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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Negotiating Place

Sophia InabaRino Kodamatraci kato-kiriyama

Here we have a first for the Nikkei Uncovered poetry column - a collaborative piece between two wondrous young Nikkei, both University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) students and “Shin-Nisei,” 1.5 generation artists. They write this from the place of anticipating their Pilgrimage together to Manzanar this month, alongside their …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Roots and Branches

Yoshika WasonMicah Tasakatraci kato-kiriyama

Happy spring everyone! This month, we’re excited to feature two poets who both happen to be based in Japan. Micah Tasaka, a queer, genderfluid, mixed race Yonsei artist originally from the Inland Empire now based in Fukui prefecture; and Yoshika Wason, a second generation, mixed race artist who hails from …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Circles, Cycles, Commemoration

Mitsuye Yamadatraci kato-kiriyama

This month, as we commemorate EO 9066, we thought it fitting to honor one of our longest standing and veteran poets, Mitsuye Yamada. At 95 years of age, she has been published for several decades and is still going. Here, she shares with us some previous work as well as …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Japanese American Women Speak

Tani IkedaKyoko Nakamarutraci kato-kiriyama

For this month’s column, opening us into a whole new year, I’m so happy to feature healer and artist kyoko nakamaru and filmmaker Tani Ikeda, who together are co-founders of JAWS — Japanese American Women Speak. They are both based in Los Angeles, California (Kyoko via Wisconsin and Iowa, and …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


Janice Iwanaga YenPatricia Takayamatraci kato-kiriyama

As a younger Sansei/older Yonsei, I've been reflecting a lot on the big sisters and cousins of the Sansei generation who have raised or influenced many of us in our activism, community involvement, and understanding of ourselves as connected to others. This month, we feature pieces of generational and personal …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


José WatanabeSesshu Fostertraci kato-kiriyama

This month, we are greatly honored to present a poem by renowned and beloved Peruvian poet, the late José Watanabe. In turn, his poetry here honors the 75th birthday of his mama and the indelible impact of mothers. The wonderful translation for the poem is provided by Michelle Har Kim. …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


Tomiko MatsumotoGennosuke Matsumototraci kato-kiriyama

This month, we feature poetry in Nihongo (with English translation) from Tomiko Matsumoto and Gennosuke Matsumoto, who were both originally from Chiba and eventually married there, before living in Seattle and later imprisoned in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming concentration camp during World War II. Their poetry here comes through that …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Little Tokyo

D Hideo MaruyamaMike Sonksentraci kato-kiriyama

We have a focus on Little Tokyo as inspiration and a special triple threat treat for this month’s edition of Nikkei Uncovered. First, we have a piece from D Hideo Maruyama, based in LA and a veteran of the Asian American literary scene. Next is poetry from third generation LA native, …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


Colleen “Coke” TaniJenna Yokoyamatraci kato-kiriyama

Fire. No, not in reference to the countless acres of land and livelihood burning across California this summer. But perhaps subconsciously inspired by the precarious path nature takes us on, I was drawn to this theme and to featuring these pieces meant for the mature reader of this month’s column. …

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Short Form - Haiku and Senryu

Fran ItoSunny Sekitraci kato-kiriyama

This month I thought we’d have a little fun with short form and featuring two creative community members who are dear to the Japanese American and Little Tokyo communities. Sunny Seki (a.k.a. Sankyaku Seki) has taught senryu (a short form similar to haiku but with a focus on the human condition over …

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Pronouns: she/her. writer/actor/theatre deviser/community organizer/educator/facilitator/author; current director/co-founder for Tuesday Night Project, presenter of the Tuesday Night Cafe art+community series in Little Tokyo; author for Writ Large Press; writer/actor of PULLproject Ensemble with aerialist/actor Kennedy Kabasares; steering committee member of the VigilantLove network against violence and Islamophobia (and for justice, solidarity and love by any means necessary:); member of the Okaeri Nikkei LGBTQ network.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • art (performance and visual; contemporary and traditional); politics; spiritual practices/religious history; Nikkei diaspora.

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