Jim H. Matsuoka

Jim H. Matsuoka (1935 - 2022) was a founding member of NCRR ( Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress) who helped build the movement for reparations and an organization that would stay true to its belief in the power of the grassroots and solidarity with others. In 1942, he, along with his sisters and parents, was forcibly removed from Little Tokyo and shipped to Manzanar “prison camp” as he called it. His love for Little Tokyo and his anger at injustice would be driving forces in Jim’s life.

Jim had a fierce commitment to social justice. His honest and forthright approach, his integrity, and his tireless activism was not just impressive, it was almost unparalleled. Always striving to place the interests of the people ahead of anything else, he never sought the limelight. He had a grounded, deep love for humanity.

When redress was won in 1988, Jim continued with NCRR knowing that the fight against injustice was not over. He unwaveringly supported the Muslim community after 9/11, the demand for reparations by the “comfort women” and by African Americans today. He believed in continuing to educate others about the camps and was in demand as the consummate storyteller.

Updated November 2022

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

In memoriam...Jim Matsuoka

It is with my heaviest, yet most grateful heart that I present this poetic speech from our beloved Jim Matsuoka, who passed on towards the end of October. Jim meant so much to surely countless many and I am simply another person who benefited greatly from his presence in so many threads of my life. He was a staunch supporter, attendee, and featured artist over literally all the years of Tuesday Night Cafe since its inception in February of 1999. He was a champion of my artistic work from my earliest days as a young poet, actor, and performance artist through many times himself being a fantas…

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