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.

Twitter/Instagram: @nancymatsumoto

Updated June 2017

community en

West Coast Nikkei Eldercare: Planning for New and More Diverse Systems of Care

Part III-1: Multicultural centers in Sacramento and Los Angeles

West Coast Nikkei eldercare organizations are preparing for a time in the not-too-distant future when Nikkei alone will no longer fill their programs and beds. This was the universal message I heard from the seven organizations I surveyed. Yet at the same time, I sensed a desire to hold on to the Japanese cultural identity that is at the core of organizations such as Keiro Senior HealthCare in Los Angeles and Kimochi, Inc. in San Francisco.

We California Nikkei, especially the Issei and Nisei generations, are a community that formed insular pockets within Caucasian communities. My Issei grandmother, who lived ...

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culture en

When samurai walked the streets of New York

There is a curious gem of an exhibition on now at the Museum of the City of New York, Samurai in New York. The show tells the story of the first official delegation of Japanese to visit the country in 1860, not long after Commodore Matthew Perry forced the ports of Japan to open after 220 years of isolation from “barbarian” foreign influences.

The purpose of the nine-month voyage was to ratify an amity and commerce treaty Japan’s Tokugawa Shogunate signed with the U.S. in 1858. A total of 170 Japanese left from Edo (now Tokyo), including the ...

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war en

Friends With Differences: Lange and Adams at the Oakland Museum of California

When you are researching a topic, somehow relevant stories seem to appear all around you. So it was with this Wall Street Journal story today, on two photography sections in the newly renovated Oakland Museum of California. One is on the work of photographer Dorothea Lange, and one on Group f/64, a group of Bay Area photographers that included Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham.

The two exhibitions highlight two opposing currents in the fertile Northern California photographic scene in the first half of the twentieth century. Lange, who learned her craft as a studio photographer, was radicalized ...

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community en

West Coast Nikkei Eldercare: Planning for New and More Diverse Systems of Care

Part II-2: Nikkei Eldercare in San Francisco and San Jose

>> Part II-1

For those in need of a more intensive level of care than what Kimochi provides, Bay Area seniors can go to Kokoro, a nearby non-profit assisted-living complex that opened in 2003. The facility grew out of a 13-year-long effort by a consortium of church groups, and is headed by a volunteer board of directors, a staff of 27 full-time and 20 part-time employees, and a corps of 25 volunteers, some of whom are old enough to be residents.

Kokoro (the Japanese word for “heart” that combines notions of heart, mind and inner spirit) is located at 1881 Bush ...

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community en

West Coast Nikkei Eldercare: Planning for New and More Diverse Systems of Care

Part II-1: Nikkei Eldercare in San Francisco and San Jose

In 1971, a group of San Francisco Sansei began providing Issei seniors with rides and pedestrian escorts to and from their homes, as well as help with government health benefits applications. The non-profit multi-service care organization Kimochi Inc., located in San Francisco’s Japantown, grew out of these early efforts. Around the same time, Japanese American student activists from San Jose State University and UC Berkley began organizing support systems for elderly Issei, focusing on health fairs in San Jose and housing issues in Berkeley. Over the years, their efforts coalesced to form Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service ...

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