Discover Nikkei

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Dec. 15, 2016 - April 18, 2024

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column is a space for the Nikkei community to share stories through diverse writings on culture, history, and personal experience. The column will feature a wide variety of poetic form and subject matter with themes that include history, roots, identity; history—past into the present; food as ritual, celebration, and legacy; ritual and assumptions of tradition; place, location, and community; and love.

We’ve invited author, performer, and poet traci kato-kiriyama to curate this monthly poetry column, where we will publish one to two poets on the third Thursday of each month—from senior or young writers new to poetry, to published authors from around the country. We hope to uncover a web of voices linked through myriad differences and connected experience.

Logo design by Alison Skilbred

Nikkei Uncovered (series) poetry Traci Akemi Kato-Kiriyama

Stories from this series

Hoping for a Rainbow

April 18, 2024 • Curtiss Takada Rooks , traci kato-kiriyama

We are overjoyed to again feature Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks in this springtime edition of the Nikkei Uncovered poetry column. Professor and Los Angeles-based creative, Dr. Takada Rooks offers us two wondrous and personal pieces of memory, homage, and hope - inviting us to recall the songs of our families, learn those of another, and lean into the love that is sometimes offered to us by a simple, storied kneading of dough. Enjoy... —traci kato-kiriyama * * * * * …

Between Query and Legacy

March 28, 2024 • Susan Hayase , traci kato-kiriyama

This month, we feature the fierce and insightful voice of San Jose-based Susan Hayase. While I am most familiar with Susan in intergenerational community organizing and activist spaces, I am grateful always to read her writing, as she has so much to share and teach us. Here we present pieces of both query and homage, from three distinct grandparents of Susan’s to the singular Alan Nishio. Enjoy… —traci kato-kiriyama * * * * * Susan Hayase was a part of …


Feb. 15, 2024 • Carolee Okamoto , Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka , traci kato-kiriyama

In the spirit of “remembrance” with Day Of Remembrance programs happening all around the country — we feature personal tributes by two Sansei writers, Carolee Okamoto, based in Washington, and Kathy Masaoka, based in Los Angeles. Carolee’s poem honors the warrior within her grandmother, a samurai’s daughter and a farmer’s wife. Kathy’s essay pays homage to her late, older sister Judy Nishimoto and the influence of her passionate, determined, and powerful spirit. Enjoy... — traci kato-kiriyama * * * * …


Jan. 18, 2024 • Aaron Caycedo-Kimura , traci kato-kiriyama

As we welcome 2024, we welcome another new writer to the Nikkei Uncovered space. We have three pieces of prose and poetry from Aaron Caycedo-Kimura, a Bloomfield CT based writer. The pieces here remind us of the transition through the in-between, what is at once behind and in front of us…the things of the past we might begin to let go of as we grasp onto them in the present moment. As we enter into a new year, we by …

Tribute to Amy Uyemastu: After — Part 7

Dec. 21, 2023 • Amy Uyematsu , traci kato-kiriyama

Here we share a final installment of a long series tribute to the late, great Amy Uyematsu. Since July, following her passing on June 23, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of sharing many voices in celebration of Amy through Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column. And as I continue to work on my own cycle of homage pieces for Amy, it has been wonderful and inspiring to witness poem after poem come in from some of my favorite writers and …

Tribute to Amy Uyemastu: After — Part 6

Nov. 16, 2023 • traci kato-kiriyama , Pam Ward

This month, we have the pleasure of featuring two poems from the great Pam Ward in our continued homage to the late Amy Uyematsu. In the mid 1990’s, Pam and Amy, along with Gloria Alvarez, Jiseh James, and Nancy Padron, organized Cantaluz (“sing light”) to come together and read as a collective of women of color poets. They had a reunion performance in 2017 and of course the legacy of each poet lives on. Here, Pam lends her fierce voice …

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Authors in This Series

Amina Abuthahir (she/her) is a first generation Muslim Indian-American. Her parents are from Southern India, Tamilnadu; Tamil, her mother language and culture has played a large part in her upbringing and identity. She is in her senior year at California State University, Long Beach, pursuing a bachelors in Political Science, with an emphasis on U.S. Law and Public Policy. She initially studied biology at Norco College and Riverside City College, but switched majors once she discovered her true passions lied in public work and activism. She attained an associate’s degree in Political Science from RCC. Her interests in political and economic discrimination in minority communities have informed the way she practices her solidarity and support. Abuthahir is currently looking forward to learning how to grow individually and in community using an amalgamation of art and politics.

Updated July 2020

Amy Sanchez Arteaga is an artist, writer, educator and co-founder of cog•nate collective–a binational arts collective developing interdisciplinary research projects and public interventions that seek to understand how culture mediates social, economic and political relationships across borders, both physical and symbolic.

Their projects have shown at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Getty Center, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, Craft Contemporary, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Arte Actual FLACSO, Quito, Maison Folie Wazemmes, Lille and Organ Kritischer Kunst, Berlin. They currently work between Tijuana, B.C., Santa Ana, CA and Los Angeles, CA. You can find their work at:

Updated June 2019

Angie Azad is a proud, Bengali, Muslim American. She loves art no matter what form in comes in, whether it be in video games, shows, or through activism and social justice. She feels that art has a way of telling a story and aspires to become an animator and/or video games designer so that she can tell her own stories.

Updated June 2020

Tamiko Beyer (she/her) is the author of the poetry collections Last Days (Alice James Books) and We Come Elemental (Alice James Books), winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award, and chapbooks Dovetail (co-authored with Kimiko Hahn, Slapering Hol Press) and Bough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poetry and articles have been published widely, including by Denver Quarterly, Idaho Review, Dusie, Black Warrior Review, Georgia Review, Lit Hub, and the Rumpus. She has received awards from PEN America and the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, and fellowships and residencies from Kundiman, Hedgebrook, and VONA, among others. She publishes Starlight and Strategy, a monthly newsletter for living life wide awake and shaping change. She is a queer, multiracial (Japanese and white), cisgender woman and femme, living and writing in on Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Pawtucket land. A social justice communications writer and strategist, she spends her days writing truth to power. More at

Updated October 2021

F. Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections. His first book, Zero to Three, was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow, and his poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. Brown proudly sits on the advisory circle for the Lorca Latinx Poetry Prize and the boards for Beyond Baroque and Cultural Daily. Currently, he teaches at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, where he serves as the Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. When he is not teaching, writing or with his children (Isaiah, Olivia, and Simone), he is busy DJing with the Halo-Halo Boyz in the greater Los Angeles area.

Updated September 2023

Aaron Caycedo-Kimura is the author of Common Grace (Beacon Press, 2022) and Ubasute (Slapering Hol Press, 2021). His honors include a MacDowell Fellowship, a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry, a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in Literature, and nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets anthologies. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Plume Poetry, Poetry Daily, Shenandoah, Pirene’s Fountain, Salamander, Cave Wall, and elsewhere. Aaron earned his MFA in creative writing from Boston University. 

Updated January 2024

Nina Chan is a Chinese-American family doctor who enjoys writing. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her husband, her dog, and her two children. She writes poetry in her spare time with inspiration from her writing group, the Women Word Warriors.

Updated August 2021

Kazumi Chin is the author of Having a Coke With Godzilla. He works to build loving communities with marginalized people, to put language to the mechanisms of structures and identities, and to create spaces and tools that allow others to do the same. He is interested in scholarship at the intersection of art-making and critical theory, and has a profound love for maps, spreadsheets, algorithms, taxonomies, simulations, and also poetry and the mythical power of true friendship.

Updated October 2017

A’misa Chiu is a Yonsei librarian and zinester who publishes under the label Eyeball Burp Press. She organizes community art events and festivals, teaches zine workshops to youth, and is one of the main organizers of the Portland Zine Symposium. A&rsquop;misa and her spouse Alex have a kid named Mazzy who has a YouTube show, The Mazzy Show.

Updated June 2018

Teresa Mei Chuc was born in Sài Gòn, Việt Nam and fled her Vietnamese homeland with her mother and brother shortly after the American war in Việt Nam, spending three and a half months in a freight boat stranded in the South China Sea before being rescued. Her father, who had served in the Army of the Republic of Việt Nam, remained in a Việt Cộng re-education prison camp for nine years. Teresa is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, Invisible Light (2018), Keeper of the Winds (2014) and Red Thread (2012). Her poetry chapbook, Incidental Takes, was published by Hummingbird Press in 2023. Teresa’s poetry is forthcoming in the Anthology of Southeast Asian Eco-Writing (University of Hawaii Press, 2023). She teaches literature and writing at a public school in Los Angeles.

Updated August 2023

Juan de la Fuente Umetsu (Lima, Peru 1963). Poet, journalist and editor. Recognized in the Municipality of Lima (1981), Manuel González Prada (1985) and El Poeta Joven del Perú (1985) competitions. He has also earned distinction in the 1990 and 2007 versions of the Copé Poetry Prize. Author of the poetry books Declaration of Absence (ASALTOALCIELO, Editores, 1999), Las barcas que se desdede del sol (Tranvías Editores, 2008), La beauty no It is a place (Carpe Diem, Editora, 2010), Bridges to cross the night (Paracaídas Editores, 2016) and Vide Cor Tuum (Perro de Ambiente Editor, 2017). His work appears in various national and international publications, such as Peruvian Poetry of the 20th century by Ricardo González Vigil (2000), Mobile Waters by Paul Guillén (2016), Report of the Third International Poetry Festival of Lima (2016) and Fugitive and eternal (anthology of the IV International Poetry Festival of Madrid 2018). [*Photo courtesy of Juan Carlos Caballero.]

Last updated September 2020

Brian Komei Dempster's second poetry collection, Seize, was published by Four Way Books in fall 2020. His debut book of poems, Topaz (Four Way Books, 2013), received the 15 Bytes 2014 Book Award in Poetry. Dempster is editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America's Concentration Camps (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001), which received a 2007 Nisei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011). He is a professor of rhetoric and language at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as Director of Administration for the Master’s in Asia Pacific Studies program.

Updated January 2021

Misael Diaz is an artist, writer, educator and co-founder of cog•nate collective–a binational arts collective developing interdisciplinary research projects and public interventions that seek to understand how culture mediates social, economic, and political relationships across borders, both physical and symbolic.

Their projects have shown at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Getty Center, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, Craft Contemporary, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Arte Actual FLACSO, Quito, Maison Folie Wazemmes, Lille and Organ Kritischer Kunst, Berlin. They currently work between Tijuana, B.C., Santa Ana, CA and Los Angeles, CA. You can find their work at:

Updated June 2019

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and now living in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles, Wataru Ebihara is a "Sansei" or 3rd-generation Japanese American. Some of his poetry has previously appeared in the Rafu Shimpo, the dISorient Journal, "Keep It Going... Pass It On: Poetry Inspired by the Manzanar Pilgrimage", and a self-publish book called Infinite Loop.

Updated February 2020

Sesshu Foster has taught in East L.A. for 30 years. His work has been published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American PoetryLanguage for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle EastAsia and Beyond, and BAX: Best American Experimental Writing. Winner of two American Book Awards, his most recent books are the chapbook, Praying Mantis (Business Bear Press, 2017) and the hybrid City of the Future (Kaya Press, 2018). He’s collaborating on a novel (forthcoming from City Lights in 2019), The East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines, a History, with artist Arturo Romo. 

Updated November 2018

Nora Fujita-Yuhas is a mixed Yonsei from Seattle, Washington (Duwamish land). She is a rising senior at Occidental College where she is majoring in Politics and minoring in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies. She is interested in the intersections of art, community, and politics. She has found a loving community in California as she has worked to learn more about her Japanese American history and family. The sun and the rain hold equal parts of her heart.

Updated July 2020

Rey Fukuda Salinas (he/they) is Japanese-Paraguayan currently living in Los Angeles (Kizh land). He grew up internationally in places like Japan, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. Fortunate to have discovered writing music and poetry to express emotions as a mixed race transgender queer young person, art kept Rey going during times of being closeted and growing up in an emotionally unstable home. Rey is self taught in guitar and a song writer inspired by many artists including Frank Ocean, Yo-Yo Ma, Nina Simone, and Pablo Neruda. He writes songs and poetry about long distance & chosen family, love, (im)migration, prisons, freedom but also just random realizations.

Updated February 2022

Marina Fukushima is a dancer and choreographer based in San Francisco. Born in Tokyo, Japan, she immigrated to the US in 1992. From a cross-cultural perspective, her creative focus is on the themes of silence, family, and intergenerational relationships. She choreographed the work “Family Seasons” (2016) in collaboration with her parents (both visual artists) and was a resident artist in Beppu for the project “Things Evaporate - dances of sickness and health” (in collaboration with Isak Immanuel, 2018), at Aggregate Space Gallery in Oakland (2017), and at Treasure Hill Artist Village in Taipei (with visual designer Olivia Ting, 2014) for “Room in a Pinhole.”

She has collaborated and performed with numerous companies and choreographers, including Kunst-Stoff, Lenora Lee, ODC, Christine Bonansea, Catharine Galasso, and Tableau Stations, in the US and internationally, in Germany, Greece, Korea, Peru, Taiwan, and Japan. She received a BFA from Butler University and an MFA from the University of Iowa.

Updated June 2019

Donna Ghassemi is a lover of raccoons, donuts, and nostalgia. She is a short story writer that occasionally dabbles with poetry, usually during the late hours of the night. Her work is inspired by daily life, her family history, and weird dreams she has after eating too much food. Donna hopes to one day be good enough to have her books sold at grocery stores.

Updated July 2020

Margaret Ozaki Graves is a cultural consultant, arts administrator, teaching artist and professional performer based in Denver, Colorado. She’s published on topics relating to Japanese culture, diction and music in Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado (JARCC), Nikkei Today, and the NATS Journal of Singing and has taught on topics of Japanese culture, language/diction and diversity/casting across the country. She holds a doctorate in Vocal Performance Studies and Opera with a cognate in Japanese Aesthetics and Music from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Updated March 2020

Chisao Hata is a performing artist, community organizer and global citizen artist. Her work shares the Japanese American story to communities from Hiroshima, Japan to Cuba, and New Mexico to Ontario, Oregon. As an arts educator her perspectives are shared as an Oregon Humanities Conversation Leader and Vanport Mosaic Festival Stories in Movement artist. She originated Gambatte Be Strong, stories of Japanese American displacement and resilience in Portland, Oregon and is a guest artist at the Dance Exchange in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Chisao is on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, American Music Program, and Advisory Board of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. She is a founding member of Portland Taiko, Theatre Diaspora and serves on the Regional Arts and Culture Council Arts Education Committee.

Updated May 2019

Susan Hayase was a part of the grassroots movement for Japanese American redress in San Jose, working in the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) and the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR.)  A performing member of San Jose Taiko from 1980 through 1990, appointed in 1995 to the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Board by President Clinton, serving as its vice-chair, most recently she is a co-founder of San Jose Nikkei Resisters (SJNR), a grassroots multi-generational community organization building support for reparations for slavery as well as for public safety and issues of accountability, and to organize around sustainability for San Jose Japantown.

Updated March 2024

Naomi Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Kibei Nisei gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes, Officer Ellie Rush series, and now the new Leilani Santiago mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she has written a number of nonfiction books on the Japanese American experience and several 12-part serials for Discover Nikkei.

Updated October 2019

Amy Honjiyo was born in East LA, California, transplanted in the suburbs and foothills, and re-rooted in Monterey Park. Her day jobs consisted of “pushing pencils then tapping keyboards.” She homeschooled a kodomo, and learned the best lessons start from the heart. She is now retired and recycled as a bokashi composting garbage collector in Little Tokyo.

Updated September 2019

Seiji Igei is an Okinawan-Japanese American member of Vigilant Love’s 2020 Solidarity Arts Fellowship and an artist with a BFA in Animation. Last year they completed a training program in Kin Town, Okinawa to connect with their familial and cultural roots. He creates comics, illustrations, animations, and promotional materials featuring QTPOC representation and Asian American pop culture. They have been involved with activist groups in Chicago such as i2i, AAAJ, and QTPOC club at DePaul University. Through narrative storytelling and nonlinear artistic exploration, they hope to engage viewers and their imaginations on what the world is and what it can become.

Updated July 2020

Kurt Yokoyama-Ikeda (he/him) is Shin-Nisei educator by profession, poet by passion. Raised in the South Bay of Los Angeles, he lives in Idaho with his beloved wife April. Kurt preserves the legacy of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans as the Director of Interpretation and Education at Minidoka National Historic Site (Jerome, ID).

Updated February 2022

Tani Ikeda is an Emmy winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial films. She was recently selected as one of Sundance’s 2018 intensive screenwriting lab’s fellows and was also named one of Film Independent’s 33 Emerging Filmmakers as a Project: Involve Directors Fellow. Ikeda was an Executive Producer and Director on the Blackpills Documentary TV Series “Resist” with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors about the fight against LA County's 3.5 billion dollar jail plan. Ikeda has directed films in China, Uganda, India, and the United States. Her work has been recognized in The Hollywood Reporter, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan magazine and has screened internationally at festivals around the world including the Sundance Film Festival.

At the age of 21, Tani Ikeda co-founded imMEDIAte Justice, a nonprofit that fosters the talents of young women artists working in virtual reality. She is the current executive director of imMEDIAte Justice and was named one of the “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by the Utne Reader. ImMEDIAte Justice has received national attention on CNN, NBC, and Univision. Ikeda tours the country speaking at universities and national conferences about storytelling as a tool for social justice.

Tani holds a Bachelors Degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Updated January 2019

Isak Immanuel is an interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, and dancer making work within quotidian spaces, theaters, galleries, and for camera. As a platform to engage local and global questions of place, he founded Tableau Stations (2004). Numerous collaborative works, such as “Wind Stations - a curation of missing people", “ANICONIC”, and “pLandscape Carrier” have been researched/presented in San Francisco and internationally. Including, at Headlands Center for the Arts, Attakkalari India Biennial, Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Dance Box Kobe, TPAM (Tokyo/Yokohama Performing Arts Meeting), Seoul Dance Center, Dock 11 Berlin, Fabrica Europa-Italy, and through fellowships from Japan-US Friendship Commission and Hemera Foundation.

Since receiving a BFA in interdisciplinary practices from California College of the Arts (1999), he worked with several movement artists, including: Anna Halprin, Katsura Kan, Yuko Kaseki, Thomas Langhoff (Munich/SF Opera), Koichi and Hiroko Tamano (Harupin Ha), Shinichi Iova-Koga (inkBoat), Marina Fukushima, and Surjit Nongmeikapam. He grew up in Taos, New Mexico and East Los Angeles.

Updated June 2019

Sophia is a 4th-year student finishing up her studies in Musicology and Neuroscience at University of California, Los Angeles. She was born in Torrance, California to Japanese immigrant parents and spent her childhood there before moving to small town Cartersville, Georgia at the age of nine. She values these two homes for allowing her to explore her cultural values and navigate her Shin-Nisei identity. Her interests in the arts and integrative health have led her to pursue her dream of becoming a music therapist. She hopes to become an active member of the healing arts community to contribute to a movement for holistic health.

Updated April 2019

traci ishigo is a creative community organizer and trauma-informed yoga + meditation healing practitioner, informed by the personal, the Japanese American experience, and her work within diverse communities. traci is a co-chair and steering committee member of #VigilantLOVE, a community-based network dedicated to organizing grassroots solidarity and movement to protect the safety and justice of communities impacted by Islamophobia and violence.

Updated June 2017

Fran Ito is a third generation Chinese American from the Island of Oahu. Graduated from McKinley High School. She majored in Business and studied Art in college. She currently makes her home in Los Angeles. She was employed with the Los Angeles County for almost 30 years. After retiring from the County she went to work for a prominent non-profit charitable organization for 23 years as their Office Manager. To make a difference she has volunteered at the Japanese American National Museum, East West Players, Audubon Center at Debs Park, Los Angeles Conservancy, etc.

Fran enjoys edible gardening, hiking, camping, snow skiing, and attending concerts. She loves to travel and has visited many countries. She is now involved in creating short films.

Updated July 2018

Lauren Emiko Ito is a Gosei (fifth generation Japanese American) poet, performer, and community craftswoman from an island outside Seattle. Her writing and community organizing explore the tensions of choice and force within identity, inheritance, and home. Lauren’s work has been featured by The Seattle Times, Japanese American Citizens League, National Japanese American Historical Society, Civil Liberties United Anthology, and in various performance venues, including the Mission Arts Performance Project, Then They Came for Me exhibit, and The Beat Museum. Her most recent published work is featured in San Francisco’s Poet Laureate Kim Shuck’s anthology, The City is Already Speaking. She lives in San Francisco, and can almost always be found by the sea. Follow her work on Instagram @Lauren.Ito 

Updated August 2019

Miya Iwataki’s life experience as an AAPI woman activist, Japanese American warrior for Justice and Reparations; KPFK-FM East Wind Radio host; architect of diversity and cultural competency programs for LA County Health; have Inspired a lifelong respect for cultures, community and commitment to justice and equity.  Her poetry, writings and columns are shaped by an appreciation for the profound effect of words and language on our culture and our times.  She is a member of Nikkei Progressives, NCRR and Nat’l Nikkei Reparations Coalition fighting to win Black Reparations today. As Vice President of Little Tokyo Historical Society, she’s working to preserve the history, legacy and cultural soul of Little Tokyo in the face of gentrification. (Profile photo: Ai Nomura)

Updated July 2023

W. Todd Kaneko is the author of the poetry books This Is How the Bone Sings and The Dead Wrestler Elegies. He is co-author with Amorak Huey of the poetry chapbook Slash / Slash and Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Alaskan Quarterly Review, Massachussets Review, The Normal School, Barrelhouse, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, the American Academy of Poets Poem-A-Day, and elsewhere. A Kundiman Fellow, he lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.  (Photo by Tyler Steimle)

Updated July 2022

Born in Sacramento in 1922, writer and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi spent his early years in Loomis, California. He was incarcerated at Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II where he was defined as a “disloyal” for refusing to answer the loyalty questions. He renounced his U.S. citizenship and later worked with the Tule Lake Defense Committee and Wayne M. Collins to restore his citizenship. Since 1975 he has been speaking publicly of his incarceration experience. His poem “A Meeting at Tule Lake,” written while on a pilgrimage in April 1975, established him as a seminal voice among Nikkei concentration camp survivors.

He earned his BA in Oriental Languages from UCLA in 1952, followed by an MLS from UC Berkeley in 1966. Kashiwagi has worked as editor, translator, interpreter, and English language secretary at Buddhist Churches of America Headquarters; he has also served as reference librarian at San Francisco Public Library with a specialty in literature and languages. His publications include Swimming in the American: A Memoir and Selected Writings, winner of American Book Award, 2005; Shoe Box Plays; Ocean Beach: Poems; and Starting from Loomis and Other Stories. Notable acting credits include the play The Wash, produced at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco, and the films Hito Hata: Raise the Banner (1980, dir. Robert Nakamura), Black Rain (1989, dir. Ridley Scott), Rabbit in the Moon (1999, dir. Emiko Omori), and Infinity and Chashu Ramen (2013, dir. Kerwin Berk).

He passed away in October 2019 at age 96.

Updated December 2019.

(Author photo by Ben Arikawa)


traci kato-kiriyama is a performer, actor, writer, author, educator, and art+community organizer who splits the time and space in her body feeling grounded in gratitude, inspired by audacity, and thoroughly insane—oft times all at once. She’s passionately invested in a number of projects that include Pull Project (PULL: Tales of Obsession); Generations Of War; The (title-ever-evolving) Nikkei Network for Gender and Sexual Positivity; Kizuna; Budokan of LA; and is the Director/Co-Founder of Tuesday Night Project and Co-Curator of its flagship “Tuesday Night Cafe.” She’s working on a second book of writing/poetry attuned to survival, slated for publication next year by Writ Large Press.

Updated August 2013

Kelsey Kawana is the Director of Corporate Strategy for JSL Foods, Inc., a 4th generation family business and the largest Asian noodle manufacturer in the United States. Equal parts entrepreneur and artist, she’s also a former National Collegiate Slam Poetry finalist, published author (The Long Drive Home), and Writer/Exec Producer of The Unreachable Star, premiering December 2022. Kelsey holds BA’s in both Business and East Asian Studies from Brown University, an MBA from UCLA Anderson, and is a licensed Broker-Dealer and John Wooden Global Leadership Fellow. She is a Bando-level master in Japanese odori dance, part-time golfer, and full-time foodie.

Updated September 2022

Kazuko Kikushima is a psychologist and communicator. His greatest references in poetry are Jose Watanabe (Trujillo, Peru) and Gustavo Pereira (Punta de Piedras, Venezuela). In July 2017 he published his first collection of poems TATTOOS . In October of that same year she was invited to participate in the 4th Poetry Caravan Festival in Lima, and in November she was invited to participate in the II International Book Fair Tarma 2017 to present her book Tatuajes and hold a Haiku workshop. In 2019 she was selected to participate in the 2nd Nikkei Art Fair, PERU GAMBARIMASHO where she showed various merchandising created from her poems. He is currently working on the physical publication of his second collection of poems PLAYLIST POÉTICO available on Spotify, a book in collaboration with various Peruvian musicians such as No Recommendable and Leonel Bravo.

Last updated June 2022

Candace Kita is an arts and cultural worker weaving multidisciplinary art practice, social justice organizing, and nonprofit administration. Currently, Candace serves as the Cultural Work Manager at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). She also co-founded grassroots collective Arts Workers for Equity, worked in development, marketing, and programs for the Portland Art Museum and Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, and served as Visual Art Curator for Asian American art and community space Tuesday Night Project.

Candace received her BA in Studio Art from Scripps College. She has called Chicago, Los Angeles, and Portland home. In her spare time, Candace studies astrology, dances, and eats lots of onigiri.

Updated April 2018

Christine Kitano is the author of Birds of Paradise (Lynx House Press) and Sky Country (BOA Editions), which won the Central New York Book Award and was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. She is co-editor of the forthcoming They Rise Like a Wave (Blue Oak Press), an anthology of Asian American women and nonbinary poets. She teaches at Ithaca College and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Find her online at

Updated December 2021

Kahlil Kochiyama, who identifies as 5th generation or Gosei, is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Baraba, where he majored in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Professional Writing. When he’s not at a coffee shop scouring the internet for entry-level jobs in Environmental Justice, you can find him thrifting, enjoying live music, or attempting to build a cornhole set as a summer project. He hopes to further his work in building solidarity across marginalized communities, and intersecting environmentalism and sustainability with his future endeavours. 

Updated July 2019

Rino Kodama (they/them/theirs) recently graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, majoring in art and minoring in Asian American studies. They are a shin-issei artist who co-creates with earth materials, alchemizing internal transformations through clay cocoons and natural dyes. They embrace creative collaboration and are grateful for healing spaces that help nurture radical connections such as Vigilant Love and Seraphim Dream. Currently they are based in their hometown Santa Clara, California, also known as Ohlone land. More of their art can be found here:

Updated February 2021

Jenni “Emiko” Kuida co-authored the original “101 Ways to Tell if You Are Japanese American” with Tony Osumi. She is currently Grants Manager at Koreatown Youth and Community Center and board member of Japanese American Community Services and Venice Youth Council. Her hobbies include gardening, going to obons, and playing Pokemon Go.

Updated August 2017

Maiya Kuida-Osumi is a middle school student. She has been playing basketball with the Venice Sparks since kindergarten. She also enjoys playing softball, taiko, and is part of her middle school improv group. Maiya is a member of The Sistahfriends with her friend Tula and has performed at Tuesday Night Café over a dozen times.  

Updated August 2017

Garrett Kurai writes about the big sleep and the little death. His poems reside in Carrie Chang’s Lotus Magazine, Monolid, Statement Magazine at California State University at Los Angeles, (Sic) Vice & Verse and speak in the Radio Poetique series on the PennSound University of Pennsylvania website and a forthcoming summer episode of the Skylight Books Podcast. A graduate of New York University's Creative Writing Program, he lives and teaches in his hometown of Los Angeles with his Chicana wife and son. Garrett is the Sansei son of the late, taiko musician and Buddhist abbot, Shuichi Kurai who once worked and performed at JANM. When not wording, he collects a wall of sound and occasionally DJs. His music heroes feature the “R” sound–Robert Wyatt and Rahsaan Roland Kirk–which is the sound of revolution.

Updated June 2021

Mari L’Esperance was born in Kobe, Japan to a Japanese mother and a French Canadian-New Englander father and raised in Southern California, Guam, and Japan. Her full-length poetry collection The Darkened Temple was awarded a Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and published by the University of Nebraska Press. An earlier collection Begin Here was awarded a Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press Chapbook Prize. With Tomás Q. Morín, she has co-edited Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine, published by Prairie Lights Books and distributed by the University of Iowa Press. You can find Mari online at

Updated September 2017

Asuka Lin (they/them) is a Japanese-Taiwanese filmmaker/writer and a graduate of CalArts. Born near the sea in Kobe, Japan; raised in the Bay Area, they are a first-generation immigrant currently residing in Los Angeles. Their work spans across various genres, but Asuka’s artistic practice is mainly shaped by their strong interests in magical realism and fantasy, which are heavily informed by stories of diaspora, trauma, and surrealism. Their work aims to create an expansion of deep healing and reflection for its viewers/readers, as well as to carve out lasting spaces of empowerment for marginalized people on and off-screen.

Updated June 2020

Kenji C. Liu (劉謙司) is author of Map of an Onion, national winner of the 2015 Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize. His poetry is in American Poetry Review, Action Yes!, Split This Rock’s poem of the week series, several anthologies, and two chapbooks, You Left Without Your Shoes (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and Craters: A Field Guide (Goodmorning Menagerie, 2017). A Kundiman fellow and an alumnus of VONA/Voices, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and the Community of Writers, he lives and eats east of LA.

Updated March 2017

Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Mothersalt (forthcoming 2025) and Isako Isako, California Book Award finalist and winner of the Nautilus Gold Award, Alice James Award, National Indie Excellence Award, and Maine Literary Award. Her chapbook Notes from the Birth Year won the Bateau Press BOOM Contest, and her work has been recognized internationally with the Hawker Prize for Southeast Asian Poetry and the Singapore Poetry Prize. She is a Kundiman Fellow and founding member of The Ruby SF, a gathering space for women and nonbinary artists. (Profile photo courtesy of Kindred)

Updated June 2023

D Hideo Maruyama obtained his MFA in Creative Writing from Long Beach State.  He was a part of Aisarema, the nonprofit wing of the shuttered Amerasia Bookstore during 90s to early 2000s.  It produced the Asian Pacific American Arts journal called dIS*orient Journalzine, and he was an editor.  He was included in the anthology Voices of Leimert Park Redux, and he is currently working on a body of poetry, prose and essays to be compiled into a multi-genre text in the literary vein of Jean Toomer’s Cane or Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee.  

Updated September 2018

Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka was born and raised in multicultural Boyle Heights. The Vietnam War and Asian American Studies at University of California, Berkeley in the late ’60s were important influences on her values. Since the 1970s, she has worked on youth, workers, and housing issues in Little Tokyo, and Japanese American redress. Currently Co-chair of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR), she served on the Editorial Team for the book, NCRR: The Grassroots Struggle for Japanese American Redress and Reparations, helped to educate about the camps through the film/curriculum, Stand Up for Justice, and worked on the NCRR 9/11 Committee to help build relationships with the American Muslim community through programs like Break the Fast and Bridging Communities. 

She represented NCRR to support the rights of Korean and other minorities in Japan and is involved with Nikkei Progressives, Vigilant Love, and the Sustainable Little Tokyo project, and working on issues such as reparations for Comfort Women and Black folks, the rights of immigrants, and Little Tokyo’s future. 

Married to Mark Masaoka, she has a daughter, Mayumi, and a son, Dan, and grandsons, Yuma, Leo, abd Keanu. 

Updated February 2024

Nikiko Masumoto (she/her) is an organic farmer, memory keeper, and artist. She is Yonsei, a fourth generation Japanese American, and gets to touch the same soil her great-grandparents worked in California where Masumoto Family Farm grows organic nectarines, apricots, peaches and grapes for raisins. With her family, she’s co-authored 2 books: Changing Season: A Father, A Daughter, A Family Farm and The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm. She activates her facilitation, leadership, and creative skills as a performer and leader in the following organizations: co-founder of Yonsei Memory Project, team member of Center for Performance and Civic Practice, member of University Advisory Board (CSU Fresno) board of Trustees of Western States Arts Federation, board of directors of Art of the Rural, and perennial volunteer change-worker. In 2020, she was named one of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 and Creative 10. Her most cherished value is courage and most important practice is listening. (profile photo by FabianAguirre)

Updated October 2022

Lawrence Matsuda was born in the Minidoka, Idaho, concentration camp during World War II. He received a PhD in education from the University of Washington. He published two poetry books: A Cold Wind from Idaho (Black Lawrence Press, 2010) and Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner (CreateSpace, 2014). The latter is a collaboration between Matsuda and artist Roger Shimomura who contributed 17 original sketches. In 2015, he collaborated with artist Matt Sasaki to produce two graphic novels: An American Hero: Shiro Kashino (chapter two was nominated for two Regional Emmys and won one for best editing) and Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers. The next year, he and Tess Gallagher collaborated on Boogie Woogie Crisscross (MadHat Press), a book of poetry developed from e-mails they exchanged over a period of three years. (Image by Alfredo Arreguin)

Updated October 2017

riKu Matsuda is a mixed Nikkei queer trans man born in Garden Grove and raised in the Antelope Valley. In the early 1990s, his grandparents’ nursery was sold to Edison through eminent domain. Today, riKu frequents Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights to gain inspiration and hope from his ancestors. 

Updated March 2018

Gennosuke Matsumoto was born on August 1, 1889 in Fusa, Chiba Prefecture, now part of the town of Abiko. As a young man, he immigrated to Seattle, Washington to work for an import-export store. Some time later, he began a correspondence with the sister of his friend Taisuke Takahashi, a fellow immigrant from Chiba Prefecture. This led to a trip back to Japan to marry Taisuke’s sister, Tomiko. The couple operated a fruit market in Seattle, and after the Depression, a grocery story in downtown Los Angeles. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they, their three children and Tomiko’s mother Iku, were forcibly removed to Santa Anita racetrack, then to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. There, Gennosuke began writing poetry under the pen name Ryokuyo Matsumoto. He was a member of the Araragi poetry society. He passed away in 1977.

Updated October 2018

Tomiko Matsumoto was was born on August 30, 1900 in Nakano, Chiba Prefecture and immigrated to Seattle in the early 1920s. She and her family were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming from 1943 to 1945. There, under the poet Shasui Takayanagi, poetry editor of the Kashu Mainichi (California Daily) newspaper, she began studying tanka poetry. In 1955 one of Tomiko’s poems was selected to be read at the utakai hajime, the Emperor’s annual poetry party. Tomiko joined the Uta to Kansho poetry society in 1958, and in 1960 she and her husband Gennosuke published the tanka anthology Mishigan Kohan (By the Shore of Lake Michigan). Her granddaughter, Nancy Matsumoto, has edited the forthcoming English-language translation of the book. She passed away in 2005.

Updated October 2018

Erik Matsunaga’s investigations into the history of Chicago’s Japanese American community have been featured by the Japanese American National Museum, Alphawood Gallery, WBEZ Radio, and the Newberry Library. Born in Chicago, a descendant of WWII-era Nikkei resettlers from California, he curates @windycitynikkei—“Bite-sized Glimpses of Japanese American Chicago”—on Instagram.

Updated November 2020

Jim H. Matsuoka (1935 - 2022) was a founding member of NCRR ( Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress) who helped build the movement for reparations and an organization that would stay true to its belief in the power of the grassroots and solidarity with others. In 1942, he, along with his sisters and parents, was forcibly removed from Little Tokyo and shipped to Manzanar “prison camp” as he called it. His love for Little Tokyo and his anger at injustice would be driving forces in Jim’s life.

Jim had a fierce commitment to social justice. His honest and forthright approach, his integrity, and his tireless activism was not just impressive, it was almost unparalleled. Always striving to place the interests of the people ahead of anything else, he never sought the limelight. He had a grounded, deep love for humanity.

When redress was won in 1988, Jim continued with NCRR knowing that the fight against injustice was not over. He unwaveringly supported the Muslim community after 9/11, the demand for reparations by the “comfort women” and by African Americans today. He believed in continuing to educate others about the camps and was in demand as the consummate storyteller.

Updated November 2022

Aaysha Memon is an 18 year old Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major at California State University, Long Beach. She has an interest in social work, filmmaking, journalism, and advocacy. Her passion for advocacy comes from her background as a Pakistani Muslim American woman. Her passion grew as she listened to the women in her community and female relatives who fight against gendered violence, assault, and injustices. Memon currently develops her passion through poetry, education, and filmmaking. She hopes to (un)learn more and engage more with community activism and community healing. One of her major goals is to expand women’s health research and healthcare, especially in ethnically marginalized communities.

Updated June 2020

Emily Mitamura is a Yonsei poet and Ph.D. student living in Minnesota. Her work takes up ongoing afterlives of colonial and mass violence, in particular the narrative demands placed on those in its wakes. Her poetry works through continuous bodily, relational, archival hauntings and appears or is forthcoming in PANK, AAWW: The Margins, Nikkei Uncovered, and Clarion Magazine among other places. You can find her at or at Magers & Quinn booksellers’ $1 section.

Updated July 2022

Sean Miura is a Los Angeles-based Yonsei writer and artist. He is the producer/curator of Little Tokyo’s Tuesday Night Cafe, a free Asian American art series. He blogs at and can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @seanmiura.

Updated April 2015

Keiko Ikari Miya’s upbringing both in Kesennuma, Japan and in the US (New York City and Southern California) has made her keenly aware of the differences in societies. She was able to enjoy being a classroom teacher at an elementary school in Maywood, CA for 11 years, then at Roosevelt High School, Boyle Heights as a teacher of Japanese for 17 years. The 23 years in NYC and 35 plus years in SoCal have afforded Keiko experiences working with people of many races and ethnicities, and she finds joy in working with people emphatically. Keiko has been enjoying volunteering at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) since 2017, especially helping the offspring of Issei and Nisei families research their ancestors’ roots, mainly in the U.S. The Hirasaki National Resource Center of the Museum offers this opportunity for research.

Updated August 2021

Nobuko Miyamoto found her song in the whirlwind of change during the 70’s birth of the Asian American movement. Capturing the spirit of that moment was album “A Grain of Sand,” created with Chris Iijima and Charlie Chin. As troubadours their music galvanized young Asians and built bridges between Latino, African and Native Americans. In 1978 she established Great Leap to create musicals, concerts and music videos to tell the Asian American story. Nobuko now produces FandangObon, a festival that engages communities with participatory music and dance from Mexican Fandango, Japanese Obon, West African, and Sufi traditions to deepen relations, share environmental knowledge, and connect with Mother Earth.

Updated January 2020

Christine Miyazato is a queer and gender non-conforming Nikkei/Nisei spoken word poet, activist, and writer born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She was a 2020 Solidarity Arts Fellow with Vigilant Love and has previously written for publications like GLAAD. Most of her work focuses on her queer and Asian American (Okinawan) identity. When she’s not writing, she works as a case manager at Trans Can Work, a non-profit organization committed to creating transformative and inclusive workplace cultures where trans and gender-nonconforming individuals can thrive.

Updated July 2020

Paulette M. Moreno is a civil rights leader, poet, musician, speaker and current Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood. Her ancestry is Japanese, Hispanic, and Alaska Native of the Tlingit Nation. Paulette was born near Mount Edgecumbe, a volcano in Sitka, Alaska. Her grandfather, George Miyasato Sr., and her uncle, George Miyasato Jr., were incarcerated during World War II. She is working with her mother, Harriet Beleal, to find healing from the racism and discrimination her family experienced during the war and in the years that would follow because of their Native and Japanese heritage.

Updated May 2021

Doris Moromisato is a poet, writer, cultural manager, researcher on gender issues and the Japanese presence in Peru. She is the Goodwill Ambassador of Okinawa. Graduated in Law and Political Science from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. He published 4 books of poetry and 3 of chronicles, his stories and essays make up various anthologies, his poems have been translated into several languages. (Photo: Jaidith Soto)

Last updated October 2020

Vicky K. Murakami-Tsuda is the Communications Production Manager at the Japanese American National Museum. She loves working on the Discover Nikkei project, because it gives her the opportunity to learn so many new and interesting stories, and connect with people around the world who share similar interests.

She is a “self-proclaimed” yonsei from Southern California who comes from a large extended family. A long time ago (when she had more free time and energy), she was also an artist who explored Japanese American culture and history through her artwork. When not working, she enjoys eating, cheering on her beloved Dodgers, bowling, reading, playing games on her phone (Wordl anyone?), and binge-watching movies and shows.

Updated May 2022


Heather Nagami is the author of Hostile (Chax Press). A Kundiman fellow, her poems have recently appeared in Hawai‘i Review, The Collagist, Print-Oriented Bastards, and The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. Born and raised in Southern California, Heather is the grandniece of poet Akira Togawa. Heather currently resides in Arizona, where she is completing her second collection of poetry. Visit her at

Updated July 2017

Patty Ito Nagano, is a retired elementary school teacher and moved to Downtown Little Tokyo with her husband Steve in 2011. She loves living in Little Tokyo where she is busy volunteering for many events and organizations in the community. Patty enjoys spending time with friends, family, and especially with daughter Kelsey, Kelsey’s boyfriend Marcus, and their dog Oliver. Traveling with Steve and finding interesting places with delicious food is one of her favorite things to do. She also likes being healthy with exercise, diet, and staying active attending Marches and Rallies.

Updated May 2018

Noriko Nakada is a multi-racial Asian American who creates fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to capture the hidden stories she has been told not to talk about. She advocates for young people, teachers, women and non-binary writers to create a more just and equitable world. She is the author of the Through Eyes Like Mine memoir series. Excerpts, essays, and poetry have been published in Hippocampus, Catapult, Linden Ave, and elsewhere. She serves on the leadership team and as blog manager for Women Who Submit: empowering women and nonbinary writers to submit their work for publication.

Updated June 2021

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee is 17 years old and a senior at Oakland Technical High School. She has written a poem every day for over three years now, and she was the 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. Her first chapbook, A Heart Full of Hallways, is out now with Nomadic Press.

Updated February 2022

Kyoko Nakamaru is an interdisciplinary artist, storyteller, writer, spiritual counselor, and hobby musician who uses her relationship with ancestors and the unseen to weave stories of what was and what will be.

A Yonsei, raised in Wisconsin and Iowa by devoted local and global activists, Kyoko considers herself a part of the internment diaspora, those whose families were permanently displaced from the west coast after WWII. She continues to carry her family’s commitment to environmentalism, social justice, and human rights and seeks to use all the mediums she works in as medicine to help her communities heal. Kyoko is one of the co-founders of Japanese American Womxn Speak, a network of Nikkei feminist artists dedicated to social change.

Updated January 2018

Goh Nakamura is a singer, songwriter, musician, composer and actor. His music has been featured in films directed by Ridley Scott such as A Good Year, American Gangster and Body of Lies. His track "Daylight Savings" also appears in the film Feast of Love. Nakamura made his acting debut in Dave Boyle's award-winning film, Surrogate Valentine, where he played a fictionalized version of himself. The film screened at a number of festivals including the SXSW Film Festival and Nakamura won a Special Jury Prize for Acting from the Dallas International Film Festival for his performance in it. In 2017, Goh was commissioned by the Philadelphia Asian film festival to compose a score for the 1919 silent film “The Dragon Painter” featuring Sessue Hayakawa. Most recently, Goh scored the music for the Bruce Lee Documentary “Be Water” which premiered at the Sundance 2020 Film Festival.

Updated January 2020

Genie Nakano is a poet/writer and dancer with a master’s degree in dance from University of California, Los Angeles. She currently teaches yoga and tanka at Gardena Japanese Cultural Center. She was born in 1948, in East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, CA. She is widely published in international tanka journals and is a poet/columnist for The Rafu Shimpo. She has published four books of poetry: Enter the Stream, StorytellerColorful Lives, and Wings on a Silk Veil. She enjoys traveling the world but likes best to stay home with her family of dogs, cats, husband Hideki, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. For Genie, writing poetry, especially tanka, is like crying, laughing, hating, loving—other moments it’s taking a deep breath and letting it flow. Tanka is her way to unravel and appreciate life. It is her personal story and journey inward.

Updated February 2023

Mari Nakano is a Japanese American designer and writer, obsessive organizer, and creative problem-solver. She currently resides in New York, but has a hands-down deep pride for her home state, California. Right now, she is working on two projects—a cookbook dedicated to her late father and her will. She is the Interaction & Design Lead for UNICEF Innovation, looking at how new technologies might support the world’s most vulnerable children. 

Updated March 2017

Sawako Nakayasu is an artist working with language, performance, and translation – separately and in various combinations. She has lived mostly in the US and Japan, briefly in France and China, and translates from Japanese. Her newest book is Some Girls Walk Into The Country They Are From (Wave Books), and forthcoming books include Pink Waves (Omnidawn), and Settle Her (Solid Objects). Her 2020 pamphlet with Ugly Duckling Presse, called Say Translation Is Art, has been translated into Dutch and will soon be available in Korean. (Profile photo by Mitsuo Okamoto)

Updated January 2022

José Natsuhara is a Nikkei poet from Lima, Peru, director of the poetry and humanities platform Tríada Primate . He is director of the Total Collection of Peruvian Poetry: Map of Peru . Chief Curator at PRIMERA LÍNEA: Curated Catalog of International Poetry . And gallerist at GASB: Sam Bellamy Art Gallery. He hosts the programs Podcast Primate, PIENSAPRIMATE and Al Aboraje!. He has studied Philosophy, has specializations in Electrotechnics and British English, and is currently studying Psychology. He is a professor of aesthetic philosophy at the Isla Tortuga Educational Interzone and director of Filoso: Avant-garde Philosophy Colloquium. He has published: The magazine Monologue (2009), the magazine Primate (2017-current), the fanzine a-ISLA(miento) (2020-current), and the collections of poems Oh! Shotgun-Head God (second edition, 2020) and La Guerrilla Elegante (second edition, 2020). His work has been published in Bolivia in the personal anthology Metaphysical keys that open unsuspected legs (2018).

Last updated August 2022

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

Miyako Noguchi is a fourth generation Japanese American (Yonsei-han) who grew up in both Los Angeles, California and Hutchinson, Kansas. Her jichan was incarcerated at Tule Lake and her bachan was incarcerated at Gila River. She graduated from UC Davis in 2019 with a degree in Plant Sciences and a minor in English, and currently works as a lab assistant in an immunology lab at UCLA, but has always had a strong passion for activism that she gained through learning about her family’s incarceration experience, and passion for art and writing that she gained from her parents.

Updated July 2020

Rick Noguchi’s publications include two collections of poetry, The Ocean Inside Kenji Takezo (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), which won the Associated Writing Programs Award Series, and The Wave He Caught (Pearl Editions, 1995). He also published a children’s book Flowers from Mariko (Lee and Low Books, 2001). He received a Master’s in Fine Arts from Arizona State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He currently works at the Japanese American National Museum as the chief operating officer.

Updated March 2018

Carolee Okamoto is a Sansei who began writing and creating art in 2017, after retiring from teaching health informatics and information management at the University of Washington in 2015. Carolee’s late emergence into writing and art was spurred by a need to tell her parents’ story. Patty and Keith Okamoto were incarcerated by the War Relocation Authority at Jerome, AR, and Poston, AZ, respectively. Carolee grew up in south Texas, where she and her family were the only Nikkei in a town of 10,000. She graduated from the University of Texas and holds an MBA from Houston Baptist University. She later obtained a Residential Design diploma and a Fashion Marketing degree from the Seattle Art Institute. She retired from her healthcare consulting practice this year in 2024, but continues her interior design business. Carolee writes with the Omoide [memories] writer's group, which is a program of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington (JCCCW). 

Updated February 2024

Boshichō Okamura (real name: Toshiyuki Okamura) was born in 1894 in Tottori Prefecture, Japan. He arrived in America in 1916 at age 22 as an agriculture student and immediately started working on farms in California. Soon after he made it to Los Angeles and became enamored with Nihonmachi (Little Tokyo). He lived near Los Angeles County General Hospital and found jobs in Little Tokyo: Pacific Printing Company, Asahi Newspaper, and Toyo Printing Company. Toshiyuki possessed a creative side and was actively involved with haiku poetry, calligraphy, and photography with his many Issei bachelor compatriots. He went by his pen name, Boshichō (眸子鳥). Toshiyuki was involved with the Tottori Prefectural Association, co-founded Agosto-Sha poetry club, and active with the Shakudo-Sha artists club. His poetry was published in local Japanese magazines and newspapers in the 1920s-1930s. He would send letters to his family in Japan telling them about his life in America, but he never again returned to his homeland. He and his wife, Chiharu, are laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, a few miles east of Little Tokyo.

Ken Okuno is a Sansei, born and raised in Pasadena, California. A poet, novelist, and musician, he currently lives in Altadena, CA. He attended University of California, Berkeley where he won the Eisner Prize in poetry in 1970. You can read more of Ken’s works at

Updated December 2017

Tony Osumi is a Hapa Yonsei who lives in Culver City, CA with his family. Currently, he teaches 3rd grade and is active with Nikkei Progressives and Camp Musubi. He loves searching out old school Cantonese restaurants and ordering homyu and almond duck.

Updated August 2017 

Courtney Ozaki is a creative producer based in Denver, Colorado. She is the founder of the Japanese Arts Network (JA-NE), a national network that provides access to resources and develops programs and platforms that support and strengthen visibility for JaJA (Japanese and Japanese-American) Artists in America. A professional taiko musician with over 25 years of experience, she has performed across the globe in the United Arab Emirates at the Dubai Global Village, as well as in other major cities across the United States including the National Taiko Conference Taiko Jam. After receiving her MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College, Courtney worked as a project manager and dance producer for Joyce Theater Productions with whom she developed and toured new works with international choreographers, designers, and dancers. Courtney is passionate about the melding of ideas and the integration and interdependence of arts sectors. She is motivated by the impetus that an inclusive arts culture leads to a more productive and empathetic society.

Updated March 2020

Safira Patel is a working artist born and raised in Los Angeles. She is very interested in historical intersections of queer and Muslim culture. Her practice includes analog photography, found object and sound installation, and performance, while also exploring different art forms in the context of a larger history, such as underground zine and bookmaking, indigenious tattooing, and knitting. She cares deeply about supporting programming for communities that comes from a place of genuine need, care, and interest around the community.

Updated June 2020

Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks is Program Coordinator of Asian Pacific American Studies and Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University whose research addresses ethnic and multiracial community and identity. He also serves on the US Japan Council Board of Directors, US Japan Bridging Foundation Board of Directors, Japan America Society of Southern California, Board of Governors and is a member of both the West Los Angeles Japanese American United Methodist Church and Senshin Temple Adult Buddhist Association (S.A.B.A).

Updated April 2024

Mariko Fujimoto Rooks is a rising senior at Yale, where she double-majors in the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health and Ethnicity, Race and Migration and is additionally enrolled in the combined BA/MPH program at the Yale School of Public Health. At Yale, she writes for JookSongs, Yale's Asian American spoken word group, and is a two-time All-American nominated water polo player. Mariko is also a member of the national USA Water Polo Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and will serve as the next JACL Eastern District Council Youth Representative. She is also the Arts and Intersectionality Lead for Changing Womxn Collective, a literary journal and arts platform designed for and by womxn and non-binary BIPOC women and femmes. Raised in Culver City, California, Mariko is also a longtime member of Japanese American community institutions such as Kizuna, Senshin Buddhist Temple, and LABCC's Camp Morningstar.

Updated August 2020

Lee Ann Roripaugh’s fifth volume of poetry, tsunami vs. the fukushima 50 (Milkweed Editions, 2019), was named a “Best Book of 2019” by the New York Public Library, selected as a poetry Finalist in the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards, cited as a Society of Midland Authors 2020 Honoree in Poetry, and was named one of the “50 Must-Read Poetry Collections in 2019” by Book Riot. She is the author of four other volumes of poetry: Dandarians, On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year, Year of the Snake, and Beyond Heart Mountain. Winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in Poetry/Prose for 2004, and a 1998 winner of the National Poetry Series, she was the South Dakota State Poet Laureate from 2015-2019. Roripaugh is a Professor of English at the University of South Dakota, where she serves as Director of Creative Writing and Editor-in-Chief of South Dakota Review.

Updated April 2022

Brynn Saito’s third book of poetry, Under a Future Sky, will be published in September 2023 by Red Hen Press. She is the recipient of the Benjamin Saltman Award and her poems have appeared in the New York Times and American Poetry Review. Brynn lives in Fresno, CA, where she is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Fresno, located on Yokuts and Mono lands, and co-director of Yonsei Memory Project.

Updated December 2022

Pogo Saito, a Sansei, recently re-transplanted to Nyssa, Oregon, home to a large population of Nikkei who settled there after the war due to one lone person who hired Japanese after the war. It is a place ripe with stories.  Pogo is a performer, writer and visual artist who spent 18 years as a touring storyteller with the Los Angeles based We Tell Stories and is an Associate Artist with Theater Movement Bazaar. Ms. Saito was honored by The Pacificus Foundation for her plays and poems and was most recently published in The Coiled Serpent anthology of Los Angeles Poets.

Updated January 2018

Shizue Seigel is a Sansei writer and visual artist based in San Francisco. Her family was displaced by incarceration from Pismo Beach and Stockton, California, and she grew up an Army brat in segregated Baltimore, Occupied Japan, California skid rows and sharecropping camps. She is a Jefferson Award winner, three-time San Francisco Arts Commission Artist Grant recipient, and a VONA/Voices fellow. Her seven books include In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans during the Internment, My First Hundred Years: The Memoirs of Nellie Nakamura, and four anthologies of Bay Area writers and artists of color. Her prose and poetry have been published in We’ve Been Too Patient, All the Women in My Family Sing, Your Golden Sun Still Shines, InvAsian, Cheers to Muses, Empty Shoes, Away Journal, Eleven Eleven, Persimmon Tree, Lunchbox Moments, and elsewhere.

Updated May 2022

Sunny Seki (a.k.a. Sankyaku Seki) is a teacher of senryu. He has published two compiled works: Gardeners’ Pioneer Story, an account of the 100-year history of Japanese gardeners through their senryu poems, and Hokubei Senryu Michi Shirube, which traces the milestones of Japanese Americans in North America, again via their senryu poetry. Sunny is also the author/illustrator of four award-winning Japanese children’s folktales: The Last Kappa of Old Japan, The Tale of the Lucky Cat, Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll, and The Little Kokeshi Doll from Fukushima.

Born in Tokyo in 1947, he earned a BA in photography, and studied illustration at Pasadena Art Center. For the next 30 years he and his wife Judy operated Sunny Seki Photography. Today he presents his books at schools and community events. Sunny was featured on The Disney Channel.

Sunny and Judy live in San Gabriel, and they have nine children.

Updated July 2018

Daisuke Shen is a Sansei writer currently based in Wilmington, North Carolina, although they were raised in both Greenville, South Carolina and Toyohira, Hiroshima. They are a MFA candidate in creative non-fiction and gratuate teaching assistant at University of North Carolina, Wilmington. They are currently working on their thesis, which deals primarily with generational trauma and the US bombing of Hiroshima. They are the co-founder of the non-profit organization Athenian Press & Workshops, which caters to women and femme writers (especially queer writers of color) in the Southeastern US.

Updated December 2017

Brandon Shimoda is a yonsei poet/writer, and the author most recently of The Grave on the Wall (City Lights, 2019), which received the PEN Open Book Award. He has two books forthcoming: Hydra Medusa (poetry and prose, forthcoming from Nightboat Books) and a book on the afterlife of Japanese American incarceration, which received a Creative Nonfiction grant from the Whiting Foundation. He is also the curator of the Hiroshima Library, an itinerant reading room/collection of books on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was on display at the Japanese American National Museum from 2019-2021, and is currently on display at Counterpath, in Denver, CO.

Updated November 2021

Sydney Shiroyama (she/her) is a multiracial yonsei Jodo Shinshu Buddhist practitioner. She works as a pediatric occupational therapist with hopes to eventually transition to Buddhist ministry with the Buddhist Churches of America. Inspired by her early experiences playing taiko at the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple with Rev. Hiroshi Abiko, Sydney strives to create more inclusive taiko experiences while also honoring the roots of Japanese American Buddhism. She is honored to create art with Bonbu Stories and is excited to share future collaborative projects!

Updated April 2023

Miko Shudo is a Yonsei musician, born and raised in Thousand Oaks, CA. Miko found her love for music when her mom placed her in front of the TV at the age of 3 to watch a performance of the Three Tenors accompanied by a symphony orchestra. She is passionate about community, mental health, mindfulness, and has recently taken a love for songwriting and social dancing. Miko has performed for various Japanese American organizations and events, such as JACL San Diego, Grateful Crane Ensemble, Azuma Kotobuki Kai, JANM, Buddhist Churches of America, Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Tanabata Festival.

Updated May 2023

Mike Sonksen a.k.a. Mike the Poet is a third-generation Angeleno. Poet, professor, journalist, historian, and tour-guide. Sonksen teaches at Woodbury University and serves as the Program Coordinator of the school’s First Year Experience Program. His most recent book Letters To My City was published by Writ Large Projects. He’s published over 500 essays & poems in publications like Academy of American Poets, Alta, KCET, Poets & Writers Magazine, PBS, BOOM, Wax Poetics, Los Angeles Review of Books, LA Taco, LAist, LA Parent, and more. He's been a guest speaker at over 100 universities and high schools and presented his poetry on KCRW, KPFK, KPCC, and TV stations like Spectrum News. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center honored him for “Distinguished Service to the Los Angeles Poetry Community.”

Updated August 2023

Kou Sugita was born in Japan and relocated to Oregon as a baby. He currently lives in Portland with his partner and two cats. His poetry has appeared in The Volta, Oversound, TYPO, and elsewhere. A semi-retired poet, his outlet is music and selling vintage clothing these days.

Updated March 2022

Lynn Taisei is a Sansei community member who was born and raised in Los Angeles. She taught with Los Angeles Unified School District for 38 years.

Updated October 2023

Patricia Takayama is a writer of fiction. Her first short story collection is titled, The Winter of Melancholy. Her second collection, The Currents of War, is due out later 2023. Both are works of historical fiction based on the lives of real people.

Patricia was raised in California. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. She lived in Tokyo for three years where she taught English at a business college while she studied the Japanese language. After law school she received a fellowship to continue her language studies at the Inter-University Center in Tokyo.

Updated March 2023

Kyoko Takenaka (Jinjabrew) is a Shin Nikkei queer multi-media artist, singer-songwriter, filmmaker, and actress based in Los Angeles; recently their interest lies in combining all of these mediums. Their name Kyoko (響子) means “vibrations of sound child” in Japanese. Heavily influenced by artist-activists such as Fred Ho and Nina Simone, Kyoko believes in artistic expression as a conduit for personal and collective liberation. Their work centers on the hyphenated identity. Kyoko's work has been featured on the Bruce Lee podcast, performed at JANM, exhibited at Autograph ABP gallery in London (Chop Sueyism, 2016); and they premiered their first multi-media performance art show, ROOTED LOVE at Human Resources in Los Angeles. Their self-directed music video, Prince, was recognized by the Voiceless International Film Festival.

Updated May 2018

As a writer, Shō Tanaka's creative practice is grounded in a diasporic shimanchu (islander) consciousness. He is committed to cultivating space to tell difficult and complicated stories in hopes of dismantling the separation and stagnation that inform the world he was born into. His grandmother’s family(⼭城)immigrated to the Los Angeles area from Taminato, a village in the Yanbaru rainforest in northern Okinawa. His grandfather’s family(⽥中)emigrated from Buzen Shoe, Fukuoka to Lingít Aaní settling in Juneau, Alaska. Currently Shō resides on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territory (Victoria, British Columbia).

Updated May 2021

Colleen “Coke” Tani is a Sansei writer, dancer, art-life facilitator, and spiritual seeker. She was born and raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles and is grateful for her roots, family and homies! Once a clinical social worker, Coke wrote and toured a one-woman show, “Soft Tissue,” while providing choreographic and directorial support to solo artists such as Julia Jackson, Zahra Noorbakhsh, and Lisa Marie Rollins. Her work has appeared in ONTHEBUS, Spillway, Rattle and Under Her Skin. She is currently working on her first book-length project, a body memoir.

Updated August 2018

Kendall Tani is an artist and poet currently based in their hometown of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Currently, much of their creative energy and focus is invested into the multidisciplinary Asian American arts collaborative Bonbu Stories, which combines music, spoken word, taiko, and movement to explore vulnerability and connection.

When not making art or working at their family’s Japanese restaurant, they can be found hiking, weightlifting, and, honestly, just being alive. You can find more of their work at or on Instagram @_sowasowa and @bonbustories.

Updated March 2023

Micah Tasaka is a non-binary, queer, mixed Japanese poet from the Inland Empire, California, currently teaching English in Fukui Prefecture, Japan, as a member of the JET Program. They received their undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. Micah’s first full-length manuscript, Expansions, was released on Jamii Press in 2017.

Updated May 2020

Yukino Torrey is a Junior at UCLA, and is a Asian American Studies major with a minor in Public Affairs. She is really interested in teaching empathy through education for young children, specifically ethnic studies in public education. She enjoys learning and continuing to find spaces where she can engage with people of different backgrounds! She wants to support and create spaces where people can come together and learn more about others’ experiences and shift their perspectives. She wants to use education to create empathy grounded in community and a embrace of what makes a person unique and different.

Updated June 2020

Elise Umetsu grew up reading and writing in Camarillo, CA with her independent-minded sister, generous mother, and patient father. She recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in International Development Studies and English. At UCLA, Elise was fortunate to join families of Taiko drumming, theater, and, of course, Vigilant Love. She will be relocating to Japan in the fall, where she will work as a teaching assistant in English-learning classrooms.

Elise aspires to teach high school English, build community wherever she can, and have cats. Her Tinder describes her fairly well: “Queer almost-adult with an appreciation for wit and thoughtful questions. Enjoys bookstores, cool trees, and giving inordinate amounts of attention to wandering bugs. Nothing serious.”

Updated June 2020

Amy Uyematsu was a sansei poet and teacher from Los Angeles. She had six published collections, including her most recent, That Blue Trickster Time. Her first poetry collection, 30 Miles from J-Town, won the 1992 Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Active in Asian American Studies when it first emerged in the late 60s, she was co-editor of the widely-used UCLA anthology, Roots: An Asian American Reader. Her essay, “The Emergence of Yellow Power in America” (1969), has appeared in numerous publications.

Amy was a poetry editor of Greenmakers: Japanese American Gardeners in Southern California (2000). In 2012 Amy was recognized by the Friends of the Little Tokyo Branch Library for her writing contributions to the Japanese American community. Amy taught high school math for LA Unified Schools for 32 years. She has also taught creative writing classes for the Little Tokyo Service Center. She passed away in June 2023.

Updated December 2023

Nancy Uyemura was born and raised in Los Angeles, a Sansei, with degrees from both UCLA and USC, as well as studying in Japan and at Otis Art Institute with Kanemitsu and later at the American Feng Shui Institute. Nancy has taught different levels and was Visual Communications Director for Mrs. Gooch’s Markets (later becoming Whole Foods), as well as showing her art work locally and in Japan and Korea, and directed Gallery IV in the Arts District. She has done several public art projects, including the LTSC entry to Casa Heiwa and paintings in the Little Tokyo Library. Uyemura has always written in many genres but is drawn to poetry. Her spiritual voice is seen and heard in both her visual work and written word.

Updated September 2019

Yukiya Jerry Waki works as an advocate for re-envisioning nutrition programs in schools. He moonlights as a spoken word artist, writer, and the creator and host of The Buffet Show, a podcast showcasing artists, community organizers, and educators, and highlights their sacrifice and process in their work. Born in Coalinga, California and raised in Santa Maria, Mr. Waki's experience as a shin-Nisei offers a different perspective of American life post incarceration, and post redress and reparations. He currently resides in San Francisco with his wife Johanna, and son Sebastian.

Updated October 2020

Writer/designer, Pam Ward just released her poetry book Between Good Men & No Man At All (World Stage Press). She’s published two novels, Want Some Get Some and Bad Girls Burn Slow (Kensington). A UCLA graduate, recipient of a California Arts Council Fellow, a Pushcart Poetry Nominee, Pam has published in Chiron, Calyx, Voices of Leimert Park and the LA Times. She's currently working on a novel about her aunt’s dalliance in the Black Dahlia Murder, an event that shocked the nation and happened in Pam’s own neighborhood. Her website:

Updated November 2023

Born in Shizuoka, Japan, at the foot of Mount Fuji, Toshi Washizu never climbed his native country’s highest peak. Instead, in his youth, he crossed the ocean to America. He became a filmmaker and for decades produced award-winning documentary films. His movies include Bone, Flesh, Skin; Mr. Oh: a Korean Calligrapher, and Issei: The First Generation.

“As a filmmaker, I looked at the world through the camera. Perhaps poetry is another way of looking at our world and trying to make sense of it,” says Washizu.

Washizu’s poems and essays have appeared in the poetry anthologies The Chalk Circle; Sunrise from Blue Thunder; Family Matters; In Other Words; Forum; Poets 11; San Francisco Peace and Hope; Noe Valley Voice; and The Walrus.

Updated February 2017

Yoshika Wason is a teacher, poet, and storyteller. She is a mixed race Japanese American Nisei who has called Connecticut, Massachusetts, and now Aomori, Japan home. She holds a BA in English and secondary education from Boston College, where she was editor-in-chief of ASIAM, an Asian Pacific Islander American literary magazine. As a JET Programme participant, she is currently co-president of the Asian Pacific Islander Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (API AJET). Read her chapbook “Extra Bold” and other work here.

Updated March 2019

Terry Watada is a Toronto writer with many publications to his credit including two novels, The Three Pleasures (Anvil Press, Vancouver, 2017) and Kuroshio: the Blood of Foxes (Arsenal Press, Vancouver, 2007), four poetry collections, two manga, two histories about the Japanese Canadian Buddhist church, and two children’s biographies. He looks forward to seeing his third novel, The Mysterious Dreams of the Dead (Anvil Press), and fifth poetry collection, The Four Sufferings (Mawenzi House Publishers, Toronto), released in 2020. He also maintains a monthly column in the Vancouver Bulletin Magazine.

Updated May 2019

The late José Watanabe (1946-2007) is one of Peru’s most beloved contemporary poets. Along with his numerous articles, children’s books and screenplays, the author's publications feature seven original volumes of poetry. Watanabe is also a main contributor to La memoria del ojo: cien años de presencia japonesa en el Perú (Memory of the Eye: A Hundred Years of Japanese Presence in Peru, 1999), a riveting “photographic history” that narrates scenes of everyday life, loss, and northward “relocation” of approximately 1800 Japanese Peruvians to U.S. detention camps during World War II. The poem “Mama Turns 75” is excerpted from the maestro's third book of poems, Historia natural (Natural History, 1994). 

Updated November 2018

Mya Worrell (they/them) is an eclectic, self-taught artist and poet. Originally from Folsom, they’re now a rising senior at USC studying Gender Studies and American Studies & Ethnicity. They’re always down for a conversation about zines, indie comics, shoujo nostalgia, transformative justice, and decolonial science.

Updated July 2019

Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1927, Suma (Kato) Yagi was 15 years old when she and her family were forced to leave Seattle due to Executive Order 9066. Her family was sent to the Puyallup Assembly Center, then to the Minidoka concentration camp. Her family returned to Seattle at the end of World War II and she completed her senior year of high school. She married Takeo Yagi, who she met in the camp and they raised four children. Although being sent to Minidoka had a profound impact on her, she shared little of her experience with her children until well after she retired. She took a poetry writing course through the University of Washington Distance Learning program. That course and subsequent courses at the University of Washington and the Richard Hugo House opened up the world of poetry to her. Through poetry, Suma found a hidden voice that allowed her to share her previously suppressed emotions of being uprooted from her home and being put behind barbed wire. She was compelled to share her experiences so that what happened to her does not happen again.

A compilation of her poetry titled, A Japanese Name: An American Story, was published in 2016.

Updated February 2017


Mitsuye Yamada was born in Kyushu, Japan in 1923. She grew up in Seattle, Washington. In 1942, when Mitsuye was 17, her family was among 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to concentration camps for the duration of the war. She received her BA from the New York University, and her MA from University of Chicago, and an honorary doctorate from Simmons College.

Camp Notes and Other Writings, a combined edition of her first two books, was most recently published by Rutgers University Press in 1998. She is the founder and coordinator of MultiCultural Women Writers. Mitsuye, at age 95, will release her latest work, Full Circle, New and Selected Poems, in June, 2019.

Updated February 2019

Joy Yamaguchi (she/they) is the Public Programs Coordinator at JANM. Joy is also a queer, mixed race, yonsei community organizer with Nikkei Progressives in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles and a coordinator for Summer Activist Training. She is a descendant of survivors of the Santa Anita Assembly Center and Rohwer, Jerome, and Gila River concentration camps. Joy’s activism and work is grounded in this family history and they are committed to carrying on a legacy of building resilient communities through transformative justice and abolitionist practices. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Ethnic Studies with a focus on public humanities and representations of WWII Nikkei incarceration.

Updated May 2020

Susan Yamamura was born in Seattle, WA in 1940. She and her family were sent to Camp Harmony, WA and Camp Minidoka, ID. She graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1962. She first worked as a computer programmer at Space Technology Labs in Redondo Beach, CA and later at the Boeing Co in Seattle. Susan retired from managing a computer and graphics lab in the Chemistry Department at the University of Arizona in 1997.

She had a son with Hank Yamamura; Hank passed away in 2008. She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Updated April 2020

Christie Yamasaki is a fourth-generation Japanese American (Yonsei) from Irvine, California who is currently wrapping up her first year in the Asian American Studies M.A. program at UCLA. She became fascinated with the study of history and empire after learning more about her own grandfather’s experiences being incarcerated at Gila River, later being drafted into the U.S. Army, and finally serving overseas in Occupied Japan. She is very interested in food and food studies and hopes to find a way to incorporate this topic into her thesis project. In the future, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in history, but in the present, she is trying to create space for herself outside of academia to connect with community and make time for creating more art.

Updated June 2020

G YAMAZAWA is a National Poetry Slam Champion and recording artist born and raised in Durham, NC. His debut album “Shouts to Durham” independently reached #34 on iTunes Top 100 Rap Albums, and his single “North Cack” peaked at #3 on Spotify’s Viral 50 Chart powered by Billboard.

Updated August 2020

Janice Iwanaga Yen is a retired retailer and long-time community volunteer. She is a founding member of NCRR (National Coalition for Redress/Reparations) and continues to be active in Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, the successor organization to NCRR. Janice is the Recording Secretary of NCRR and is a member of the Education and Archive committees. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband John.

Updated December 2018

Stan Yogi is co-author of the award-winning books Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (with Laura Atkins), and Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants Strikers and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California (with Elaine Elinson). He is the co-editor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. His essays have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and academic journals and anthologies.

Updated October 2019

Ryan Masaaki Yokota is a Yonsei/Shin-Nisei Nikkei of Japanese and Okinawan. Currently he works as the Development and Legacy Center Director at the Japanese American Service Committee in Chicago, IL, and also teaches as an adjunct instructor at DePaul University. He received his Ph.D. in East Asian-Japanese History at the University of Chicago, and his M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA. He is directly descended of a great-grandfather who was incarcerated in the Japanese American Concentration Camp at Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II. Additionally, his grandparents and father survived the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.

His academic publications include a recently published book chapter on Okinawan autonomy movements, an article on Okinawan indigenousness, a book chapter on Okinawan Peruvians in Los Angeles, an article on Japanese and Okinawans in Cuba, and an interview with Asian American Movement activist Pat Sumi. He is a founder of the Nikkei Chicago website, which highlights untold stories of the Japanese American community in Chicago.

Updated February 2018


Jenna Yokoyama is a Yonsei/Shin Nisei, radio/podcast producer, and creative living in Portland, OR. She is a co-host for the radio show Pacific Underground and an annual singer at her local obon festival. When not hunched over a computer doing audio editing, she can be found hiking and backpacking in the local Cascade mountains. 

Updated August 2018

Hiromi Yoshida, one of Bloomington’s finest and most outspoken poets, is a finalist for the 2019 New Women’s Voices Poetry Prize for Icarus Burning (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and a semifinalist for the 2020 Gerald Cable Book Award for Green Roses Bloom for Icarus. She is the diversity consultant for the Writers Guild at Bloomington, and the poetry workshop leader for the award-winning VITAL program at the Monroe County Public Library. She also serves as a poetry reader for Flying Island and Plath Profiles, and as a copy editor for Gidra. Her poems have been nominated for inclusion in the Sundress Best of the Net anthology, and have been added to the INverse Poetry Archive. She enjoys picking up new Japanese idioms by checking out YouTubes of J-popstar interviews and variety TV shows.

Updated July 2021

Ken Yoshikawa is a Shin-Issei/first generation half-Japanese American poet-actor from Portland, OR and graduated from Reed College with a B.A in Theatre Arts. An active poet in the Portland Poetry Slam community since 2014, he recently released his first album of spoken-word, Quiver, which focuses on the subjects of abuse, yellow-face, and healing.

In his theatrical career he has worked at the Portland Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Oregon Adventure Theatre, and the Northwest Children’s Theatre. Presently he is working on Gambatte: An American Legacy with dance-artist Chisao Hata. In addition, this summer, he is taking his solo theatre piece, The Art of Flyswatting to Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s NuWorks 2019 festival in NYC. 

Updated May 2019

Evelyn Yoshimura is the Community Organizing Director at the Little Tokyo Service Center, where she has worked since its beginning in 1980. She also worked at The Rafu Shimpo, Tokyo Kaikan Restaurant, and Amerasia Bookstore. She is married to Bruce Iwasaki and has a daughter, Naomi and son-in-law Casey, who just had a son, Genzo Eiseman.

Updated November 2013