Susan Hamaker

Okinawan American Susan Hamaker is a New York-based writer who started the website JapanCulture•NYC in May 2011 as a resource for all things Japanese in New York City. She also blogs about her Okinawan heritage and her fascination with Japanese culture at shrinecastle.com.

Updated March 2012

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Fukushima City: Six Months Later - Part 1

In September I had the opportunity to visit Fukushima City, Japan, as a guest of Takayuki Takahashi, Vice President of Fukushima University. I first met Professor Takahashi in June, when he and his team of researchers attended a medical trade show in New York City. Almost as much as he wanted to promote the school’s medical invention, he wanted to promote the resilience of Fukushima residents after the horrific earthquake and tsunami of March 11 set off a nuclear crisis. When I contacted the professor in August to let him know I was going to Japan, he asked me ...

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Junko Fisher brings traditional Okinawan dance to New York

By day Yoshitake Kamiya worked in the fields of Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture. By night he performed traditional Okinawan dances and acted in plays with Taishin Za, a famous local theater group. For twenty years, between 1968 and 1988, he also traveled the world as an official member of Kumi Odori (Okinawan-style opera with elements of singing, dancing, and acting), introducing Okinawan culture to North Africa, the former Soviet Union, Europe, and even New York.

Kamiya also introduced the art form, distinctly different from that of mainland Japan, to his niece, Junko Fisher (nee Nagahama), who began dance lessons ...

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