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

Circles, Cycles, Commemoration

This month, as we commemorate EO 9066, we thought it fitting to honor one of our longest standing and veteran poets, Mitsuye Yamada. At 95 years of age, she has been published for several decades and is still going. Here, she shares with us some previous work as well as a new piece from her forthcoming book, FULL CIRCLE. Enjoy the poetic fire of the great Mitsuye Yamada...

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Mitsuye Yamada was born in Kyushu, Japan in 1923. She grew up in Seattle, Washington.

In 1942, when Mitsuye was 17, her family was among 120,000 persons of Japanese ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Japanese American Women Speak

For this month’s column, opening us into a whole new year, I’m so happy to feature healer and artist kyoko nakamaru and filmmaker Tani Ikeda, who together are co-founders of JAWS — Japanese American Women Speak. They are both based in Los Angeles, California (Kyoko via Wisconsin and Iowa, and Tani via Seattle). Both selections here are impassioned pieces by two fierce Nikkei who call on us to listen, respond and heal with the world around us.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kyoko Nakamaru is an interdisciplinary artist, storyteller, writer, spiritual counselor, and hobby musician who uses her relationship with ancestors and ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Sansei

As a younger Sansei/older Yonsei, I've been reflecting a lot on the big sisters and cousins of the Sansei generation who have raised or influenced many of us in our activism, community involvement, and understanding of ourselves as connected to others. This month, we feature pieces of generational and personal reflection from two Sansei - writer Patricia Takayama from the San Fernando Valley, and NCRR founding member, Janice Yen, who is based in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Janice Iwanaga Yen is a retired retailer and long-time community volunteer. She is a founding member of NCRR (National Coalition for ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Honoring

This month, we are greatly honored to present a poem by renowned and beloved Peruvian poet, the late José Watanabe. In turn, his poetry here honors the 75th birthday of his mama and the indelible impact of mothers. The wonderful translation for the poem is provided by Michelle Har Kim. Joining Mr. Watanabe is a pair of poetic fragments from another the Los Angeles-based and another literary treasure, Sesshu Foster. To have two renowned Nikkei Latino writers published together in this column is something I’ve been very excited to do for quite some time now. Enjoy.

— traci kato-kiriyama

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The ...

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culture en ja

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Longing

This month, we feature poetry in Nihongo (with English translation) from Tomiko Matsumoto and Gennosuke Matsumoto, who were both originally from Chiba and eventually married there, before living in Seattle and later imprisoned in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming concentration camp during World War II. Their poetry here comes through that lens—two short tales of lamentation.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Tomiko Matsumoto was was born on August 30, 1900 in Nakano (current Kimitsu city), Chiba Prefecture, and immigrated to Seattle in the early 1920s. She and her family were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming from 1943 to 1945. There, under the poet ...

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