by Amanda Ong
Memories of a Japanese American community before internment are strewn in bits and pieces across Seattle: the panels in Pike Place Market commemorating the original Japanese American farmers, fruit trees in South Park that had once been orchards planted by Japanese Americans, KOBO in CID at the former Higo 10 Cents Store of Japantown, or the bonsai at the Pacific Bonsai Museum donated from neighbors who took care of the trees for Japanese families who never returned.
Continue reading The 80th Anniversary of EO 9066 and Japanese Americans’ Seattle Legacy
by Glenn Nelson
Though Michelle Kumata can make your eyes pop with her colors and imagery, if you don’t examine her pieces carefully, detect the nuances and Easter eggs, and cogitate upon all of them, you are bound to miss something profound.
In that way, the artist and her art are like holding a highly polished mirror to her Japanese American heritage. Hers is a community whose connective tissue is its experience with mass incarceration by its own government. The melding of Japanese customs and response to a very American-concocted collective trauma has resulted in a community whose definition evades clarity, even to its own members.
Continue reading OPINION: What It Means to Be Japanese American — Michelle Kumata’s Artistic Exploration