Sojin Kim

Sojin Kim is curator and special assistant to the director at the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. From 1998 to 2008, she was curator at the Japanese American National Museum, where she continues to help out as a volunteer.

Updated May 2011

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In Memoriam: Karin Higa (1966–2013)

Karin Higa, JANM Senior Curator of Art from 1992 to 2006 and consultant on later projects, died October 29, 2013, following a battle with cancer. She was a native of Los Angeles who spent most of her career in Southern California, with a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York and a master’s degree in art history from UCLA. At the time of her death, she was pursuing a Ph.D. in art history at USC. She was 47 years old.

The following brief remembrance is from Sojin Kim, a former JANM curator who worked with Higa ...

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PJ & Roy Hirabayashi, 2011 National Heritage Fellows

This September 2011, PJ and Roy Hirabayshi, who led San Jose Taiko for over 35 years, were formally recognized in Washington D.C. as National Heritage Fellows, an award presented annually by the National Endowment for the Arts and the most prestigious honor for artists working in folk and traditional arts. This is the second time that taiko artists have received this distinction, and it reflects how the form, in its diverse styles and philosophies, has become an intrinsic part of the cultural landscape of the United States. 

Taiko and the Heritage Awards

Ten years ago this month, just a ...

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PAUL HOWARD TAKEMOTO and ALICE TAKEMOTO: On Resettlement, Revisiting the Past, and Reconnection - Part 2 of 2

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It took a visit to a cemetery in his father’s hometown in Hawaii—where he learned that his middle name commemorated a childhood friend who had been killed in combat during the war—and the dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial in D.C. in 2000 to pique Paul’s curiosity and begin his engagement with his family’s history. 700 minutes of oral history interviews later, his book Nisei Memories: My Parents Talk about the War Years was published by the University of Washington Press in 2006.

Letting Ken and Alice ...

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PAUL HOWARD TAKEMOTO and ALICE TAKEMOTO: On Resettlement, Revisiting the Past, and Reconnection - Part 1 of 2

Little Tokyo 
one of my favorite places
feels like I’ve come

when my mom was young 
my grandfather took her there
to eat Chinese food

we went back last year 
took a tour of the museum* 
she was so grateful

I hope to return 
dreams of living in LA 
lots of musubi



Paul Howard Takemoto recently composed this haiku. He is a seasoned writer—a published author with 16 years of journalism experience and a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration. He sends these haiku from time to time to staff at the Japanese American National Museum ...

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"Hole Hole Bushi Girl": Interview with Allison Arakawa


On February 27, 2010, the Japanese American National Museum opened its exhibition Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantations of Hawai’i, which featured the extraordinary research of Barbara Kawakami. As part of the opening celebration, the Museum invited singer Allison Arakawa to perform an example of Hole Hole Bushi, a Japanese American folk song form that developed directly from the plantation experiences of the Issei.

Hole Hole Bushi is a hybrid term that combines the Japanese word for tune (bushi) with a Hawaiian term describing the stripping the leaves off of cut sugar cane (hole hole), which ...

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