JCCCNC photo exhibit explores Japanese American heritage

The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California held an opening reception Nov. 23 at its Issei Memorial Hall in San Francisco’s Japantown to showcase the submissions for its “The Eye of the Beholder: Japanese American Heritage Photo Contest.”

More than 50 people attended the reception, including participants and their families and community members.

The photos — which responded to the question “What is Japanese American Heritage?” — depict the diversity of the culture and community.

The exhibit displayed 83 photographs that reflected the work of a diverse group of Nikkei.

The program consisted of participant testimonials by Miya Yung and her mother Jane Muramoto-Yung, the judges’ review, the presentation of winners by Lauren Morimoto and a reflection from the JCCCNC’s Tara Umemoto and Nina Bazan-Sakamoto, who oversaw the project through the Kase Nikkei Community Scholarship Program..

Greg Nakaki won first place for his “The Spirit Roar.” The photo depicts a taiko performer mid-strike. Nakaki was awarded $1,000.

“The Spirit Roar” by Greg Nakaki

“The Spirit Roar” by Greg Nakaki

Second place and $750 dollars went to Ali Kagawa Koide’s “Our Own Momotaro,” a photo of her sleeping newborn son, which reenacts a scene from the Japanese children’s story “Momotaro.” Third place and $500 went to Jaclyn Matsuura’s “Taking Flight,” an origami crane, which portrayed her rediscovery of her Japanese American heritage.

The winners’ photos and stories are highlighted on the JCCCNC Facebook page and can be found along with the entire collection of photographs.

Chris Aihara, Paul Mansfield, Diane Matsuda, Reiko Matsueda, Lauren Morimoto, Sally Osaki and Sara Yamasaki served as the judges.

The exhibit will be on display throughout the second floor of the JCCCNC at 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco’s Japantown.

Aidan Noda/Nichi Bei Weekly contributed to this article.

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