Stan Yogi

Stan Yogi is co-author of the award-winning books Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (with Laura Atkins), and Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants Strikers and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California (with Elaine Elinson). He is the co-editor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. His essays have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and academic journals and anthologies.

Updated October 2019

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Coming Out, Coming Home

I am a Japanese American, and I am a gay man.

For most of my life, the intersection between those two identities has been claustrophobically thin, leaving me never feeling completely at home in either space. The Nikkei community has been a comforting base for me, but it’s also generated painful homophobia. Similarly, the gay community has been the source of great joy, but it’s also been the site of hurtful racism.

Still, I could not sever my ties to either community because both are core parts of me.

Growing up in Gardena during the 1960s and 1970s ...

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This, I Think, They Deserve to Have: The Ministry and Advocacy of Rev. Mineo Katagiri for Gay and Marginalized People - Part 2

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Urban Ministry

In 1965, United Church of Christ's officials in Seattle launched an experimental “Ecumenical Metropolitan Ministry” to focus on complex problems like poverty, racism and drug abuse. “We want to ask you to move from the campus to the city and become a metropolitan minister for the city,” Katagiri remembered his UCC superiors telling him when they recruited him to become the Metropolitan Ministry’s first staff person.1

To prepare him for his new job, UCC leaders sent Katagiri to Chicago in January 1965 for a month-long training, which included living on the frigid ...

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This, I Think, They Deserve to Have: The Ministry and Advocacy of Rev. Mineo Katagiri for Gay and Marginalized People - Part 1

More than half a century ago, Mineo Katagiri, a Nisei minister in Seattle, publicly championed the rights of gay people and facilitated the formation of the first gay-rights organization in that city.

The straight, married clergyman forged an unusual path to advocate for the acceptance of gay people in an era when homosexuality was not only the target of religious condemnation but also legal criminalization.

But his stance was consistent with his belief that society would not prosper unless it encouraged self-worth and empowerment for every individual, especially those most scorned and oppressed.  

Calling to the Ministry

When asked what ...

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

What spirits whisper...

This month we are treated to two highly-lauded, accomplished writers and community heroes – Naomi Hirahara and Stan Yogi. Their pieces step out of each writer’s usual practice and into the poetry featured here (and we will surely feature more of their poetry in the future!). When I read through each of the poems we feature for this October issue of Nikkei Uncovered, I swear I can hear whispers of ghosts...a swirl of voices yearning to break free and be present in the place of visibility and homage.  If nothing else, the writer is witness – and the poetry here ...

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