyle Mizono is a comedian based in Los Angeles who recently made a Comedy Central digital series called “Girl Kyle.” She’s also been featured on NPR’s This American Life, Viceland, FreeForm, and Adult Swim.

 

OTHER PAST PROGRAMS

Nikkei Uncovered III: a poetry reading

September 15, 2022

Our third annual virtual poetry reading presented a powerful lineup of poets previously featured in Discover Nikkei’s Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column, hosted by traci kato-kiriyama (author of Navigating With(out) Instruments). The poets were chosen to reflect on the theme of gathering. What does it mean to gather in a time of physical and social separation? How can poetry bring us together?

Featured poets: Sawako Nakayasu, Emily Mitamura, and Amy Uyematsu 

 

9th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest Virtual Celebration

May 26, 2022

The winners of the 9th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest were presented in a virtual celebration and dramatic readings of the winning stories by noted actors, Keiko Agena, Helen Ota, and Megumi Anjo. Ellen Endo (English Adult), Elizabeth Ito (English Youth), and Akira Tsurukame (Japanese language) represented their respective judges panels to present remarks and introduce the winners—Xueyou Wang, Hailey Hua, and Mutsuki Nao. The event was emceed by Derek Mio and included remarks by Little Tokyo Historical Society President Michael Okamura.

The contest is presented by Little Tokyo Historical Society in partnership with JANM’s Discover Nikkei project.

 

What Is Nikkei Food?

February 26, 2022

Nikkei and others from around the world gathered virtually to explore what is “Nikkei food” and the role that it plays in Nikkei families and communities internationally. Japanese American writer, Gil Asakawa, emceed and moderated the program that included a presentation by Shigeru Kojima (researcher at the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, Yokohama, Japan), facilitated small group discussions, and optional post-event discussions via Zoom. The recording below includes the presentation and Q&A with Kojima, plus some break-out session reports and program closing.

This program was presented in English with Spanish and Portuguese simultaneous translations to facilitate international participation, with over 180 participants from at least 13 countries. We will be adding subtitles in Spanish and Portuguese. Check back for an article sharing more from the facilitators’ reports. Sign up for Discover Nikkei’s email list or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out when those have been added.

*This program was presented with community partners: JCI Brazil - Japan, Nikkei Australia, and Asociación Peruano Japonesa.

 

Imagine Little Tokyo 2022 Writing Workshop

January 27, 2022 

Award winning author Naomi Hirahara and Little Tokyo Historical Society leader Mike Okamura led a virtual interactive story writing workshop where participants learned tips and get advice for writing short stories that they can submit to the 9th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

The story must be fictional and set in a current, past, or future Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. The short story committee will be specifically looking for stories that capture the spirit and sense of Little Tokyo.  Learn more about submitting your story.

*Presented by Little Tokyo Historic Society in partnership with Discover Nikkei, the purpose of the Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest is to raise awareness of Little Tokyo through a creative story that takes place in the historic neighborhood. 

 

8th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest: A Virtual Celebration

May 23, 2021

The winners of the 8th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest were presented in a virtual celebration and dramatic readings of the winning stories by noted theatre artists, Greg WatanabeJully Lee, and Eiji Inoue. Susie Ling (English Adult), Andie Kimura (English Youth), and Makiko Nakasone (Japanese language) represented their respective judges panels to present remarks and introduce the winners—Jacob LauxCasey Murase, and ShoRei. The event was emceed by Michael Palma and included remarks by Little Tokyo Historical Society President Michael Okamura and LTHS board member Jeffrey Gee Chin's announcement of the upcoming LTHS publication, A Rebel's Outcray.

The contest is presented by Little Tokyo Historical Society in partnership with JANM’s Discover Nikkei project.

 

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry reading

May 13, 2021

Our second annual virtual poetry reading presented a powerful lineup of poets previously featured in Discover Nikkei’s Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column, hosted by author, poet, and performer traci kato-kiriyama.

We reached out to pairs of poets who read works in conversation with each other. Each pair has their own unique relationship that brought depth of conversation and insight into their poetry. kato-kiriyama also provided prompts for audience members to write and reflect on.

Featured poets:

Amy Uyematsu and Miya Iwataki

Curtiss Takada Rooks and Mariko Fujimoto Rooks

Shō Tanaka and Paulette M. Moreno

 

What Does It Mean to Be Nikkei in 2021?

February 6, 2021

In 2018, The Nippon Foundation, in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum launched the Global Nikkei Young Adult Research Project to examine how young adult Nikkei around the world feel about and express their Japanese heritage. Analyzing the data from a worldwide survey and global regional focus groups, the project sought to obtain a deeper understanding of their similarities and differences, as well as their celebrations and challenges.

The main presentation by Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks and Dr. Lindsey Sasaki Kogasaka provided an overview of the final report findings, followed by a brief Q&A.

The program was presented in English with Spanish and Portuguese simultaneous translations to facilitate international participation, with over 130 participants from at least 14 countries. The event included small group discussions and an optional networking opportunity.

This program was presented in partnership with Department of Asian and Asian American Studies of Loyola Marymount University.

 

Imagine Little Tokyo Writing Workshop With Naomi Hirahara and Bill Watanabe

January 28, 2021

Award-winning author Naomi Hirahara and Little Tokyo community leader Bill Watanabe led an interactive story writing workshop where articipants learned tips and got advice for writing short stories that they can submit to the eighth annual Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest.

*Presented by Little Tokyo Historical Society in partnership with Discover Nikkei, the purpose of the Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest is to raise awareness of Little Tokyo through a creative story that takes place in the historic neighborhood.

 

7th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest: A Virtual Celebration

July 23, 2020

The winners of the 7th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest were presented in a virtual celebration and dramatic readings of the winning stories by actors Derek Mio, Tamlyn Tomita, and Eijiro Ozaki. Brian Niiya (Adult category), Kelsey Iino (Youth), and Makiko Nakasone (Japanese language) represented their respective judges panels to present remarks and introduce the winners—James Fujita, Onassa Sun, and Junzo Arai. The event was emceed by Marilyn Tokuda and included remarks by Little Tokyo Historical Society President Michael Okamura and a short video about Little Tokyo by Steve Nagano.

 * The contest is presented by Little Tokyo Historical Society in partnership with Discover Nikkei.

 

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry reading

May 21, 2020

Discover Nikkei’s Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column shares poems each month from the Nikkei community around themes curated by author, poet, and performer traci kato-kiriyama. Nikkei Uncovered went live with a powerful, intergenerational lineup of poets previously featured in the column to share their poetry in an online reading. Hosted by traci, the interactive reading and reflection featured Maiya Kuida-Osumi, Courtney Ozaki, Micah Tasaka, and Mitsuye Yamada, followed by a short open mic portion.

 

From Japan to Mexico: A Nikkei Story from Veracruz

September 29, 2018

Julio Mizzumi Guerrero Kojima and Belen Torres Morales are descendants of immigrants who left Japan to work in the sugar plantations in Veracruz, Mexico, in the early 1900s. They are musicians with expertise in the Fandango, a tradition specific to Veracruz that is rooted in community convening and participation. They also are part of an environmental/community gardening project in Veracruz called Jardin Kojima. They performed with musician César Castro and spoke about their family’s history, their expertise in Fandango, and their environmental project.

This program was presented by the Japanese American National Museum in partnership with FandangObon.