Jenni “Emiko” Kuida

Jenni “Emiko” Kuida co-authored the original “101 Ways to Tell if You Are Japanese American” with Tony Osumi. She is currently Grants Manager at Koreatown Youth and Community Center and board member of Japanese American Community Services and Venice Youth Council. Her hobbies include gardening, going to obons, and playing Pokemon Go.

Updated August 2017

community en

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Encircle, In Dance

For this month’s Nikkei Uncovered, we wave goodbye to the Obon season with special reflections from a family of activist/artists and a local legend & community organizer. Maiya, Jenni, and Tony Kuida-Osumi share with us poems that tie the dance we do in commemoration of ancestors at Obon, with homage in action to community, to our shared struggle, to Los Angeles. Evelyn Yoshimura brings us a brief essay reflecting on the letting go and the images that spring forth through the dance itself. Hopefully these words will not only resonate with the images that come to your mind during ...

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Nanka Nikkei Voices

The Okazaki-Kuida Resettlement

Both of my parents were young children when E.O. 9066 was signed. My mom, Machiko Okazaki, lived in four places from the ages of four to seven years old. Santa Anita Race Track. Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Crystal City, Texas. Seabrook Farms, New Jersey.

My grandfather, Masashi Bancho Okazaki, a Tenrikyo minister, had been separated from the family because of his occupation as a minister. He was reunited with my grandma and her five children in Crystal City in 1944. Their 9-year old daughter Sumi died in Crystal City of a brain tumor. In 1945, the family headed to the ...

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Nanka Nikkei Voices

Channeling Grandma: Passing on the Gardening Genes

I remember walking through my Grandma Kuida’s garden as a child. She had ten or twelve rows of different vegetables growing, and lots of old rusty cans and tools. Along with a bountiful lemon tree, her small backyard garden near Crenshaw and Jefferson was filled with delicious tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, and zucchinis. When she hunched over with her apron full of fresh-picked vegetables to send home with us, she was 4½ feet tall. But to me, she was a gardening giant.

Before the War, my Issei grandma lived on a cantaloupe farm in Canoga Park, at the west end ...

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Kindergactivism, is that a word?

Some people say that if you bring kids to a political rally, that it’s not age appropriate. Well, we’ve been bringing Maiya to community events since she was two weeks old (Day of Remembrance commemorating the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which led to the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans, including my parents as children and Tony’s grandparents), and her first of 6 annual trips to the Manzanar Pilgrimage was when she was 14 months old.

I may not be as active in the API/activist community as I once was ...

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war en

Seabrook Farms 1945... Thai Garment Workers 1995

Ask any Japanese American enough questions, and you’ll invariably find out that you’re somehow related. You learn that your second cousin went to school with so-and-so’s neighbor, or your friend’s great-uncle used to golf with your dad. It seems like we’re always looking for those ties that bind us together as a community. A common question we JAs often ask is “What Camp were you, your parents, or grandparents in?”

In my case, my mom’s family went from Santa Anita Race Track to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Literally thousands of people can say that, too ...

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