THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Tom Tsuji, a versatile Nisei percussionist

(Editor’s note: The following article was co-written with Jonathan Van Harmelen.) In a previous article from our ongoing series on Japanese American musicians, Jonathan Van Harmelen and I profiled the trailblazing role of the Issei xylophone virtuoso Yoichi Hiraoka within the world of percussion. While Hiraoka lived and performed in New York City during the […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Peace of the world

世 (Se) means “generations.” This character represents a trio of the character 十 or (10). 界 (Kai) means “world.” The top lines represent a rice field. The symbol in the center is a person and the bottom lines are divider lines. 平 (Hei) means “flat, calm.” The top line represents the sky and the bottom […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: The gift of family history

The holiday season is practically upon us. Have you wondered what unique gifts you might give your extended family? What about a gift of family history? Perhaps you’ve been researching your family for months, or even years. You know that there is always another record to find, another tidbit to uncover. And you might feel […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Thanksgiving for one … or two

Now that we’re entering the traditional holiday season and you-know-what is still out there, there are several avenues we can take to return to some semblance of normalcy. We can throw caution to the wind and go out in public to congregate with those large groups of friends and family that we haven’t seen since […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Human life is very precious

人 (Nin, hito) symbolizes “a person standing.” 間 (Gen, aida) means “among or between.” 命 (Inochi) means “life.” The top of this character shows a person and the bottom represents a finger. The rectangular character represents a mouth and a person who is bending down. Together this character means a person’s life is maintained by […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Making my voice heard, even from Japan

On Aug. 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his retirement due to health reasons, and Sept. 16, less than three weeks later, his successor Yoshihide Suga had been named and installed as the new Japanese prime minister. The political system in Japan is such that the prime minister is not determined by popular vote. […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Japanese American singer and civil rights activist Ruby Hideko Yoshino

(Editor’s note: The following article was co-written with Jonathan Van Harmelen.) Along with classical instrumentalists, quite a number of Japanese American operatic and concert singers, mostly women, began their careers on the West Coast during the 1930s. Previous “Great Unknown” columns have featured such standout “songstresses” as Agnes Miyakawa, Toshiko Hasegawa and Tomi Kanazawa. Of […]

NIKKEI Q: Trump and queers

In 2018, Colorado State University political scientist Ernesto Sagás noted that with the legitimization of “bad hombres, shithole countries, (and) nasty women” coming from the White House, we need ethnic studies “now more than ever.” For sure, President Donald Trump’s administration’s assault on the well-being of immigrants, people of color, and women have been well […]

Let’s Talk … About thriving in the pandemic

It was March, seven long months ago when COVID-19 was acknowledged as a pandemic. When the shutdown was announced most of us thought we could just hold our breaths, make some minor adjustments and things would get back to “normal” within a reasonable period of time. But here and now, the numbers of people contracting […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: For amber waves of grain

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the general nutrition recommendation to include more whole grains in your diet to improve your health and well-being. (You could start by consuming more Cheerios or whole wheat bread). Whenever we consume whole grains, the additional fiber in the grain takes longer to digest so that the absorbable part […]

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