THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Yoichi Hiraoka: International musical star

Yoichi Hiraoka was an internationally renowned xylophone virtuoso, one who helped popularize the xylophone as an instrument for both classical and popular music. Through daily radio performances and live concerts, he became the most celebrated Nikkei musician in the United States during the 1930s. However, even his fame did not save him from being targeted […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: Preserve your treasures before it’s too late

April 18, 1906. San Francisco was struck by an earthquake, followed by a devastating fire, which left hundreds of thousands homeless, and which destroyed all of the public records at city hall. Oct. 19, 1991. The Oakland firestorm incinerated nearly 3,000 single-family homes. Nov. 8, 2018. The Camp Fire obliterated 95 percent of the town […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Dear JAVA, where is your sense of compassion and understanding?

Some of you probably know that the Japanese American Citizens League made a historic move at their last convention, which was held earlier this summer. They presented a resolution of apology to the Tule Lake resisters, which was passed overwhelmingly, by over 80 percent of the delegates, an indication of the sentiments of most of […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: A sign of fall or just a Waikiki tourist?

It’s that time of year when that large, edible, orange orb makes its appearance. It usually appears in October as that seasonal decoration with the traditional grin of someone who hasn’t seen a dentist in quite a while, but in November morphs into that traditional edible pie filling. Yup, the pumpkin or bobura. In the […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Classical music behind barbed wires

(Editor’s Note: The following was co-written with Jonathan van Harmelen) In the tragic and difficult conditions faced by Japanese Americans confined in the War Relocation Authority camps during World War II, one imposing arena of achievement was in the arts. In recent years, a number of books and exhibits have highlighted not only the extraordinary […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: The Tastemaker Series

I usually don’t write about major restaurant chains. Especially since I imposed a personal ban on them years ago and swore I would never patronize them again. But time passes and Buddhism does stress forgiveness. And the pictures of each course looks delectable. And they are pairing each course not just with the fermented grape, […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Hizi Koyke: Dramatic soprano

One of the most celebrated and accomplished Nikkei in prewar America was Hizi Koyke, the diminutive soprano who served as the mainstay of the San Carlo Opera Company. Despite her fame, there is a remarkably small amount of verifiable information available on her life offstage. Hisako Koyke was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1902, the […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Just enough fizz to tickle the nose

Supposedly, the monk Dom Perignon of the Abbey of Hautvillers who is credited with creating Champagne actually was charged with removing the bubbles in still wine as the bubbles were considered a flaw and the increased pressure in the bottle caused many a bottle to burst in the wine cellar. Thank goodness he wasn’t successful […]

LASTING COMMITMENTS: Give generously to the Nichi Bei, onegai shimasu

On Sept. 2, 2019 the Nichi Bei Foundation will hold an online fundraising event, a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of its founding, as well as the 120th anniversary of the Nichi Bei Shimbun, founded by Kyutaro Abiko. For more about the celebration, which will include hourly raffles and gifts for contributors, see www.nichibei.org/give2nichibei. […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: It’s time for ‘active resistance’

Editor’s Note: According to news reports published in late July, plans to imprison migrant children at the Fort Sill military base in Oklahoma have been put on hold. Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I was wondering where that was. When word came that a protest was being planned at that place, I hesitated about participating. But the […]

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