traci kato-kiriyama

traci kato-kiriyama is a performer, actor, writer, author, educator, and art+community organizer who splits the time and space in her body feeling grounded in gratitude, inspired by audacity, and thoroughly insane—oft times all at once. She’s passionately invested in a number of projects that include Pull Project (PULL: Tales of Obsession); Generations Of War; The (title-ever-evolving) Nikkei Network for Gender and Sexual Positivity; Kizuna; Budokan of LA; and is the Director/Co-Founder of Tuesday Night Project and Co-Curator of its flagship “Tuesday Night Cafe.” She’s working on a second book of writing/poetry attuned to survival, slated for publication next year by Writ Large Press.

Updated August 2013

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Open

Happy 2018, folks! Upon entering a new year, we put forth the theme of “open” to writers Mariko Rooks, a Culver City native who is currently studying at Yale, and Pogo Saito, now based in Nyssa, Oregon. Their pieces here explore critical openings between self and the things we want to let go of or draw nearer - there is challenge and reflection felt throughout...enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Mariko Fujimoto Rooks is a mixed race Japanese American and African American first-year student at Yale University, where she studies public health. She serves as an Student Coordinator …

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

December

For this final column of 2017, I chose to focus on the broad possibilities this month provides—it lends itself to the December 7 reflection that comes to us from Altadena based Ken Okuno, as much as it comes through bittersweet introspection from Wilmington, North Carolina based Daisuke Shen, whose words come from their time this month with family in Japan. Enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Ken Okuno is a Sansei, born and raised in Pasadena, California. A poet, novelist, and musician, he currently lives in Altadena, CA. He attended University of California, Berkeley where he won the …

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Place / Location

This month, we feature just one writer and a beloved one to the Discover Nikkei space at that—Chicago native, Erik Matsunaga. Erik’s piece is a simple moment between old childhood pals and one that sets an image of “home” or places of significance that are, at once, transient and meaningful…enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Erik Matsunaga is a Chicago-born fourth generation Nikkei American of Japanese and German descent. In addition to regular contributions to Discover Nikkei, his extensive research into Chicago’s Japanese American community has been most recently featured on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio’s The Afternoon Shift …

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Bite

As we enter the final quarter of 2017, I didn't want to “ease” into fall but rather, take a bite out of it. Maybe there’s something feisty in the air with all the ash and soot and unrest all around us. In any case, this isn’t a time for languor but it could be a time for something a little outside the box. These two pieces—from El Cerrito-based poet Kazumi Chin and writer Lawrence Matsuda, who was born in the Minidoka, Idaho concentration camp during WWII—have their own bite to offer as we step forward in this season…enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama …

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Mothers—affection, lost & found

This month, we take a somewhat different turn, in presenting some prose from longtime community organizer and LA-native, Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka, and a piece meant for the spoken word stage from Hawai‘i-born/Torrance-raised educator, Kurt Yokoyama-Ikeda. They both sent in pieces about their mothers and I found a yearning, discovery, and ode to their affection, however uniquely expressed over time. The pieces left me hoping they will continue to write and explore even more even about their mothers and how we find and express affection…enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka was born and raised in multicultural …

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