Tea for two

In San Francisco’s Outer Richmond district, Larry Sokyo Tiscornia, 69, and Kimika Soko Takechi, 68, teach tea as members of San Francisco Urasenke Tankokai. The couple met while taking Saturday tea classes with Soko Kobara, founder of the Tankokai, and have since been together, teaching all aspects of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Prior to […]

Speaking the language of karate for the Tokyo Olympics

As if fluency in both English and Japanese wasn’t enough, Gakuji Tozaki has used a different type of skill as a means to positively express his Japanese American identity. Through karate, the 26-year-old is aiming to represent the country of his birth in the land of his ancestry in the biggest sporting event in the […]

Ikebana to go: Kiyo’s Floral Design delivers ikebana-inspired creations

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For designer Lisa Taira, every flower arrangement she creates is one that comes from the heart — even if it’s just one flower. “It’s not just a single flower because it has so much meaning to the person who is actually buying it to give to someone,” said Taira, the owner of […]

Matt Ogawa perpetuates the cultural arts and gives back with a purpose

Whether motivating a group into action or expressing his love for his own Japanese American heritage through his involvement in a myriad of cultural activities, Matt Ogawa doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. Decades ago, his grandfather, the late Frank H. Ogawa, was a popular civil rights leader and longtime Oakland City Council member […]

Ikebana teacher follows family’s legacy of service, sees ‘revival’ in the art

Her grandfather, the Rev. Shozen Naito, was a minister at the Buddhist Temple of Alameda before World War II; her grandmother taught Sogetsu ikebana in the 1970s and Japanese language at the same temple. Her father, Kiyoshi Naito, served as the temple’s board president for three different terms. Following two generations of family leadership at […]

Tiffany Tamaribuchi’s multifaceted Sacramento Taiko Dan family

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — “My mom would say from the time I could walk, I would stand in front of the taiko,” said 51-year-old Tiffany Tamaribuchi, recalling her earliest encounter with the drums at a Sacramento Obon festival. Her captivation with the Japanese drum would lead her to establish Sacramento Taiko Dan in 1989 at just […]

S.F. Cherry Blossom Queen candidates announced

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program presented its 2018 queen candidates during its annual preview March 11 at the Union Bank Community Room in San Francisco’s Japantown. The queen program, a highlight of San Francisco’s annual cherry blossom festival, will take place Saturday, April 14 at the AMC Kabuki 8. The candidates are: […]

American nightmare turned into American Dream

“Moving Walls” by Sharon Yamato recounts the Japanese American experience at the Heart Mountain, Wyo. concentration camp during World War II, and also discloses what happened after the war to the 457 barracks that had housed more than 10,700 ethnic Japanese from 1942-45. The film describes how young veterans (including one Nisei, Tak Ogawa) seeking […]

‘Never Give Up!’ focuses on civil rights icon Minoru Yasui’s legacy

“Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” by Holly Yasui and Will Doolittle, highlights the life of Minoru Yasui, who during World War II intentionally violated Executive Order 9066, the presidential orders that resulted in the incarceration of more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in United States concentration camps. Minoru Yasui, […]

Addressing the silence

Following World War II, Japanese Americans returned home to the West Coast from various concentration camps. The experience, traumatic and humiliating for many former inmates, became a taboo subject for numerous families. Often times, their children would not learn about their incarceration until years later. Marlene Shigekawa, a filmmaker based in Lafayette, Calif., explores that […]

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