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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Keeping Family Ties

For some of us, an unexpected side effect of COVID-19 has been the increased importance of relationships. As the epidemic progressed, keeping in touch with loved ones has proven challenging. But for Rex Ishikawa’s family, virtual gatherings have been a weekly practice for the past seven years – first via Skype and more recently by Zoom.

Several years ago, Rex moved back to Käne‘ohe after living in Oklahoma for 28 years. He currently helps care for his 93-year-old father, Walter, who is still working at the airport Blind Vendors Ohana! Rex is the father of five adult children and six …

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 6: Let’s Dance!

Read Part 5 >>

So far, dancing is not on the list of prohibited activities under the current Ontario Emergency Lockdown.

In Part 6, we’re featuring three JC dancers who make their living as dancers: Vancouver Budoh dancer Jay Hirabayashi, son of Gordon Hirabayashi, and his partner Barb Bourget are the founders and teachers at Kokoro Dance. Denise Fujiwara operates the Fujiwara Dance Inventions in Toronto and Hiroe Hoshi (aka “Nema”) is a well known Victoria, BC belly dancer, performer and teacher.

In going through some of my pictures from my nine years in Japan, I came across one of …

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A Different Perspective: A Nikkeijin's Questions on Humanity's Responses to Economic Uncertainty

Is ignorance really bliss? What does it mean when people say, “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal”? What is defined as “normal”? Is “going back to normal” achievable after over 2.6 million deaths worldwide due to the Coronavirus—with over 530,000 Coronavirus-related deaths in the US alone? Also, what does it mean to be Economically stable at this point in time?

In this article, I want to reflect from an Economic Anthropological perspective. This means I intend to focus on the issues of humanity neither based on rational decision-making nor based on actual scarcity of economic resources. …

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Azay is Leading The Way

Philip Hirose, co-owner of Azay — a Japanese fusion restaurant in Little Tokyo, which he runs with his mother Jo Ann and father, Akira — faced not just the challenge of opening a new restaurant, but also coping with pandemic shutdowns just six months after opening.

“Lunch was our busiest time due to the city government workers,” he explained. “Now with them not in their offices — it was a huge blow.”

Azay opened on Sept. 14, 2019 and is located at 226 E. First St (near San Pedro Street) in Little Tokyo. It took Hirose and his mother a …

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Clothing for All Generations

As small businesses across the U.S. struggle to stay afloat in the midst of the current pandemic and economic down-turn, Alec Nakashima is extremely grateful that his clothing company, Akashi-Kama, has been able to adapt to this “moment in time” and survive — giving him the opportunity to help his community and look toward 2021 with the anticipation of better days ahead.

Nakashima launched Akashi-Kama online in May 2019, offering designs that blend the beauty of the Japanese aesthetic with an American influence. Each piece, designed by Nakashima and featuring fabrics sourced from Japan, is inspired by Nakashima’s own Japanese …

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akashi-kama Akira Hirose Alec Nakashima Azay canada clothing communication community COVID-19 covid-19 dance dancer Denise Fujiwara economic anthropology economy family fashion food fusion hawaii Hiroe Hoshi japanese canadian Jay Hirabayashi Jo Ann Hirose kizuna2020