Susan Yamamura

Susan Yamamura was born in Seattle, WA in 1940. She and her family were sent to Camp Harmony, WA and Camp Minidoka, ID. She graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1962. She first worked as a computer programmer at Space Technology Labs in Redondo Beach, CA and later at the Boeing Co in Seattle. Susan retired from managing a computer and graphics lab in the Chemistry Department at the University of Arizona in 1997.

She had a son with Hank Yamamura; Hank passed away in 2008. She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Updated April 2020

food en

Mochitsuki

One of my fondest memories is of the annual mochi making party that was held at our house in the week after Christmas and before New Year's Day. My Kurosu second cousins, the grandchildren of Jichan’s elder brother, Shinsaku, would come to our house in South Park to make mochi. The sweet mochi rice would have been pre-washed and steamed over pipes from the steam boiler which heated our greenhouses adjacent to our home.

My Kurosu cousins recently told me that they also made mochi at their house, steaming the rice in their greenhouses and using the same ...

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culture en

Gifts from Jichan and Bachan

Dolls

The first gift I remember receiving from Jichan and Bachan was a gift of Japanese culture, the celebration of Girls’ Day or Hinamatsuri, a Japanese holiday celebrated every year on March 3rd. I “remember” my first Girls’ Day now because of photographs taken by my uncle, Shosuke Sasaki. Though not a professional, Uncle Shosuke was an expert photographer and he took a picture of me at about nine months of age in front of a Girls’ Day display in March of 1941. Jichan and Bachan were prospering around that time and even took a cruise to Japan. They were able ...

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identity en

Gifts from Jichan and Bachan

The Home That Jichan and Bachan Built

How Jichan Became an Araki

Although Jichan was born Nisaku Kaneda, the second of four sons in the Kaneda family of Fukui-ken, when he married, he took the family name of his wife, Masa Araki, acting as a yoshi, so that the Araki family name could be continued. Jichan, around twenty-seven years old, and Bachan, about twenty, were married in Tacoma, WA in December of 1913.

Bachan was an only child, and as a female, she could not carry on the Araki name for the Tokyo branch of the Araki family that was established by her father, Kyuzo Araki. Bachan ...

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culture en

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Comfort

This month, we feature California-based Yonsei writer, Kendall Tani, and Arizona-based Sansei writer, Susan Yamamura. Susan’s is a lighthearted parody poem that heralds where we look for some solace during a time of major strife, while Kendall’s first piece featured here, soft bodies, speaks to a relationship with oneself through an intimate practice of shaping earth (and future) by hand. Both reminded me of the ideas of comfort and doing something good for ourselves...like poetry, a vessel through which we might practice introspection, our potential, or a bit of peace....enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kendall Tani is a ...

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culture en

Where to Bury Me

I awoke this morning to memories of the cowboy lament, “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie.” Perhaps the memories had been triggered when I had confronted my mixed feelings about where to be buried. Last evening, I had decided to request burial for the ashes of my deceased husband, Hank, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known to many as the Punchbowl Cemetery, close to Pearl Harbor. Hank had served as a Captain in the United States Army in the Vietnam era. As Hank’s widow, my ashes could be placed with Hank’s ashes in Punchbowl ...

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