Northern California Soy & Tofu Festival

THE JOY OF SOY! — The first ever Northern California Soy & Tofu Festival was held on June 11 in San Francisco Japantown’s Peace Plaza, attracting some 3,500 visitors throughout the day to an event that educated the public about the health benefits of soy and tofu. The Festival, a fundraiser for the Nichi Bei […]

Re: Connection — dNaga danceNAGANUMA’s 10th anniversary

I’m sitting with my wife in Laney College’s theater in Oakland, Calif. as the curtains draw for Artistic Director and Choreographer Claudine Naganuma’s 10th anniversary of dNaga danceNAGANUMA, admittedly not sure what to expect. I’ve been graciously comped two tickets by a very thoughtful person who had read my previous post on Yuri Kochiyama and […]

THEN AND NOW: Obon throughout the years in California’s Central Valley

California’s Central Valley has always had a large Japanese American population. Many Buddhist temples and Japantowns were founded in the Central Valley, as Japanese farmers and Asians of other origins flowed in. After World War II, many people of Japanese descent returned to the Central Valley and picked up the pieces from their previous life. […]

Call for artwork and stories from WWII camps

About five years ago I met Mrs. Rosalie Gould, the former mayor of McGehee, Ark. and a strong advocate for teaching and visiting the Japanese American concentration camps in her community. Mrs. Gould told me she had a collection of children’s artworks in her spare room and welcomed me to see them. I was absolutely […]

Korematsu and Hirabayashi families, legal teams react to ‘confession of error’

The families and legal teams of Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi, two civil rights icons, reacted to the news that the U.S. Department of Justice has finally admitted its mistakes in the cases challenging the government’s World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. The “confession of error,” posted by then-acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on […]

IMPORTING AMERICA’S PASTIME: The 75th anniversary of U.S. ball players in Japan

Japan’s love affair with baseball began in the early 1880s and this shared passion created an enduring bond with the United States, surviving even through war. In fact, in Nicholas Dawidoff’s book “The Catcher Was a Spy,” the author notes that after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, Major League ballplayer Moe Berg pleaded with […]

Something new at Sake San Jose in Japantown

SAN JOSE — Have you ever wondered, “What kind of food goes with cold sake?” The answer was clear at the sixth annual Sake San Jose fundraising event for Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service, held May 26. The event, which supports the nonprofit’s Healthy Aging Initiative and various programs, is a regular crowd […]

Agreement signed for MIS Learning Center at Building 640

Memorial Day could have been a solemn occasion for Military Intelligence Service (MIS) veteran Marvin Uratsu, as his brother Gene — one of the Japanese language instructors of the first class secretly trained in the Presidio of San Francisco’s Building 640 — passed away in March. But the surviving brother found the recent signing of […]

Family maintains Le is alive as police classify case as murder

HAYWARD, Calif. (Bay City News Service) — Family members of missing nursing student Michelle Le said June 7 they think Le is still alive even though the Hayward Police Department is treating the case as a homicide. “We are not giving up on finding Michelle alive,” Le’s father, Son Le, said. Le, 26, went missing […]

A visit to the White House

  The following commentary features reflections by poet and author Hiroshi Kashiwagi upon being invited to “An Evening of Poetry” at the White House, which showcased the impact of poetry on American culture.   It was a windfall event, unexpected and surreal, especially the jaw-dropping reaction of the people. “You mean the White House?” “Yes.” […]

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