Nancy Matsumoto

Nancy Matsumoto is a freelance writer and editor specializing in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food, arts, culture and health. She has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Time, People, Civil Eats, NPR’s The Salt, TheAtlantic.com and the online Densho Encyclopedia of the Japanese American Incarceration, among other publications. She is also the co-author of the book The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating & Positive Body Image at Home.

Nancy is currently seeking a publisher for the English-language translation of her grandparent’s tanka poetry collection, ミシガン湖畔/By the Shore of Lake Michigan.

Updated June 2017

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

In Minamisanriku, Surveying the Aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

On my last day in Minamisanriku, a small group of us from World in Tohoku signed up for a tour of the town’s downtown coastal area, which was decimated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

Until then we had been immersed in brainstorming ways to grow the organizations of a group of dedicated and inspiring social entrepreneurs. They were so positive, and so alive that it was hard to viscerally grasp the scope of the natural disaster that had spawned some of their ventures. I wanted to learn more about the effects of the disaster that ...

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Growing Social Impact Ventures in Tohoku, Japan

I’ve just returned from an eye-opening odyssey to the Tohoku region of Japan with the non-profit social entrepreneurship organization World in Tohoku (WIT). Through WIT I was able to meet some of the people behind the dynamic social ventures formed in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster and learn how they are trying to improve social, environmental, and living conditions in the region.

Located in the northeastern part of Japan, Tohoku is a beautiful region filled with awe-inspiring bays and coastal coves, forests, deep-green mountains and fields, amazing seafood, and warm-hearted people. They’ll ...

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Revisiting Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray: An interview with Robert Nakamura and Karen Ishizuka

Fifteen years after its 2001 release, the award-winning documentary film Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray will be screened at the Japanese American National Museum on May 14. A restrained, sensitive depiction of Miyatake as a major contributor to the vital Japanese American arts scene before World War II and the effect that the war had on his life and art, the film was called “eloquent and deeply moving” by The Los Angeles Times.

Director Robert Nakamura and producer Karen Ishizuka look back on the making of the film and share their thoughts about the famous photographer of Los Angeles ...

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JANM Photo Exhibition: Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank

The 1942 incarceration of people of Japanese descent in America and Canada following the bombing of Pearl Harbor has been portrayed in scholarly histories, works of art, and the cinema. Yet comparisons of the Nikkei experiences in the two neighboring countries have been rare to non-existent. The upcoming exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), Two Views: Photographs of Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank, will provide the context for just such a comparison.

Ansel Adams, the widely revered photographer of Yosemite and the West, visited and photographed the Manzanar prison camp and its residents in California four times in ...

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Bon Yagi: Emperor of New York’s Japanese East Village - Part 2

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Family is important to Yagi, explains his daughter Sakura, because his own was fractured when he was very young. His father died when he was five, leaving his mother to raise Yagi and his four brothers on her own. Before his life was cut short, Yagi’s father, “had a vision of technology taking over the future” of Japan, recalls Yagi. Anticipating the change, he moved from selling fish by bicycle rickshaw to selling electrical lamps for fishing boats. After the family home was burned down during World War II he had to start over from scratch ...

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