by Jadenne Radoc Cabahug; reporting by Debby Cheng
Naomi Ostwald Kawamura’s biggest motivation for serving the Japanese American community is a trait passed down from her Japanese immigrant parents, who gave their time and energy to others.
Continue reading Japanese American Nonprofit Densho Welcomes New Executive Director
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
by Mark Van Streefkerk
The upcoming graphic novel We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration offers a new take on the history of World War II — one told through the resistance of three people. Revolving around the experiences of Jim Akutsu, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and Mitsuye Endo, We Hereby Refuse weaves their acts of refusal into one overarching plot. A result of a collaboration between co-authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, illustrated by artists Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, the 160-page graphic novel is co-published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press. The book is slated for release on May 18.
In telling Akutsu, Kashiwagi, and Endo’s stories, “We decided not to do it as three different chapters but as one timeline, one story arc that would interweave these three characters. The focus is not ‘These are three heroes of camp resistance.’ No. There’s an overarching narrative of the incarceration experience,” said Abe. “We call it the ‘story of camp as you’ve never seen it before.’”
Continue reading New Graphic Novel Tells Three Stories of Nikkei Resistance to Wartime Incarceration
by Kamna Shastri
When Satsuki Ina’s mother received her reparations check from the US government in apology for incarcerating over 120,000 Japanese Americans between 1942 and 1945, the check ended up somewhere in a stack of papers piled high on her desk. Instead, a framed apology letter leaning against the wall caught Ina’s eye.
“What does this mean for you?” Ina asked her mother.
“I feel like I finally got my face back,” her mother replied.
Continue reading Japanese American Redress and African American Reparations Intertwined