THE HEART OF KANJI: Universal arrangement

天地 (Tenchi) means “Heaven and Earth.” The first character’s top line represents the sky and the line below represents a large person. The second character’s left side represents land and the right side represents a snake. 繰り合 (Kuriawase) means “arrangement.” The first character’s left side represents a string. The top lines of the right side […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Internationally-trained pianist and ‘no-no’ Newton Tani

Over the past decades, there have been numerous studies of paintings and other artworks from the Japanese American concentration camps, which have been thoroughly explored in exhibitions, catalogs and artist monographs. Much coverage has been devoted to the art schools at Tanforan, Calif. and Topaz (Central Utah) that were directed by the eminent artist Chiura […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Gratitude for Art Hansen, ‘a gifted mentor and inspiration’

Among specialists in Japanese American history, few have made such an enduring contribution as Arthur Hansen. While his work as a longtime scholar and activist are well known in the Nikkei community, I want to pay tribute to him in his role as a gifted mentor and inspiration, to me and so many others. (Some […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: It’s 5 p.m. somewhere!

That means it’s always cocktail time! Since I retired, tracking the day of the week has become somewhat of a challenge mainly because Ms. S is still part of the workforce (though as you read this, she’ll just have 11 more days until she joins me in retirement), and because she works every fifth weekend, […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Appreciate everything

全 (Subete) means “everything.” The top lines of this character represent a mountain and the lines below represent a round marble. Together, it symbolizes a completely polished marble. 礼 (Rei) means “to bow with deep appreciation.” The left side represents a divine altar and the right side represents a person who is bowing with deep […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: LGBTQ+ genealogy – Be proud of your ancestors

“All genealogists strive to reconstruct family histories or achieve genealogical goals that reflect historical reality as closely as possible.1” We gather data, evaluate and analyze information, and often, we tell a story. We try to avoid bias, prejudice and presentism. Identifying LGBTQ+2 ancestors and telling their stories is no different from sharing the information of […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Obon food memories

One of my enduring food memories of Obon season on Maui was consuming chow fun from conical shave ice cups every summer. Although I was raised and primarily resided on O‘ahu, Mom grew up in Wailuku, Maui until she moved to O‘ahu, then Indiana for college. And because she was a teacher, she had every […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: 50 years after ‘Coda’s’ debut centering a queer romantic triangle

This column forms part of a series on the Queer history of Japanese Americans that I publish each June to mark LGBT Pride month. This year’s installment discusses Alberto Isaac’s one-act play “Coda,” first performed in 1973. With nice symmetry, my column on it stands as something of a coda to a previous story told […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Events honor James Wakasa, inmate who was killed at Topaz, but questions remain about future of his memorial

Editor’s Note: Chizu Omori is a Wakasa Memorial Committee member. James Hatsuaki Wakasa probably would have been astonished by the recognition and appreciation events attendees bestowed upon him in April in San Francisco and Delta, Utah. Wakasa was murdered at age 63 by a soldier in a watch tower at the Topaz (Central Utah) concentration […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Have the courage to grow older

老 (Oiru) means “to be old.” This character represents an old person holding a stick. 勇気 (Yuki) means “courage.” The first character’s top strokes indicate a nail and wood and the portion below indicates a bicep muscle. The second character’s top lines represent a person exhaling and the lines below represent steaming rice. Awhile back, […]