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.

culture en ja

Virtual Bunka no Hi 2020

Located in Seattle, the Japanese Cultural & and Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) offers many quality programs to fulfill its mission, “To build and grow a central gathering place for sharing and promoting Japanese and Japanese American culture and heritage.” Our programs include community events, the Northwest Nikkei Museum, and the Seattle Japanese Language School, the oldest Japanese language school in North America.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of these programs went online in 2020. One of our popular events, “Bunka no Hi” (Japanese Culture Day), was among them. In previous years, we shared cultural …

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culture en

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 5

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Gaman (我慢) is a Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin which means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”. The term is generally translated as “perseverance”, “patience”, or “tolerance.”

— From Wikipedia

Nobody likes hanging in a state of uncertainty.

One of the real blessings of being able to practice any kind of art at this time is that it gives us a point on which to focus. If you’ve ever practiced a martial art, you know that breathing deeply is important as a source of power and control, the head stuff just gets in …

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community en

Giving Thanks During COVID

What began last March as a few months of social distancing has now turned into the prospect of long-term isolation as COVID19 increases at a staggering rate. As a proud member of the senior population considered “high risk,” I can personally attest to the stresses and strains of home confinement.

Perhaps the greatest deprivation has been the loss of social interaction except for who we can see on a phone or computer screen — with Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom becoming regular activities, not to mention rising to Webster dictionary status of actual verbs. I still yearn for the social connections …

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community en

Care Is Free: Behind the Scenes with Two Nikkei Sisters and 35 Care Packages

In October 2020, Tamiko and Teruko Nimura were asked to create a community engagement public art project for Tacoma Arts Month (a month celebrating arts and artists in Tacoma). They drew on their Japanese American heritage and created a batch of care packages which they distributed all over Tacoma, Tamiko’s hometown. Each care package had a letter describing the purpose and the contents of the package. Below is the letter.

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September 25, 2020

Dear neighbor,

It’s a rare sunny afternoon in late September—maybe one of our last for the season. After the wildfire smoke a …

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culture en

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 4

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So, here we are entering fall 2020 and the second wave of Covid-19 is upon Canada…. the inevitable has arrived.

So, from Nelson, BC there is Diana who I met last summer on a short trip to the Kootenays that now seems like a lifetime ago. I like the edginess of her American Niseiness. Her “Sideways” memoir gave me insight into what it was like to grow up as someone born into internment in Minidoka Internment Camp. A friend of William Hohri (1927-2010), writer, civil rights activist, and lead plaintiff in the National Council for Japanese …

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Akira Yoshiwara art artist Bunka no Hi Canada care is free care packages covid-19 culture Diana Morita Cole festival filmmaker JANM Volunteers Japanese Canadian JCCCW Jeff Chiba Stearns Joy Kogawa June Aochi Berk Kizuna2020 Laura Shintani Masako Koga poet Richard Murakami tacoma takeo yamashiro