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 […]

A student’s perspective on her first pilgrimage to Manzanar

When I heard about the Manzanar Pilgrimage, I immediately perked up from my seat in Professor Wayne Maeda’s “Intro to Ethnics” class. I knew that I had to go on this trip as soon as possible because my grandparents were incarcerated in such concentration camps during World War II. I was nervous when I arrived […]

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.” […]

Desperately seeking LGBT memories of World War II incarceration

Two years ago, I was invited to participate in E.G. Crichton’s project “Lineage: Matchmaking in the Archive” in which artists, writers and musicians were asked to respond to personal collections in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society archive. I was “matched” with Jiro Onuma, a gay Issei who moved to the U.S. from Iwate […]

Otagaisama: We help each other

I’m not an expert on Japanese culture and customs, but as I observe what’s happening in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, I am confident that the country and its people will eventually recover and rebuild their lives because of one key concept and way of life that is deeply embedded in the Japanese spirit: “Otagaisama” (helping […]

REFLECTION ON JAPAN: Growing stigma against victims of Fukushima

Editor’s note: A month after the Tohoku disaster, a quasi-nationalistic “love it or leave it” attitude has gained currency, putting pressure on people to stay and face potential dangers for the sake of group solidarity. A wrenching dilemma has emerged in the midst of the nuclear radiation crisis afflicting Japan. A quasi-nationalistic “love it or […]

Citizens of Iwaki City, Fukushima must be heard

To my San Francisco Bay Area Family and Friends: Words alone cannot express how much your e-mails and good thoughts have meant to me. I received messages from all of you throughout the entire day and night when the quake hit, and I think that kept me going in mind and spirit, and helped to […]

Parts of Sendai destroyed, but not its humanity

March 11, 2011, 2:47 p.m., a date and time no one in Miyagi Prefecture and the Tohoku Region will ever forget. I had just returned to the Miyagi prefectural government office after visiting one of our local miso companies. I was sitting at my desk, getting ready for a meeting with my boss, when the […]

Weeping for Baachan

My mom’s been gone nearly two years now but over the past two weeks, I’ve been grateful that she wasn’t alive to have her heart broken every day. To see the devastation and suffering in the Japanese country of her birth would have slowly killed her. Although I sense her presence daily, it has been […]

The Japan earthquake and tsunami

On March 11, 2011, still another catastrophe (not close to home in America but 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean) defined our lives. On the worldwide stage, Japan reacted to the force of nature and the devastation left in its wake. We who are Japanese by ancestry can understand (and be proud) of the courageous […]

Kyplex Cloud Security Seal - Click for Verification