Archives for June 2021

‘Reparations’ premieres, making a case for redress for Black Americans

There’s a powerful moment in Jon Osaki’s new documentary film, “Reparations,” when Congressman Ron Dellums (D-Oakland) takes to the floor of the House of Representatives during a hearing for Japanese American redress and reparations in 1987. During his emotional and passionate speech, Dellums remembers being six years old in his hometown of Oakland, Calif. and […]

Salt Lake City’s historic Japantown plans for facelift

After more than a decade of fighting for preservation and conducting a planning process during a global pandemic, Salt Lake City’s historic Japantown community has secured plans and a commitment from public officials to preserve its place in the city’s downtown. With the city’s approval this past April of the Japantown Design Strategy and Guidelines, […]

Diana Akiyama, the 1st Asian American female bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon

Growing up in Hood River, Ore., Diana Akiyama returned home late last year after becoming the first Asian American woman bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. Originally born on the coast, Akiyama’s family moved inland to a Japanese American community when she was a child. She rode her bike in the valley, spent summers […]

Roadtrip: Nembutsu Across America

Last September, Rev. Ken Yamada, the former minister of Berkeley Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, and Rev. Jerry Hirano, minister of Salt Lake City Buddhist Temple, spent 36 days driving through the 48 contiguous states in an RV, racking up more than 13,000 miles. To view his original blog posts and see additional pictures, visit […]

CHANGING LANDSCAPE: The Japanese American experience and the California landscape

Greetings to the Nichi Bei community. My column this month will introduce you to the upcoming ethnic studies course I will begin teaching at Cal Poly Pomona on the Japanese American experience and the California landscape. After reading this, if you have any questions or information you’d like to suggest to include in this class, […]

S.F. Japanese American churches welcome new faces during the pandemic

Each year, clergy members shift across the United States. San Francisco’s Japantown is no different as retirements, promotions and transfers have brought change among its religious leaders serving the Japanese American community. Among the members of the Japanese American Religious Federation, the biggest change was Rev. Debra Low-Skinner stepping down as president of the interfaith […]

Obon’s history and a modern celebration

The Rev. Matt Hamasaki defines Obon as “a time when we honor those who have gone before us.” In sharing the history of Obon, the Buddhist Church of Sacramento Betsuin reverend told a story Buddhists learn about the Urabon sutra, where Buddha disciple Mokuren develops supernatural powers and sees his deceased mother suffering in the […]

Sokoji to hold virtual toro nagashi festival

In 2018, Soto Mission of San Francisco Sokoji began holding services for temple members’ ancestors during the Obon season. In 2019, in an effort to preserve Japanese culture and tradition, the Buddhist temple began holding their own toro nagashi (flowing lantern) festival, the Rev. Koshi Kurotaki said in an e-mail interview with the Nichi Bei […]

NIKKEI Q: QTAPI Awareness Week

On Saturday, May 22, as San Francisco gradually opened, a modest group of Asian and Pacific Islander queer and trans folks and their friends gathered in June Warner Plaza in the Castro District of San Francisco. The assembly marked the launch of the city’s recognition of the first ever Queer and Transgender Asian Pacific Islander […]


It’s been a very long year (and more) of sheltering-in-place, wearing masks and working remotely. Most family historians have actually enjoyed the opportunity to research from the comfort of their homes. Free access to’s Library Edition during the pandemic has been a great perk, which will continue through at least December 2021. As vaccination […]

Kyplex Cloud Security Seal - Click for Verification