Ohara grandmaster’s lifetime of teaching

After first being encouraged to take lessons from her aunt in Japan, Hisako “Shofu” Shohara embarked on a lifelong appreciation of nature through the art of ikebana. Jane Matsumoto, her eldest daughter, said her mother, at 94-years-old, still has a sharp mind as she continues to exhibit and teach for the Ohara School of Ikebana. […]

Chicago nonprofit offers senior and youth services

JASC (formerly known as Japanese American Service Committee) celebrated its 75th anniversary with an in-person gathering in May 2022. They postponed celebrating their actual anniversary in August 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Chicago-based organization, which was established in 1946, has evolved more to fit the Japanese American community’s needs. “Early on, because the […]

Odori ‘rock star’ Fujima Kansuma dies at 104

LOS ANGELES — Fujima Kansuma, the legendary Japanese dancer who taught thousands of students in a career that spanned nearly eight decades, died on Feb. 22 at 104. Miyako Tachibana, Kansuma’s daughter, who took over her mother’s teaching duties, stated via e-mail that when her father died when Tachibana was 12 years old, “my mother […]

BACK IN THEATERS: 12th annual Films of Remembrance

Following two years of online-only programming, the Nichi Bei Foundation held its 12th annual Films of Remembrance film series in person at the AMC Kabuki 8 in San Francisco’s Japantown Feb. 25 and the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose’s Japantown Feb. 26. According to Kenji G. Taguma, president of the Nichi Bei […]

Japanese Americans protest a wind project near the Minidoka site

Advocates say 400 turbines will threaten the sanctity of the historic Idaho location that served as an incarceration camp during WWII Mary Abo is in her 80s now, but can recite her childhood address on command: block six, barrack four, apartment C. Abo is a survivor of Minidoka, one of several camps that the U.S. […]

A new generation of leaders vying for queen

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program presented its 2023 queen candidates during its virtual preview press conference March 15 over Zoom. The program, a highlight of the city’s annual cherry blossom festival, will take place April 8 at the Cowell Theatre in Fort Mason. The candidates are: Samantha Michiko Teshima, Maya Isaka, Emily […]

Child suicides in Japan hit record high of 514 in 2022

TOKYO — A record 514 children attending elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan died by suicide in 2022, topping the previous high of 499 seen in 2020, government data showed March 14, with the upward trend apparently fueled by the coronavirus pandemic. Suicides among females also increased for the third straight year, rising […]

Bay Area Jewish and AAPI leaders talk shared concerns at White House

Editor’s Note: This article is also available at Congregation Sherith Israel, a historic Reform synagogue, and the Japanese Community Youth Council, a nonprofit serving kids and teens, sit mere blocks from one another in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. But until this month, their leaders had never met. “[We] walked away with the same […]

Cultural elements reinterpreted for Peace Plaza renovation

San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and the Japantown Task Force held a virtual community briefing Feb. 28 to discuss the cultural elements that will be implemented in the Japantown Peace Plaza. The plaza, which will undergo a $32 million renovation expected to start in the spring of 2024, will reinterpret several key cultural elements […]

For Asian Americans, Yeoh, Quan’s Oscar wins are theirs too

LOS ANGELES — Edward Dion Fariñas watches the Academy Awards every year but the Filipino American didn’t expect to have such a visceral reaction when hearing Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh’s awards announced. “I had a squeal come out that I was not expecting,” said Fariñas, who was watching Sunday from his Austin, Texas, […]