Keith Uchima

Keith Uchima is a writer, producer and performer in the entertainment industry.  He is also a Graduate Gemologist, G.I.A. specializing in purchasing fine jewelry, watches and coins. He can be contacted at http://www.aandr.info/

Updated July 2012.

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Voices of Chicago

Manzanar: A Son's Journey - Part 3

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Breathless and exhausted from the hot desert sun, jet lag and bus ride, I now believe that I was running only on fumes. At the ceremonies end, Pilgrims of all faiths gathered around the large white memorial stone obelisk. Quiet and somber, priests and pastors take their turns giving service, and then my memory is rocked by the unmistakable sound of a Buddhist Priest chanting and the scent of burning incense. I am thrown back into my childhood hearing the haunting drone from the priests. In my mind’s eye, I can see my mom, Buddhist beads ...

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Voices of Chicago

Manzanar: A Son's Journey - Part 2

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Fast forward. April 28, 6 a.m. In the darkness of the L.A. morning I walk to the bus staging area at St. Francis Xavier Church. Body tired from the flight and time change, I chastise my pitiful self and think of the L.A. Times photo from 1942, which depicts the very same parking lot jam-packed with families and luggage. Bewildered, they have no idea what is in store for them or their children as armed soldiers look on. Although I feel solemn, I am greeted by a cheerful mix of former internees, descendants and ...

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Voices of Chicago

Manzanar: A Son's Journey - Part 1

Please understand…I didn’t want to go to see Manzanar. I NEEDED to go there.

Over the years, whenever I had vacation days available, I would always think of visiting Manzanar, one of the ten concentration camps in the U.S. where nearly 120,000 people, mostly Americans of Japanese descent were racially profiled and imprisoned in 1942, but somehow, it just didn’t seem like a nice getaway from the stresses of everyday Chicago living. I’m pretty certain most descendants of ex-internees feel the same way. Understandable. On a personal level, Manzanar is where my mother Ruth ...

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Voices of Chicago

Growing Up Sansei in Chicago

Normally, I am a fearless writer, but this commission from the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society (CJAHS) has created endless procrastination, writer’s block and even fear for this author. For months, I could not figure out why- but today, it hit me. My generation is hard to define. We’re not supposed to be “too open,” show our emotions or attract attention- all cultural remnants from being racially profiled in America during WWII. We Sansei (Third Generation Japanese American) are furthering the transition that our parents (Nisei) and grandparents (Issei) pioneered, yet we remain largely invisible. Our assimilation is ...

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