Tamiko Nimura

Tamiko Nimura is a Sansei/Pinay writer, originally from Northern California and now living in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing has appeared or will appear in The San Francisco Chronicle, Kartika Review, The Seattle Star, Seattlest.com, the International Examiner (Seattle), and The Rafu Shimpo. She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II. 

Updated July 2012 

identity en

A Cup of Water: JA Generations and Practicing Sansei Hope From The Middle

My car radio, usually turned to a news station, has been tuned to a classical music station for months. I don’t avoid the news, but I have had to figure out when to listen to the news, and to protect myself carefully. For the first time in my life—and I know I am fortunate here—I’ve had multiple physical panic attacks since the last presidential inauguration. I think back to November 2016, seeing camp history revisited on current news and feeling a sense of despair, and an inward heartfelt apology to my father and my Nikkei relatives ...

Read more

war en

On “Family Separation” in 2018: One Sansei Atlas of Displacement and Mass Incarceration

As a Sansei, I've been exploring the issue of “family separation,” given the multiple ways that families are being separated due to unjust border policy, travel bans, and mass incarceration. I'm currently writing a family memoir that responds to (and includes passages from) my Nisei father’s unpublished memoir of his wartime imprisonment in Tule Lake. The following is a draft from one of the sections of the memoir.

* * * * *

1. I Go Back To My Grandfather, My Father And His Family, Separated In Tule Lake*

The agent said, “Say your goodbyes quickly.”
Without hesitating Father went to Hisa ...

Read more

identity en

What We Save, How We Save, How We Love: On Family and Community Archives

I’ve been thinking about what we save. 

I’ve been looking through one of my oldest auntie’s scrapbooks. Because I know that it will also fall apart eventually, I asked Densho to digitize what would be useful for others historically, so you too can see some of the scrapbook pages here. Like many Nisei women, she kept a scrapbook of mementoes of her life. Not scrapbooks so much as we know them now, with a million accessories and special papers and glue. But a humble scrapbook with black paper photo corners: with photos of herself, letters, mementoes.

The ...

Read more

community en

Digging into Japanese American Farming History on Vashon Island, Washington

Like many Sansei, I have agricultural roots. My father’s family worked as sharecroppers during the Depression. My aunties have told stories of harvest time, of the youngest auntie running away to read a book in the orchards. As for me, I grew up in California’s Central Valley and have been spoiled by an abundance of fresh produce for most of my life. Boxes of Satsuma mandarins each November. Flats of yellow and white peaches, baskets of strawberries just minutes from our house, where we visited our farmer’s market each week.

I recently had a chance to revisit ...

Read more

community en

Beyond the Panama Hotel: More Sites Related to Japanese American History in Washington State

In the Pacific Northwest, there are a couple of famous sites related to Japanese American history, such as Seattle’s Panama Hotel (made famous by Jamie Ford’s novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), where Japanese Americans stored their belongings during their mass incarceration. Locals from Seattle may know about the Aki Sogabe murals in Pike Place Market, a tribute to the Japanese American farmers of the state. And then there is Bainbridge Island’s beautiful National Parks monument, Nidoto Nai Yoni, which I described in 2014 for Discover Nikkei.

However, given my adopted state’s multifaceted ...

Read more