Tamiko Nimura

Tamiko Nimura is an Asian American writer living in Tacoma, Washington. Her training in literature and American ethnic studies (MA, PhD, University of Washington) prepared her to research, document, and tell the stories of people of color. She has been writing for Discover Nikkei since 2008.

Tamiko just published her first book, Rosa Franklin: A Life in Health Care, Public Service, and Social Justice (Washington State Legislature Oral History Program, 2020). Her second book is a co-written graphic novel, titled We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press/Wing Luke Asian Museum). She is working on a memoir called PILGRIMAGE.

Updated November 2020

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Power of Our Stories

On Topaz Stories and “Authentic Voice”: A Conversation With Writer And Editor Ruth Sasaki - Part 2

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Tamiko Nimura: As editor/curator, are there any particular segments in Topaz Stories that resonate for you?

Ruth Sasaki: There are stories that are a miracle for the recall of specific details by someone who was a young child in camp, like Jon Yatabe’s “Toy Story.” Another story, “Father and Son” by Dan Hirano, who was actually born in Topaz, grabbed me for its distinctive voice and the image that came to mind as I read it of someone in his 70s (decades later) poring over a cherished and worn photo—of himself sitting …

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Power of Our Stories

On Topaz Stories and “Authentic Voice”: A Conversation With Writer And Editor Ruth Sasaki - Part 1

As a college student at UC Berkeley in the 1990s, I was searching for Sansei writers who wrote about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. I was delighted to find the work of Janice Mirikitani and Ruth Sasaki. Sasaki’s book, The Loom and Other Stories, is one that I’ve kept close to my heart and on my shelf for decades now. So it was a delight to see that she had started a blog in 2015, and to see that she was editing a new project in 2020: Topaz Stories, a collection of first-person stories from camp survivors …

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The Redress Origins of the Hidden Histories of San Jose Japantown: A Conversation with Susan Hayase and Tom Izu

Carp flags (koinobori) are floating in front of me, their mouths open. Tanzaku are fluttering in a virtual wind. Fragments of the “Instructions to Persons of Japanese Ancestry” poster are floating around an empty lot. Black-and-white photos of a Japanese American doctor float by the Issei Memorial Building. In one space I hear strains of “We are the Children” by Chris Iijima and Nobuko Miyamoto; in another space I hear the thunder of taiko drums and watch community dancers celebrating at a Bon Odori. And there is more, much more, as I watch video after video of art …

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A Sister Artist Interview: Teruko Nimura And the Eloquence of Handmade Objects

Strings of origami cranes, circles of wish lanterns, maneki nekos and daruma figures—for decades I’ve watched my sister Teruko grow as an artist. I remember Teruko’s pencil sketches and charcoal drawings that our mother framed in our hallway to Teruko’s first solo show in Sacramento to public art installations in Texas, Mexico, and New York City. Though I’m four years older, I’ve always been in awe of her as an artist. She takes risks and confronts difficult themes, experiments with multiple media, devotes weeks of energy to a single repetitive task, and pours care into each of the hundreds of …

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An Interview With City of Ghosts Yonsei Creator Elizabeth Ito 

A maneki neko statue keeps moving mysteriously around a “sort of” Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. A music teacher keeps hearing some drumming in Leimert Park, with no visible drummer. A team of kid detectives roams Los Angeles, looking for ghosts—not to vaporize or “bust” them, but to listen to their stories. The ghosts are friendly, funny, talkative, near cuddly, some with rainbow auras.

The Los Angeles of Elizabeth Ito’s City of Ghosts Netflix series is not what you might expect.

City of Ghosts is a beautifully told animated series which uncovers layers of stories about specific neighborhoods of Los …

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