Stuff contributed by karenkawa7

Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30

Karen Tengan Okuda: Exploring and Expressing Her Uchinānchu / Okinawan Identity

Karen Kawaguchi

As a second-generation Uchinānchu (Okinawan immigrant), Karen Tengan Okuda lives and works on the unceded lands of the Eora and Dharug peoples (Sydney, Australia). Okuda works as a Social Media Community Specialist for Special Broadcasting Service Australia. 

Mitch Homma: Preserving and Sharing Family History

Karen Kawaguchi

Mitch Homma, a 3rd generation Japanese American, grew up and still lives in Southern California. He has long been interested in Japanese and Japanese American history. His family’s association with the American Baptist organization began four generations ago when his great-grandfather, Rev. Masahiko Wada, graduated from Yokohama Baptist Seminary and …

Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30

Documentary Photographer and Journalist Kayla Isomura Explores Nikkei Culture and Identity

Karen Kawaguchi

Kayla Isomura may be best known for their work on The Suitcase Project (2018), a multimedia exhibition which explored themes of home, sudden dislocation, and discrimination experienced by fourth- and fifth-generation Japanese Canadians and Americans. As a fourth-generation Japanese and Chinese Canadian storyteller, artist, documentary photographer, and journalist, Isomura (them/they) has …

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About

Karen Kawaguchi is a writer based in New York City. She was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Nisei father from Seattle. Her dad served in the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Service while his family was incarcerated at Minidoka. Karen and her family moved to the U.S. in the late 1950’s, living mostly in the Chicago area. In 1967, they moved to Okinawa where she went to Kubasaki High School. After attending Wesleyan University (CT), she lived in Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Seattle. She recently retired as an editor in educational publishing, having worked for Heinemann, Pearson, and other leading publishers.

Karen began contributing articles to the Discover Nikkei website earlier this year, including pieces for Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30 and an article about the importance of preserving and sharing family history. She volunteers for Literacy Partners (adult ESL) and enjoys going to Japan Society, art museums, and botanical gardens. She feels fortunate to be able to draw deeply from the three cultures in her life: Japanese, American, and Japanese-American.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • film, TV, music, literature

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