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

culture en

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

FIRE

Fire. No, not in reference to the countless acres of land and livelihood burning across California this summer. But perhaps subconsciously inspired by the precarious path nature takes us on, I was drawn to this theme and to featuring these pieces meant for the mature reader of this month’s column. A prose piece from Alameda, California-based Colleen “Coke” Tani and a poem from Portland-based Jenna Yokoyama - these are searing pieces that speak in turns, facing inward and outward, inviting us in to moments where we need breath, we call for reckoning, we demand to heal.

— traci kato-kiriyama

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Colleen “Coke ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Short Form - Haiku and Senryu

This month I thought we’d have a little fun with short form and featuring two creative community members who are dear to the Japanese American and Little Tokyo communities. Sunny Seki (a.k.a. Sankyaku Seki) has taught senryu (a short form similar to haiku but with a focus on the human condition over a focus on seasons and nature) and curated and edited a wonderful collection of 100 years of Japanese American gardeners’ stories through senryu. Fran Ito, who shares a handful of haiku here, is an avid senior filmmaker with the Digital Histories program through Visual Communications ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Weaving

Happy summer, everyone! We’re excited to bring two more new voices to the Discover Nikkei platform - originally from the Midwest and now residing in LA, Kyoko Nakamaru; and originally from the South Bay and now residing in Portland, A’misa Chiu. Kyoko’s pieces connect her sense of self to another time and another shore in her lineage. A’misa’s deeply personal piece weaves in and out of the context of cultural silence sometimes too well known within Nikkeihood. Both poets’ pieces connect through language, aching, longing and all that is carried in the body and through the ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Inspiration

From Shin Nikkei Kyoko Takenaka (aka Jinjabrew) and Sansei Patty Nagano, we have pieces that span various themes of inspiration. From Kyoko we have lovely and fierce words on “femme” themes, from mothers to sisterhood. And knowing that Patty had just returned from Japan, I asked her if she would graciously oblige by quickly putting something together from the inspiration that abounds in the springtime—so thankful that she did. Enjoy!

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Patty Ito Nagano is a retired elementary school teacher. She moved to Downtown Little Tokyo with her husband Steve in 2011. She loves living in Little Tokyo ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Transformation

This month’s column gave two writers the theme of “transformation.” One set of poetry was submitted in Spanish, by Rey Fukuda Salinas, born in Japan and raised internationally in places including Japan, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. One submission came in English, by Candace Kita, born and raised in Chicago and currently based in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

- traci kato-kiriyama

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Candace Kita is an arts and cultural worker weaving multidisciplinary art practice, social justice organizing, and nonprofit administration. Currently, Candace serves as the Cultural Work Manager at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). She also co-founded grassroots collective Arts ...

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