Tag Archives: Seattle Nihonmachi

‘Hai! Japantown 2021’: Honoring the Past and Reviving the Present

by Sharon Ho Chang

There are still a couple of weeks left to enjoy the fifth annual “Hai! Japantown,” a 20-day summer festival celebrating Seattle’s historic Nihonmachi or Japantown. The festival offers a unique and important opportunity to learn about and support the revival of what was once the West Coast’s second-largest Japanese American community.

“‘Hai! Japantown’ is important because it shows that the spirit of Japantown is still alive,” said Lei Ann Shiramizu, former co-owner of Momo, a cornerstone of Seattle’s Japantown, which just closed last September after 13 years. She has been involved in “Hai! Japantown” from the start (in fact she and her husband named it) and is helping manage social media and the calendar of events for this year’s festival.

“It’s like the Japanese saying, you know, ‘Fall down seven times, get up eight.’ Even during this very, very challenging year, the businesses have managed to stay alive. And not only that, they have continued to thrive because we have some of the small businesses taken over by the next generation … that has infused these businesses or these spaces with young energy and new ideas and it’s wonderful.”

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OPINION: Seattle Needs to ‘Start Asian Love’ in the Face of Hate

by Glenn Nelson, contributing columnist

The first major local protest ignited by the murder of George Floyd swelled in downtown Seattle and started exhibiting elements of violence. It seemed almost predictable when the flummoxed police force began funneling the mostly white crowd of vandals south. Already in coronavirus lockdown, Lei Ann Shiramizu watched it all unfold on television.

Reports Shiramizu heard about police tactics indicated the group was being herded straight into the Chinatown-International District (C-ID). The mounting images being beamed to the public, of busted windows and other forms of vandalism, were like zaps to her psyche.

“My baby is out there,” was the urgent thought that crossed her mind.

Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Needs to ‘Start Asian Love’ in the Face of Hate