Tamiko Nimura

Tamiko Nimura is a Sansei/Pinay writer, originally from Northern California and now living in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing has appeared or will appear in The San Francisco Chronicle, Kartika Review, The Seattle Star, Seattlest.com, the International Examiner (Seattle), and The Rafu Shimpo. She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II. 

Updated July 2012 

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Notes from a Hallway: Learning from the History of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple

You could say it really started with a hallway.

Next to the hondo (shrine) at the Tacoma Buddhist Temple, there’s a narrow hallway filled with framed photographs—sepia, black-and-white, panoramic shots, professional portraits. Many of them are group shots in front of the Temple itself, even in various locations. The hallway can’t be much more than 100, 120 feet long. Wood paneling runs along the bottom half of the walls, white walls along the upper half. Many of the photos are close to 80 years old, if not older. There are pictures of Japanese American youth groups, baseball ...

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On "Giving Back"

On October 7th, I was asked to share a story on “what inspires me to give back” to a public event hosted by WILLO (Women’s Intergenerational Living Legacy Organization). WILLO is a Tacoma nonprofit organization devoted to sharing stories across generations and cultures, hoping to inspire the next generation of girls and women. Their events are free and occur once or twice each year. This essay is an adapted version of my talk. 

It’s 2014 and I am walking up to the corner of Pacific Avenue and Commerce in downtown Tacoma, WA, just behind Elemental Pizza. It ...

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A Cup of Water: JA Generations and Practicing Sansei Hope From The Middle

My car radio, usually turned to a news station, has been tuned to a classical music station for months. I don’t avoid the news, but I have had to figure out when to listen to the news, and to protect myself carefully. For the first time in my life—and I know I am fortunate here—I’ve had multiple physical panic attacks since the last presidential inauguration. I think back to November 2016, seeing camp history revisited on current news and feeling a sense of despair, and an inward heartfelt apology to my father and my Nikkei relatives ...

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On “Family Separation” in 2018: One Sansei Atlas of Displacement and Mass Incarceration

As a Sansei, I've been exploring the issue of “family separation,” given the multiple ways that families are being separated due to unjust border policy, travel bans, and mass incarceration. I'm currently writing a family memoir that responds to (and includes passages from) my Nisei father’s unpublished memoir of his wartime imprisonment in Tule Lake. The following is a draft from one of the sections of the memoir.

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1. I Go Back To My Grandfather, My Father And His Family, Separated In Tule Lake*

The agent said, “Say your goodbyes quickly.”
Without hesitating Father went to Hisa ...

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What We Save, How We Save, How We Love: On Family and Community Archives

I’ve been thinking about what we save. 

I’ve been looking through one of my oldest auntie’s scrapbooks. Because I know that it will also fall apart eventually, I asked Densho to digitize what would be useful for others historically, so you too can see some of the scrapbook pages here. Like many Nisei women, she kept a scrapbook of mementoes of her life. Not scrapbooks so much as we know them now, with a million accessories and special papers and glue. But a humble scrapbook with black paper photo corners: with photos of herself, letters, mementoes.

The ...

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