Sharon Yamato

Sharon Yamato is a writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles. She has produced and directed two documentary films, Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn, and A Flicker in Eternity. She also wrote Moving Walls: Preserving the Barracks of America’s Concentration Camps. She has written articles for the Los Angeles Times, and is currently a columnist for The Rafu Shimpo. She has served as a consultant for the Japanese American National Museum, Go For Broke National Education Center, and has conducted oral history interviews for Densho in Seattle.

Updated June 2014

culture en

Rediscovered Art at Heart Mountain

It’s no secret that Heart Mountain was the inspiration for many artists held in captivity at the incarceration center that bore its name. The lonely peak towering over the vast wasteland of Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin became a symbol of isolation, perseverance, and hope for many who lost their freedom while under its spell—a symbol that most likely roused a number of artists like Estelle Peck Ishigo, the celebrated Caucasian sketch artist and watercolorist known for having been voluntarily imprisoned with her Nisei husband. Ishigo used the peak for the title of her book, Lone Heart Mountain, while ...

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On a Soul-Searching Journey with Kishi Bashi


Kishi Bashi at the Skirball Cultural Center on August 23, 2018.

Striding onto the Skirball Cultural Center’s Sunset Concert stage before a full house, Kishi Bashi (née Kaoru Ishibashi) picks up his violin and conducts the string players behind him with reserved but palpable authority. He expertly bows and strums the violin, confidently directs the accompanying strings, and opens up with a sweet sounding vocal that brings cheers from an audience that has clearly followed him from the release of his first solo album in 2014. In the tradition of rock bands like ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), he ...

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Warehouse on the Corner of Gardena and Orchard*

At 94 years old, sprightly Ray Harbold has a twinkle in his eye as he sits in front of his treasured model train set while talking about playing golf up until only a few months ago. The years have slowed his faculties a bit, but there are still vestiges of the strong and agile man who ably ran the family business, Harbold Auto Electric, a Gardena, CA institution that was established just a few years after Ray was born. The business has since closed its doors, but the family still leases the property to a radiator shop that sits on ...

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The Heart of a Resister: Takashi Hoshizaki

It’s unfathomable that the affable white-haired Nisei with the quiet laugh could ever be accused of being unpatriotic or cowardly. There’s nothing about this active 90-year-old, former Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientist with a Ph.D. in botanical science that could be construed as either weak or disloyal. On the contrary, Takashi (Tak) Hoshizaki, who signs everything with kokoro kara (a phrase that contains much more heart than its loose English translation of “sincerely” suggests), is a humble man who exudes nothing but warmth and integrity.

Even after spending nearly three years in a federal penitentiary, Hoshizaki holds ...

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identity en

An Idyllic Detour from Hiroshima

On August 5, 1945, a cataclysmic event forever turned Hiroshima into the site of an international nightmare—much like the World Trade Center will always be linked to 9/11. On his recent historic trip to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on April 11, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry called the experience “gut-wrenching” and added, “Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial.”

If Kerry succeeds in convincing President Obama to become the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima later in the year, the city that was decimated by the world’s first ...

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