Shigeharu Higashi

Born in 1954, in Kure, Hiroshima.  In 1981, Higashi moved to the U.S. and worked as a reporter for Japanese-language newspapers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  He also has experience as an assistant to a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Asashi Shimbun and as Japanese-language news distribution manager for Kyodo News Service’s U.S. corporation in Los Angeles.  In 1998, he founded the monthly English-language newspaper Cultural News, which covers cultural news focused on Japanese art and cultural events in the Los Angeles area, as well as the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake.  Both the monthly newspaper Cultural News and its online edition, www.culturalnews.com, can be subscribed to for a fee.

Updated June 2014

community en ja

Japanese Christians in the Sawtelle district of Los Angeles

Most Japanese language schools in Los Angeles, established by Issei nearly a century ago, have the word gakuen in their names—such as Pasadena Gakuen. However, the original Japanese name of “Japanese Institute of Sawtelle (JIS)” is “Sawtelle Nihon Gakuin.” 

The difference between the terms gakuen (学園) and gakuin (学院)lies in the original Chinese characters: gakuen means “a garden for learning” while gakuin means “a temple for learning.”

For a long time, I mistakenly assumed that “Sawtelle Gakuen” was the Japanese name of the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle. In December 2015, I was invited to JIS’s 90th anniversary ...

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media en ja

“From a Silk Cocoon” (produced in 2006) Depicting the Anguish of Parents [of being] in the Internment Camps, Was Produced by SENSEI Who Was Born in an Internment camp

I was asked to go to Berkeley in September to interview Satsuki Ina- Sensei, emeritus of California State University Sacramento. (Satsuki Ina is 70 years old).

Ina-san’s mother was born in America, raised in Nagano prefecture, and returned to America before the War. After interviewing Ina-san, I told her that I would like to profile her for Discover Nikkei. A few days after the interview, Ina-san sent two DVD films with Japanese subtitles that were produced by her.

Her first film is titled Children of the Camps. It is a story about Japanese Americans who spent part of their ...

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culture en

Cultural News: An attempt to reach newcomers from Japan was turned into discovering Japanese culture enthusiasts in America

Cultural News is a monthly English language newspaper featuring traditional Japanese culture events in Southern California. The 8-page tabloid has printed 6,000 copies since July 1998 in Los Angeles by Japan-born Shige Higashi. It is distributed to Japanese American community centers in Southern California and directly mailed to subscribers for $25 a year with 12 issues.

Currently Cultural News is also recognized as a daily email newsletter, edited by Higashi. The same contents of the monthly newspaper and daily email are also available to read at the website www.culturalnews.com.

Cultural News was a brainchild of Shige Higashi ...

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culture en

Exhibition: Hirokazu Kosaka’s interpretation of 12th century scroll

When his fellow classmates in Wakayama, Japan, were engulfed in reading the popular manga of the day, growing up as a teenager in post-war Japan, Hirokazu Kosaka found his imagination transfixed by a scroll he saw at the Kozanji Temple in Kyoto. The scroll, considered to be the world’s oldest manga created in the 12th century, was the Chojyu-Jinbutsu-Giga (Animal Person Caricature) painted by Toba Sojo.

Fifty years later Kosaka, now artistic director of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) in Los Angeles, finds this famous scroll so clear and imbedded in his memory that Kosaka can ...

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community ja

百年続く南カリフォルニアの仏教会とその開教使の横顔

120年の歴史を持つ南カリフォルニアの日系コミュニティーの中で、浄土真宗西本願寺派の仏教会は、特に20世紀の初めの約60年間は、宗教としての役割以上に日本人移民のための文化センターやコミュニティー・センターの役割を果たしてきた。

西本願寺派の米国組織、米国仏教団は、戦前から、信者が集まる場所を寺ではなく、仏教会と呼んでいた。最近は「お寺」と呼ぶひとも増えている。各地の仏教会に属する僧侶を開教使と呼ぶ。日本では浄土真宗をはじめ大半の仏教宗派では、住職の世襲制が一般的であるが、米国仏教団の場合、仏教会メンバーが寺の所有者で、各地の仏教会が開教使を仏教団へ依頼をし、招聘するという形式になっている。仏教会の運営は、キリスト教の教会運営を雛形にしている。

100年以上の布教の歴史を持つ米国仏教団では、1980年代までは開教使のほとんどが日本で生れ育ち、渡米した日本人だったが ...

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