Patricia Wakida

Patricia Wakida is the editor of two publications on the Japanese American experience, Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience, and Unfinished Message: the collected works of Toshio Mori. For the past fifteen years, she has worked as a literary and community historian, including Associate Curator of History at the Japanese American National Museum, Contributing Editor for Discover Nikkei website, and as an Associate Editor of the Densho Encyclopedia project. She serves on various non-profit boards including Poets & Writers California, Kaya Press, and the California Studies Association. Patricia has worked as an apprentice papermaker in Gifu, Japan and as an apprentice letterpress printer and hand bookbinder in California; she maintains her own linoleum block and letterpress business under the Wasabi Press imprint. She is a Yonsei, whose parents were incarcerated as children in the Jerome (Arkansas) and Gila River (Arizona) American concentration camps. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband Sam and Gosei, Hapa (Japanese Mexican) son, Takumi.

Updated August 2017

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The Ultimate Good: Grace Pastries

“Weddings are the most superstitious of holidays. And the cake? Well it’s like any marriage, right? I won’t say the cake is human, but the cake is something special.”

—Mary, a former Grace Pastries customer

Talk to anyone who grew up in the Crenshaw district of southwestern Los Angeles and they’ll tell you how they remember the sweet aroma that once spilled from the doors of Grace Pastries. At Grace Pastries, the cake was king; a symbolic reward that came as a result of the Japanese American communities’ hard-earned post-war successes. For every wedding, every graduation, every ...

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THROUGH THE FIRE: Louise Suski

Before the advent of the offset printing process, The Rafu Shimpo handset every word, every comma, every dingbat and ornamental header, utilizing drawers of lead type. In the case of the Rafu, the metal kanji used to compose each page must have been imported from Japan and cost a fortune, weight several tons in total. In 1926, it was the oldest and largest Japanese newspaper serving the immigrant population of the greater Los Angeles area.

That same year, the Rafu made a bold decision to deliver a full set of Roman fonts, heralding a massive transition for the paper. To ...

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Readings of Identity: Asian American Portraits of Encounter

Renowned portrait artist Steve Pyke has said that he is interested in the story each face has to tell, the story that is etched into the landscape of our faces. In 2011 the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC debuted its first Asian American exhibition, Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter (the Gallery was established in 1856). The National Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story, through images that captures the spirit of the person. Accordingly, Portraits of Encounter offers visual representations beyond the stereotypes that obscure ...

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An Interview with Lament in the Night translator Andrew Leong

Last week, Patricia Wakida wrote a profile on translator Andrew Leong on his upcoming book, Lament in the Night, a collection of two novellas by previously forgotten Issei writer, Nagahara Shoson. She also had an opportunity to join Kaya Press staff to interview Andrew about the project. Here is an excerpt from that conversation.

Kaya Press (KP): Why did you decide to start this project?

Andrew Leong (AL): It started out as a language-learning exercise. Very early on, when I just had a basic proficiency in Japanese, it was a way of teaching myself more about the language, but as ...

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Lament in the Night, translated by Andrew Leong

The Tale of Osato is an astonishing fable of pre-war Los Angeles, whose protagonist is a determined young Issei who works herself to the point of collapse every night in a Little Tokyo restaurant to support herself and her infant son. In a particularly harrowing passage, Osato places her son in an orphanage located in the nearby neighborhood of Boyle Heights; a last resort for a desperate single mother who realizes that it is impossible for her to care for her child and earn the money for their survival at the same time. It is a decision with a price ...

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