Irene Suyeoka

Irene Suyeoka is a noted weaver and artist in Chicago. She is a member of the Alumni Association of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Textile Arts Centre, American Craft, the Hand Weaver's Guild of America, the North Shore Weavers' Guild, and the Marli Guild. She continues to create and weave, and she teaches design and weaving classes.

Updated July 2008

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Voices of Chicago


Kibei (from the Japanese ki = return, bei = America) refers to an American of Japanese ancestry, who is raised in Japan, but returns to America. She is a perpetual outsider, an American while in Japan, and Japanese when she returns.

My Japanese American story began with my grandmother, who left Japan, one of only two women on a ship bound for America. She landed in Hawaii, where my father, Shinishi Nishimoto, was born, and eventually settled in Fresno, California, where I was born. We were not part of a Japanese American community, which is part of a pattern throughout my life ...

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