Stuff contributed by TKA

Happy Holidays in the Imperial Valley

Tim Asamen

Ask any Nisei from the south end of the Imperial Valley about their childhood Christmas experiences, and their fond reminiscences inevitably take them back to the Kokubuns’ church. Reverend Jingoro Kokubun was the pastor of two non-denominational Christian churches. In 1920, he founded both the Calexico Independent Church and Union …

Nikkei and the Way of the Warrior: Samurai Heritage from Issei to Yonsei

Tim Asamen

During my college days I once wrote an essay on the three ideals that I thought best epitomized the samurai: giri (duty), on (obligation), and chū (loyalty). It is no coincidence that a few years later as the coordinator of a Japanese American exhibition in the Imperial Valley Pioneers Museum, I …

Samurai Armor in the Imperial Valley Pioneers Museum

Tim Asamen

Were there samurai in the Imperial Valley? The answer is yes, but that’s not why a suit of samurai armor is on display in the Imperial Valley Pioneers Museum. For those of you who have not been to the Pioneers Museum in Imperial, California, it is one of the few multi-ethnic …

FBI Searches and Arrests: Imperial Valley, 1941–1942

Tim Asamen

Thirteen-year-old Tatsuo Asamen did not yet have a driver’s license but he nonetheless drove an old farm truck each evening to the corner of a field located about two miles west of his home. Waiting for him amongst a clump of tall arrowweed brush was his father, Zentaro Asamen. The …

Nikkei Chronicles #5—Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture

Grasping Grandma’s Japanese Accent—My First Step in Discovering Nikkei-go

Tim Asamen

I live on a farm in the Imperial Valley, which is located in the southeastern corner of California. My Issei grandparents established our farm before the Second World War when thousands of Japanese immigrants converted barren desert into fertile farmland. When I was growing up, my grandmother lived on the …

Masashi Shimotsusa (1885–1959): The Samurai Photographer of San Diego

Tim Asamen

A note on names: The names of the Issei photographers, including Shimotsusa even though he returned to Japan, are presented in Western order, that is, personal name followed by surname. For the names of Japanese nationals in Japan, I have maintained the Japanese custom of surnames preceding personal names.

George – The Iconic Name of the Second Generation

Tim Asamen

Nisei Greatness on the Imperial Valley Gridiron

Tim Asamen

Japanese Section Beautification Project at Brawley Cemetery

Tim Asamen

Shake & Bake—that is how we characterize the Imperial Valley. The temperature was almost 110 degrees on the afternoon of August 26, 2012, when a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck. It was centered just a mile or two north of Brawley. Riverview Cemetery is on the northern edge of town and …

The Ledger – An Account of Serendipity and Otagaisama

Tim Asamen

In early February 2014, just as The Rafu Shimpo was beginning to mark the third anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan and extol the continued relief efforts of the Nikkei community in the United States, Randy Sakamoto, the historian of the West Los Angeles …

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I am a sansei with an unusual surname from the Imperial Valley in the southeastern corner of California. I have always been a history buff so I became the coordinator of a permanent Japanese American exhibition in the Imperial Valley Pioneers Museum. Consequently,the Nikkei history of the Imperial Valley is my area of focus. My grandparents emigrated from Kagoshima Prefecture so I am also interested in the history of Kagoshima and the experiences of Kagoshima immigrants around the world, but particularly in the United States.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • kenjinkai

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