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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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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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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Digging into Japanese American Farming History on Vashon Island, Washington

Like many Sansei, I have agricultural roots. My father’s family worked as sharecroppers during the Depression. My aunties have told stories of harvest time, of the youngest auntie running away to read a book in the orchards. As for me, I grew up in California’s Central Valley and have been spoiled by an abundance of fresh produce for most of my life. Boxes of Satsuma mandarins each November. Flats of yellow and white peaches, baskets of strawberries just minutes from our house, where we visited our farmer’s market each week.

I recently had a chance to revisit ...

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Beyond the Panama Hotel: More Sites Related to Japanese American History in Washington State

In the Pacific Northwest, there are a couple of famous sites related to Japanese American history, such as Seattle’s Panama Hotel (made famous by Jamie Ford’s novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), where Japanese Americans stored their belongings during their mass incarceration. Locals from Seattle may know about the Aki Sogabe murals in Pike Place Market, a tribute to the Japanese American farmers of the state. And then there is Bainbridge Island’s beautiful National Parks monument, Nidoto Nai Yoni, which I described in 2014 for Discover Nikkei.

However, given my adopted state’s multifaceted ...

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Objects Waiting to Speak: Starting to Tell the Japanese American History of Fife, Washington

The Fife History Museum is a converted midcentury home, awaiting its next stage of storytelling—but it’s a place filled with objects waiting to speak.

“I had no idea just how big the Japanese community of Fife-Auburn-Kent was until I began working for the historical society,” says Julie Watts, the museum’s director. “I look at our Japanese artifacts and files and think, ‘I have got to figure out how to transform what we have into compelling, emotional stories that will enlighten the minds of our citizens and visitors.’”

Fife is a small town in Washington State—with a ...

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Resistance at Tule Lake—Talking with Filmmaker Konrad Aderer

In these difficult political times, resistance appears every day—from marches to political organizing to Star Wars movies to hashtags. But for many within the Japanese American community, resistance remains a difficult and painful topic. Yonsei Konrad Aderer’s latest documentary, Resistance at Tule Lake, seeks to address that topic, focusing on the most controversial of the ten long-term concentration camps by the War Relocation Authority.

Back in 2015 (and 2013), Aderer spoke with Discover Nikkei writer Norm Ibuki about the film and its making. Since then the issue of mass incarceration has reopened “seemingly out of the blue, [taken ...

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