DISSENT: A call for solidarity with Black-led fights for liberation

Policing is not a neutral institution. It protects the interests of those who have societal power, often at the expense of those who lack such power. We know this from our community experience as Japanese Americans. When Issei community leaders were rounded up after Pearl Harbor, when our families were forced to sell their property […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: The lesson I learned at a Black Lives Matter Peace March in Osaka

On June 7, I participated in a Black Lives Matter Peace March in Osaka. The event was boosted by a retweet from tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, for which she took a lot of heat. But despite the polarizing nature of the event, I learned a lot, although the lesson I walked away with was not […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Honoring the ancestors

I pen this column having just returned from our annual sojourn during Memorial Day weekend taking Mom to various cemeteries to place flowers at the resting places of dear relatives. Our trip always follows the same pattern, starting at Honolulu Memorial Park, moving on to Nu’uanu Memorial Park then the National Memorial Cemetery of the […]

The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great: The origins of the JACL’s advocacy for gay and lesbian rights

This year marks the 14th year that I have commemorated LGBT History Month with a reflection on the important but oft-unremarked presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in the history of Japanese Americans. It is with great pleasure that I devote this year’s queer history column to looking back at the latter […]

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: DEAR ASIAN AMERICANS: An open letter and guide-in-progress on being a productive ally to African Americans by a devastated and outraged Asian American

Are you also devastated and outraged? You should be. That’s just the start. So, what’s next? How can the Asian American community mobilize to be productive and supportive to the Black community right now? I’m not claiming to be a perfect ally/activist, or that this is the definitive guide to being an ally in 2020, […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: The power of the immune system

生 (Sei) means “life.” The bottom of this character indicates soil and above it is a bud or a sprout. 命 (Mei or inochi) means “life.” The top line represents a person. Beneath the person is “one.” Beneath this indicates “beating.” Collectively, the person’s heartbeat helps them to live. 力 (Ryoku, chikara) means power, which […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: The new normal?

Even with some states judiciously re-opening for limited business, I don’t think we are ever getting back to the previous “normal,” at least not until next year, if at all. Of course, there are some states that seem to be recklessly re-opening at all costs, placing the economy squarely above public health. So, for this […]

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: Life as I knew it

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. You don’t know you’re riding a high until you come crashing down.  I always knew my JET (Japan Exchange Teaching) Program experience would be temporary. I had decided in winter of 2019 not to renew my contract and return home in August 2020. It […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: An intriguing elegy for Topaz

One of the people who enriched my life was the journalist and educator Guyo (Marion) Tajiri, whom I was fortunate to get to know near the end of her long life. I was further blessed to receive an additional gift from her years after her passing. I first met Guyo in 2003. She agreed to […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Deep breath

深い (Fukai) means “deep.” The left side of this character indicates water and the right side represents a baby coming out of a womb.息 (Iki) means “breath.” The top of this character represents a nose, while the bottom symbolizes a human heart. The air reaches our heart through our lungs and nose. As you know, […]

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