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 & 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


This month, we feature a visual artist based in New York, Mari Nakano, and a poet based in Los Angeles, Kenji Liu. Their writings speak to language—on words nudging a new mother to invention and genderless wordplay. There is a personal stretching and exploratory vibrancy with each of their works. Enjoy!

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Mari Nakano is a Japanese American designer and writer, obsessive organizer, and creative problem-solver. She currently resides in New York, but has a hands-down deep pride for her home state, California. Right now, she is working on two projects—a cookbook dedicated to her late father ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


This month we feature Suma Yagi, an 89-year-old Nisei based in Seattle whose family was sent to Minidoka during World War II, and Toshi Washizu, a filmmaker originally from Japan who is now based in San Francisco. In light of the commemoration of Executive Order 9066 and the 75th anniversary since its signing on February 19, 1942, their poems are somewhat sobering reads in the context of 2017 and all the reasons we look back in order to take stock of the present and look ahead to the kind of “homeland” we wish to create for our communities. The theme ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


Happy 2017, everyone! With quite the gripping year behind us, I find myself needing to look ahead from a grounded place and in order to do so, I look to all kinds of conversations and all forms of art. To fill up on inspiration, in the way we filled up on delicious food at my mother’s home on New Years Day, is how I’ve chosen to begin this January. As we celebrated the beginning of Nikkei Uncovered with Nisei poet Hiroshi Kashiwagi and Sansei poet Amy Uyematsu as our inaugural poets to the column, I am happy to ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column


For the column’s inaugural post, we wanted to begin with the theme of place, location, and community and to highlight two veteran poets—Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Nisei poet based in San Francisco since 1962, and Amy Uyematsu, Sansei poet and native Angeleno. We are excited to begin with two writers who dedicate much of their creative focus and livelihood to poetry and who have had an influence on so many. Cheers to what their poetry uncovers…

traci kato-kiriyama

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Born in Sacramento in 1922, writer and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi was incarcerated at Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II. His ...

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an homage for Yuri Kochiyama - read at the Los Angeles Memorial for Yuri on August 31, 2014

an homage for Yuri… 


You were 

the first stamp on the letter for the least likely to receive 

the last one to forget a face 

first finger at the light switch

the last one to leave

countless many hold their

“first time I met Yuri”


as if it happened yesterday

before meeting her

i didn’t understand

the meaning

of Star Struck

until my bones shook and

the skin on my arms shrieked

the day she walked in

from a sweltering J-Town afternoon

to rest at Alison’s desk

i was 20 years old

an intern for Karen at ...

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