Patricia Wakida

Patricia Wakida is the editor of two publications on the Japanese American experience, Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience, and Unfinished Message: the collected works of Toshio Mori. For the past fifteen years, she has worked as a literary and community historian, including Associate Curator of History at the Japanese American National Museum, Contributing Editor for Discover Nikkei website, and as an Associate Editor of the Densho Encyclopedia project. She serves on various non-profit boards including Poets & Writers California, Kaya Press, and the California Studies Association. Patricia has worked as an apprentice papermaker in Gifu, Japan and as an apprentice letterpress printer and hand bookbinder in California; she maintains her own linoleum block and letterpress business under the Wasabi Press imprint. She is a Yonsei, whose parents were incarcerated as children in the Jerome (Arkansas) and Gila River (Arizona) American concentration camps. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband Sam and Gosei, Hapa (Japanese Mexican) son, Takumi.

Updated August 2017

culture en pt

Erica Kaminishi: Presenting a Brazilian Nikkei Identity through Art - Part 2

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Later, you returned to Japan as a graduate student and stayed for many years, working, exhibiting, and studying both traditional forms (pottery) and contemporary forms (film and visual arts). What were some of the big lessons you took away from studying in Japan, both artistically and personally?

Going back to Japan as a graduate student made me see the country and its culture with different eyes. I experienced two situations in “two” different countries: first as an immigrant worker and then as a foreign student. The way that you’re treated in these situations changes according to your …

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culture en pt

Erica Kaminishi: Presenting a Brazilian Nikkei Identity through Art - Part 1

Artist Erica Kaminishi, born and raised in Mato Gross, Brazil, is one of the hundreds of thousands of Nikkei Brazilian dekasegi who have migrated to Japan to work or study, a hundred years after their ancestors immigrated. Over a span of ten years, she worked, studied pottery, and attended a PhD program in Japan. She now lives and works full-time as an artist in Paris, France, but her roots as a Nikkei Brazilian and her time in Japan have clearly had an impact on the way she sees and thinks.

Kaminishi is one of thirteen artists selected to participate in …

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Albert Saijo: Karmic Heart

When the phone rang unexpectedly early one morning in 2009, I couldn’t believe it, but it was Albert Saijo on the line, calling me from the rainforests of Hawai‘i. It seemed serendipitious. His book, Outspeaks: A Rhapsody, not only lay on the kitchen table, but I had engaged in conversation that very morning about his poems, which were insistent and dense, full of remembrance yet muscular in its intellectual content and tone.


In an attempt to emulate Saijo’s block handwritten style, Outspeaks was typeset in ALL CAPS, which I interpreted as a prophet incanting at a feverish pitch, …

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Gompers Saijo (1922-2003) - A Life Long Artist: from Art Students League Heart Mountain to the Shadow of Mt. Tamalpais

It is no great surprise that Eric Saijo’s home is surrounded by a profusion of California native plants—ceanothus, manzanita, redbud—and the interior is richly punctuated with bronze bells and whimsical sculptures of turtles and owls.

For years I’ve intended to find out more about Eric’s father, Nisei artist Gompers Saijo, the eldest in an extraordinary family of artists and intellectuals who shared a profound reverence for the earth and were everything but conventional Americans. On the first day of April, the opportunity to do so appeared, and I stepped across the family’s threshold.


Gompers Saijo was given his unusual …

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Language and Silence—The Poetry of Asano Miyata Saijo (1891-1966)

In July 1932, on the occasion of the Los Angeles Olympic Games, The Kashu Mainichi ran an article welcoming the Japanese athletes, written by an unlikely writer who called herself an “obasan farmer living in southern California.” The author was a remarkable Issei whose progressive, feminist perspective graced the pages of both The Kashu Mainichi and The Rafu Shimpo newspapers for nearly forty years.


Asano “Misa” Saijo was also an educator and a dedicated haiku poet who lived amongst the orange, avocado, and walnut groves of the San Gabriel Valley. A writer perceives life as more than an …

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