Janet Ikeda

Janet Ikeda is Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.  She teaches Japanese literature, language and a course on the art of the Japanese tea ceremony.  For more information about the Japanese tearoom at Washington and Lee University see: http://tearoom.wlu.edu.

Updated April 2011

community en pt

YAMA: A Nikkei Community in Brazil - Part 3

Read part 2 >> 

In 1990 I made my first trip to Community Yuba pregnant with hope. The offshoot of Yuba’s legacy had propagated and germinated abroad and we had returned to celebrate a birth. While caring for my newborn son, I felt the artistic impulse in every corner of the community. Pottery, sculpture, painting, theater and music permeated the daily rhythm. I was drawn to poetry and attended an evening haiku gathering. Young and old gathered around the communal kitchen tables to pencil poems on small strips of paper. Final judging was informal and calculated with a vote of ...

Read more

community en pt

YAMA: A Nikkei Community in Brazil - Part 2

Read part 1 >> 

At Yama, where farming, daily reverence, and art converge, the idea of work can mean most anything. The people grow fruits and vegetables, raise poultry and dairy cattle, cultivate shiitake mushrooms, roast coffee, produce butter and cheese, and ferment soybeans for miso and soy sauce. The weekly schedule revolves around adult and youth ballet, chorus, Japanese language lessons, and studio art for the young.

Worn footpaths go off in all directions on the farm and one may wander freely around: orchards, vegetable garden, dairy cow barn, packing shed, old silkworm shelter where mushrooms now sprout, tool shed ...

Read more

community en pt

YAMA: A Nikkei Community in Brazil - Part 1

Read the introduction to the Yama Project >

YAMA: Embrace the ordinary and nurture a spirit of gratitude

          誰の墓と 聞いて子供等 手を合わす

                   whose grave is it?
                   ask the children
                   palm to palm in prayer

—Katsue Yuba (b. 1947)

With a copy of Rousseau’s Emile and the collected works of Tolstoy packed among newly purchased farming tools, metal pots, and Japanese quilts and bedding, Isamu Yuba in 1926 left Kobe, Japan in search of adventure. Later he would reminisce on that fateful day when he came face to face with a placard in front of a train station with the words “Onward ...

Read more

community en ja pt

The Yama Project

Introduction to the Yama Project

This project is a documentary of a Japanese farming and arts community in Brazil known as Comunidade Yuba. The farm is located in a rural agricultural region in the western part of Sao Paulo state. Ranging in age from fourth-generation newborns to first-generation Nikkei immigrants now in their 90s, the farm of seventy members is home to several related families. Known for its annual theatrical Christmas performance and modern dance troupe, Comunidade Yuba warmly welcomes visitors throughout the year. Founded in 1935 by a maverick émigré known as Isamu Yuba, who left Kobe Japan in ...

Read more