J.K. Yamamoto

J.K. Yamamoto has worked for Pacific Citizen in Los Angeles (1984-87) and Hokubei Mainichi in San Francisco (1987-2009), and has been a reporter for Rafu Shimpo since 2010. He has written for other community newspapers, including NikkeiWest in Northern California.

Updated January 2017

community en

End of An Era in Santa Monica

Nikkei Hall sold, proceeds used for community grants.

The Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, once the hub of Santa Monica’s Japanese American community, has been sold by its three remaining officers.

Located at 1413 Michigan Ave., the one-story building was designed in 1957 by architect Y. Tom Makino (1907-1992) and constructed by Santa Monica Nikkei Hall Inc., which was established by Issei community leaders after Japanese Americans returned from the World War II camps.

The buyer is a major television and film production company already located in Santa Monica.

The sellers did not attach any conditions about preservation of the ...

Read more

identity en

Wakatsuki: The Next Generation

Grand niece of Farewell to Manzanar author has ‘dream job’ at Minidoka site.

The Wakatsuki name is inextricably linked with the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

In her 1973 memoir, Farewell to Manzanar, co-written with her husband James, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston recounts her family’s life on Terminal Island and how it came to an abrupt end with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Her Issei father, Ko, was immediately arrested by the FBI and the rest of the family was incarcerated at Manzanar.

The book and the 1976 TV movie of the same name have been distributed to ...

Read more

community en

Wall’s Message to Vietnam Vets: ‘Welcome Home’

GARDENA — “The Wall That Heals,” a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was displayed from April 4 to 8 in Gardena’s Mas Fukai Park.

The park was open 24 hours a day for those who wished to pay their respects, including friends and relatives of some of the 58,318 service members killed or missing in action whose names are inscribed on the wall.

Gardena was one of only three California cities on the 2018 tour of the wall, organized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Of 132 organizations that applied for the tour, only ...

Read more

culture en

NEW CAST, NEW ENERGY: Rehearsals under way for L.A. production of “Allegiance”

With rehearsals in full swing, the cast of the Los Angeles production of Allegiance met with local media on Feb. 8 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

Directed by Snehal Desai, producing artistic director of East West Players, the musical will begin previews on Feb. 21 and officially open on Feb. 28 at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo.

The cast of 15, which includes five from the Broadway show, performed four numbers — “Paradise,” “Gaman,” “Higher,” and “Our Time Now” — which reflect the struggles and conflicts that Japanese Americans went through during ...

Read more

media en

Film Focuses On Little-Known WWII Camps: Story of Moab, Leupp told in Claudia Katayanagi’s A Bitter Legacy

Claudia Katayanagi has an extensive list of credits as a sound recordist or sound mixer for documentaries dealing with a variety of topics — Confucius Was a FoodieThe Black PanthersZoot Suit Riots, and Oprah Goes to Broadway, to name just a few.

But for her latest project, A Bitter Legacy, she took on the role of director and producer and delved into the history of her own family and community. It deals with the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, with a focus on the citizen isolation centers, which are little known even to those familiar with the camps.

These ...

Read more