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

What we hold

Over the past several years, Vigilant Love (an organization working towards safety and justice of communities impacted by Islamophobia and violence), has hosted a community Iftar bringing together hundreds of Muslim, Japanese American, and other Los Angeles community members in the spirit of many years of solidarity practice between our communities. This was the first year the program had to be virtual due to Covid-19, but over 170 people still came together for the online breaking of the fast. I had the great honor of working with Vigilant Love’s Solidarity Arts Fellows to collaborate and support their group performances ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

On the inside

Welcome to another special edition of Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column. Two staff I work closely with at the Japanese American National Museum, public programs extraordinaire Joy Yamaguchi and digital guru Vicky Murakami-Tsuda, allowed me to facilitate a process with them to write poetry grounded in this particular era of Covid-19, lockdowns, missing and finding family, and the overall unknown of now. They took a risk, trusted the process, and ran with it and crafted some really lovely work. We thought it would be fun to try something new, especially since the day this publishes we will also have our ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Comfort

This month, we feature California-based Yonsei writer, Kendall Tani, and Arizona-based Sansei writer, Susan Yamamura. Susan’s is a lighthearted parody poem that heralds where we look for some solace during a time of major strife, while Kendall’s first piece featured here, soft bodies, speaks to a relationship with oneself through an intimate practice of shaping earth (and future) by hand. Both reminded me of the ideas of comfort and doing something good for ourselves...like poetry, a vessel through which we might practice introspection, our potential, or a bit of peace....enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kendall Tani is a ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Spare Abundance

In a time of ever changing and heightened needs for social distancing, self isolation and attention to the greatest ways we can care for oneself and each other, I’m grateful to still be able to share two short poems from artists Courtney Ozaki and Margaret Ozaki Graves, both of whom are based in Denver. Their pieces speak to the solace we can find in moments of quiet, solitude, and reflection—and that the resilience before us or inside of us is ever present if we’re paying attention. 

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Courtney Ozaki is a creative producer based in Denver ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Locale

This month I was inspired by the Little Tokyo Candidates Forum that occurred at the top of the month, to present an opportunity for all current city council candidates a chance to speak with the community. The forum, with many passionate expressions for the neighborhood, made me think on locality, affinity and the infinite ways with which you can fall in love with a community. I thought it would be fun at long last to feature a behind the scenes tech genius who works at Little Tokyo Service Center and is also a private poet - Cleveland, Ohio born and raised ...

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