Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In Japanese, kizuna means strong emotional bonds. In 2011, we invited our global Nikkei community to contribute to a special series about how Nikkei communities reacted to and supported Japan following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Now, we would like to bring together stories about how Nikkei families and communities are being impacted by, and responding and adjusting to this world crisis.

If you would like to participate, please see our submission guidelines. We welcome submissions in English, Japanese, Spanish, and/or Portuguese, and are seeking diverse stories from around the world. We hope that these stories will help to connect us, creating a time capsule of responses and perspectives from our global Nima-kai community for the future.

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Although many events around the world have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have noticed that many new online only events are being organized. Since they are online, anyone can participate from anywhere in the world. If your Nikkei organization is planning a virtual event, please post it on Discover Nikkei’s Events section! We will also share the events via Twitter @discovernikkei. Hopefully, it will help to connect us in new ways, even as we are all isolated in our homes.

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 10: Toronto Musician Hiroki Tanaka

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Just as it is so sad to hear news of the passing of another Nisei, it is heartening to learn of more and more Japanese Canadian community members in the arts who are coming of age and making their presence known when we need them most.

I got to know Hiroki Tanaka’s father, Yusuke (Toronto), born in Sapporo, when I was at the beginning of my own quest in the early 1990s. Yusuke was the acoustic guitar strumming Japanese editor for the Nikkei Voice newspaper. I remember our first meeting, pulling my Getaway camper van in …

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 9

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As we approach the second anniversary of Covid, I am conscious of the fragility of these times that we are living through: the new Omicron variant of Covid, eco-disasters in British Columbia (flooding and landslides after a summer of wildfires) and, yes, Covid numbers are climbing again across Canada. It’s time again to take yet another deep breath…

In this part, we’re celebrating the artistry of cellist Rachel Mercer (Ottawa, ON) and dancer Mayumi Lashbrook (Toronto, ON), younger members of the Japanese Canadian community, each of whom is mixed race and with different relationships with their …

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 8: British Columbia edition

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After rereading the responses from this chapter’s featured artists from British Columbia, one issue really stands out for me: Canada’s vast geography and how we are divided into two solitudes—east and west—a lasting legacy of the internment.

Vancouver, BC, where our Japanese Canadian story begins, is about 5000 kilometers, a five-day drive, due west from Oakville, Ontario, where I sit now.

As a Toronto-born Sansei, my BC-born parents lived in New Westminster and Vancouver. Growing up, I learned snippets about their lives in Slocan (grandfather Hayashida died there), Bayfarm, Strawberry Hill (Ibuki farm), and Middlechurch, Manitoba, …

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 7

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These Covid times, emerging from our third lockdown in Ontario, as well as teaching online, has given me some pause to dwell upon our next generation of mentors/leaders as the times necessitate. In 2021, there has been a lot to celebrate nationally in the JC community with the news of artist, curator and activist Bryce Kanbara (Hamilton, ON) winning a Governor General's Visual Arts Award and fashion executive Sansei Susan Langdon (Toronto), whose parents were interned in New Denver, BC being appointed a member of the Order of Canada on December 31st, 2020, Canada's highest honour. …

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How UNICEF Information Helps Us Observe Nikkei Children Living Through a Pandemic and Economic Crisis

While I was observing and communicating with Japanese UNICEF Advocates on the street, some questions came to my mind:

—Do the current pandemic and economic challenges affect the Nikkei communities in different countries the same way? How do the Nikkei communities in different countries perceive economic challenges, racism, prejudice, and even vaccinations?

—For example, do Japanese Peruvians, Japanese Columbians, or Japanese Mexicans face more challenges than Japanese Americans, Japanese Canadians, Japanese Brazilians, or the Japanese in Europe? Or all groups treated the same now, due to the current pandemic?

—Do Nikkei who have privilege take for granted how the pandemic …

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activist british columbia canada cellist COVID-19 covid-19 dancer editor filmmaker hapa Hiroki Tanaka japanese canadian japanese canadian artists kizuna2020 Kizuna2020 Linda Ohama Mayumi Lashbrook mixed musician Rachel Mercer Ron Korb storyteller tohoku Toronto tsunami