THE HEART OF KANJI: Our lives are borrowed from the universe

命 (Inochi) means “life.” The top lines represent a person and the lines below 叩 symbolize “beat.” All together, our human life is sustained by the beating of one’s heart. 天 (Ten) means ”heaven.” The top line represents the sky and the strokes below represent a big person. 地 (Chi) means “Earth.” The left side […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Novels helped inform popular knowledge of JA mass incarceration’s injustices

In a recent column, I mentioned James Edmiston’s 1955 novel “Home Again,” which was a notable entry among the set of postwar works of fiction that referenced the mass confinement of Japanese Americans. These “internment novels,” produced by white authors and brought out by mainstream presses in the early postwar years, included such works as […]


Once again, it’s that time of year to ponder holiday gift giving. And just as the pandemic seems to have settled a little, we’re now faced with inflation with merchandise about 20 percent costlier than it was last year. So we have to be creative in stretching those hard earned dollars. Or perhaps we can […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: Preserve your artifacts

We all have family heirlooms, photo albums, memorabilia. Some of us have a lot, some of us have very little. As the designated family historian, you may find yourself the keeper of family heirlooms. That can be a daunting task, both because of the sheer number of items, and the sense of responsibility. Getting Started […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Live life with no regrets

後悔 (Koukai) means “regret.” The first character’s left side represents “moving forward,” and the right side shows a string tied to a foot. Together, it symbolizes not being able to move forward because we are pulled back by the string. The second character represents a heart on the left side and “life” and “mother” on […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: On corresponding with the late playwright and activist Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Nov. 8, 2022 marks the 100th birthday of the late Hiroshi Kashiwagi. A playwright, poet, actor, storyteller and activist, he shined in diverse fields of endeavor, and was one of the outstanding members of the Bay Area Japanese American community. Thanks to the recent graphic history, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: The healthier road traveled

I was tasked with discussing healthier dietary options especially for those in the Japanese American community and immediately ran into a roadblock. While the Japanese no longer have the longest life expectancy as of 2022 (Hong Kong surpassed Japan by about three months), the average woman in Japan has a life expectancy of more than […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: What is the difference between concern and worry?

心配り (Kokorokubari) means “concern.” The first character indicates the human heart. The second character’s left side represents a tokkuri (sake container) and the right side represents a person who is bending at the waist to serve it. 心配 (Shinpai) means “worry about something.” 心配り (Kokorokubari) and 心配 (shinpai). If you look at the kanji characters, […]


This week’s column is a mystery story involving the identity of a secret champion of Japanese Americans, one who helped win them important official support in the months following the end of World War II. As is well documented, the Issei and Nisei who were confined in the War Relocation Authority camps during World War […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Sorrow over the Topaz Museum board’s outreach

I can’t express my sorrow over the six meetings the Topaz Museum board held in August to ask the community for input concerning the Wakasa memorial stone. They held four meetings in person and two virtually. They held the first two in the Bay Area, a virtual meeting and then one in Delta, Utah. Next, […]

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