Traci Kato-Kiriyama

traci kato-kiriyama is a performer, actor, writer, author, educator, and art+community organizer who splits the time and space in her body feeling grounded in gratitude, inspired by audacity, and thoroughly insane—oft times all at once. She’s passionately invested in a number of projects that include Pull Project (PULL: Tales of Obsession); Generations Of War; The (title-ever-evolving) Nikkei Network for Gender and Sexual Positivity; Kizuna; Budokan of LA; and is the Director/Co-Founder of Tuesday Night Project and Co-Curator of its flagship “Tuesday Night Cafe.” She’s working on a second book of writing/poetry attuned to survival, slated for publication next year by Writ Large Press.

Updated August 2013

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Bite

As we enter the final quarter of 2017, I didn't want to “ease” into fall but rather, take a bite out of it. Maybe there’s something feisty in the air with all the ash and soot and unrest all around us. In any case, this isn’t a time for languor but it could be a time for something a little outside the box. These two pieces—from El Cerrito-based poet Kazumi Chin and writer Lawrence Matsuda, who was born in the Minidoka, Idaho concentration camp during WWII—have their own bite to offer as we step forward ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Mothers—affection, lost & found

This month, we take a somewhat different turn, in presenting some prose from longtime community organizer and LA-native, Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka, and a piece meant for the spoken word stage from Hawai‘i-born/Torrance-raised educator, Kurt Yokoyama-Ikeda. They both sent in pieces about their mothers and I found a yearning, discovery, and ode to their affection, however uniquely expressed over time. The pieces left me hoping they will continue to write and explore even more even about their mothers and how we find and express affection…enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka was born and raised in multicultural Boyle Heights ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Encircle, In Dance

For this month’s Nikkei Uncovered, we wave goodbye to the Obon season with special reflections from a family of activist/artists and a local legend & community organizer. Maiya, Jenni, and Tony Kuida-Osumi share with us poems that tie the dance we do in commemoration of ancestors at Obon, with homage in action to community, to our shared struggle, to Los Angeles. Evelyn Yoshimura brings us a brief essay reflecting on the letting go and the images that spring forth through the dance itself. Hopefully these words will not only resonate with the images that come to your mind during ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Homage

Welcome to poetic homage with this month’s Nikkei Uncovered column. From Tucson, Arizona-based, Heather Nagami, and San Francisco Bay Area-based, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, we have the pleasure of hearing from two Kundiman fellow authors, who speak of the women who hold us, shape our contexts, and grip at the sensibility of our memories. Enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Heather Nagami is the author of Hostile (Chax Press). A Kundiman fellow, her poems have recently appeared in Hawai‘i Review, The Collagist, Print-Oriented Bastards, and The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. Born and raised in Southern California, Heather is the grandniece ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

In Community

For this time of Ramadan and in honor of the longstanding, ever-building relationship between the Japanese American and Muslim communities, I thought I would so very gratefully share this space with one of my own pieces alongside poetry from one of my community sisters, traci ishigo—a super wonderful creative organizer, trauma-informed yoga instructor, and inspiring spirit.

We are both steering committee members of VigilantLOVE—a creative coalition fighting against Islamophobia and in love, solidarity, and community with the Muslim community and beyond. The day of release for this month’s column coincides with an Iftar (breaking of the fast ...

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