Darryl Mori

Darryl Mori is a writer based in Los Angeles, specializing in the arts and the nonprofit sector. A Sansei and a native of Southern California, he has written for UCLA and the Japanese American National Museum, where he serves as a volunteer. He currently works in fundraising and external relations for Art Center College of Design.

Updated December 2012

identity en

Finding Asian American Family Histories: Genealogist Marisa Louie Lee

“I will never forget seeing my great-grandfather’s photograph in his immigration case file,” Marisa Louie Lee recalls. “The moment I opened the folder and saw the spitting image of my grandfather in front of me, I knew it was him. I cried in the research room!”

For Lee, a researcher and genealogist, exploring family histories has a lot of personal meaning.

“I have always been my family’s de facto ‘family historian,’ starting with the family newsletter I wrote and edited in elementary school,” she says. “As a sophomore in college, I paid a visit to the National Archives ...

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culture en

Mike Saijo: Remaking the Rules Through Art

Mike Saijo vividly recalls the day art changed his life.

“After college I went on a road trip as a ‘carnie,’ a carnival worker, to Northern California, Oregon, and Washington,” Saijo says. “After being on the road for eight months, I stopped off at Weed, California, in a campground, and had an emotional breakdown.”

“I had reached a fork in the road where I felt I had to make a decision, either remain a carnie or dedicate my life to becoming a dedicated working artist,” he explains. “Five beautiful horses way in the distance from the ranch next door came ...

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war en

From Beets to the Battlefield: How WWII Farm Laborers Helped the War Effort

Museum volunteer and docent James Tanaka thought something was missing from an exhibition and it bothered him.

The Japanese American National Museum’s long-running exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community, seen by more than one million visitors, chronicles the history of Americans of Japanese ancestry from the 1800s to the present. In one of its text panels, the exhibition mentioned that some Japanese Americans who had been unjustly incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II were temporarily released. The reason for the release was that laborers were urgently needed in other parts of the country to help with ...

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sports en

Driving Diversity: Kyle Larson, First Japanese American to Win at NASCAR

In August 2016, Kyle Miyata Larson made sports history by becoming the first Japanese American driver to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series—NASCAR’s top level of racing.

Larson began racing at the age of seven. Today the 24-year-old is already an accomplished professional in racing, having previously won multiple other NASCAR titles. His recent Sprint Cup win was seen as a victory not only for him as an individual driver but also for diversity in the sport. Larson’s mother is Japanese American, and her parents were unjustly incarcerated during World War II in ethnic concentration camps.

Earlier ...

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war en

Q&A with Morgen Young, Curator of Uprooted Exhibition on WWII Nikkei Farm Laborers

During World War II, sugar was in urgent demand. Beyond its use in food products, sugar beets were converted to industrial alcohol and used in the manufacturing of munitions and synthetic rubber.

Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II is a traveling exhibition produced the by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. Featuring historical images by noted federal photographer Russell Lee integrated with video content, the exhibition examines how Japanese American laborers became an essential part of the wartime sugar industry.

Discover Nikkei had the chance to engage the exhibition’s curator, Morgen Young, for an interview about ...

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