David Yamaguchi

David Yamaguchi is an editor at The North American Post, Seattle’s Japanese community newspaper. A book David co-authored, The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 (Univ. Washington Press, 2005; second ed., 2015), describes how tsunami records from Edo-era Japanese villages helped define today's Pacific Northwest earthquake hazards. It can be perused full-text on Google Books.

Updated September 2020

media en

Katsura Sunshine Rakugo Storytelling

Washin Kai and Town Hall Seattle welcome renowned entertainer Katsura Sunshine for a special performance of unique storytelling called rakugo. Rakugo (from the kanji for Kyoto, the capital, + speech, language) is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan.

Katsura Sunshine starred in the NHK World TV series Dive into Ukiyo-e, emceed the opening reception for the G20 Summit in Osaka in 2019, and has performed in an extended run of shows Off-Broadway. This special, English-language performance will be broadcast live from Tokyo.

Sunshine will perform one traditional rakugo story and another written by his master. That is how he ...

Read more

war en

Fujie Yamasaki, Well-Liked War Bride

Fujie Yamasaki is a person who many readers know. For many years, she was a regular presence at the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival. Until recently, she also routinely volunteered at Keiro Northwest. She is just one of those people whom many can mentally picture as the “lady with her hair tied up in a kerchief, wearing an apron,” quietly doing meaningful, kind things. She comes across as an ordinary, nice mom who goes by her first name.

Yet, beneath her placid exterior, Fujie has a backstory. A first glimpse into it comes from the two-part NHK World documentary, The Lives ...

Read more

war en

Helmet for My Pillow and With the Old Breed

ENGLISH READERS know much about the experiences of Japanese-American families during World War II. Many can also trace the wartime journey of the famed JA 442nd infantry across Europe. Yet, our knowledge base drops quickly when we pull back the viewpoint to include the settings in which Nisei linguists served in the Pacific, translating captured documents and questioning Japanese prisoners of war.

There are several reasons for this. The translators were widely dispersed among many units. There was lingering wartime and postwar secrecy, intended in part to protect the Japan-based relatives of those who served. There is simply a lesser ...

Read more

culture en

Semi-Immersion

ON THURSDAY NIGHT, Nov. 16, 2017, I had a date with my cousin, Diane, to see Kuniko Fukushima sing and play the piano at the Royal Room, a jazz club in Columbia City near our homes.

When I opened the club door and we walked in, the first thing we heard at the reception front desk—without any beating around the bush—was “Nanmei-sama desu ka?” [How many are in your party?] I had to laugh, for the question took me by surprise. For until that moment, Diane and I had been walking on familiar Rainier Valley terrain, a few ...

Read more

community en

Reluctant Islander

These days, Sansei are running out of knowledgeable elders who can tell us of the past. Thus, when I had a chance to join Eileen (Sakamoto) Okada, a longtime docent at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum for lunch on November 6 with her niece—my photographer Gwen Shigihara—I took advantage of the opportunity.

In sitting down with Mrs. Okada, it became clear immediately that she is a person whose words are worth writing down. A Seattle native and alumnus of the Maryknoll Catholic School—on the site of today’s Swedish Cherry Hill Hospital—she described how her attending ...

Read more