Tamiko Nimura

Tamiko Nimura is an Asian American writer living in Tacoma, Washington. Her training in literature and American ethnic studies (MA, PhD, University of Washington) prepared her to research, document, and tell the stories of people of color. She has been writing for Discover Nikkei since 2008.

Tamiko just published her first book, Rosa Franklin: A Life in Health Care, Public Service, and Social Justice (Washington State Legislature Oral History Program, 2020). Her second book is a co-written graphic novel, titled We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press/Wing Luke Asian Museum, forthcoming February 9, 2021). She is working on a memoir called PILGRIMAGE.

Updated November 2020

community en

Giving with Gratitude: The Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund

“They were at a picnic in New Hampshire,” says Jean Hibino. Her Nisei parents were UC Berkeley students during World War II, and though they were imprisoned at Tanforan and then Topaz, their time in camp was brief. Thanks to the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, which operated from 1942 to 1946, Hibino’s parents and close to 3600 other Nisei college students were able to leave camp in order to finish their college education, many in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Eventually the Hibinos found “other Japanese American expats” on the East Coast, as Hibino calls ...

Read more

community en

The Way of the Nisei Artist: A Tribute to My Uncle, Hiroshi Kashiwagi

In 1993, I was at long choir rehearsal in college. My friend Marcy was taking Asian American Literature that semester, and during one of the breaks I glanced over at what she was studying.

The book was thick with small print, and was the first of its kind that I’d ever seen: an anthology of Asian American literature, called The Big Aiiieeeee! At the top of one side of the page was a title: “Laughter and False Teeth.” At the top of the opposite page was a name that startled me: Hiroshi Kashiwagi.

“That’s my uncle!” I said ...

Read more

community en

“A Pacific Ocean For The Entire World”—The Panama Canal and Its Nikkei Ties to the Pacific Northwest

“The little package of questions for which your parents don’t have answers,” says Mizu Sugimura, “they will give to you.”

Sugimura is a visual artist and writer from Fife, Washington. She came of age in the 1970s, graduating from the University of Washington and going on to volunteer with the Asian Pacific Women’s Caucus and the redress campaign. Though many members on both sides of her Japanese American family were incarcerated during World War II, they never discussed their experience. Camp had unalterably shattered their sense of selves as Americans, which led to unanswered questions about their pride ...

Read more

culture en

Vashon Island's Japan Festival

August 2019 marks the sixth year that I’ve been writing regularly for Discover Nikkei, and it’s wonderful to see the ongoing work of people, places, and events that I’ve written about before. For example, the City of Auburn, recently updated its efforts to commemorate the Pioneer Cemetery (which I wrote about here), where many Japanese American families are buried. Building on its successful restoration and dedication of the Hori Bathhouse (which I wrote about here), the Neely Mansion Association recently continued its storytelling efforts, honoring the Filipino farmers who also lived at the Neely farm with a ...

Read more

war en

An Open Letter In Support of the Tule Lake Resisters, 2019

In July-August 2019, the National Convention of JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) will be meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Up for consideration is Resolution 3, “A Resolution of the National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League Relating To Recognition and Apology to Tule Lake Resisters.” An earlier draft of this letter was sent to the National JACL Offices and the authors of the resolution.

Dear members of JACL,

I am a Sansei writing in support of Resolution 3, co-sponsored by the Pacific Northwest and Northern California/Western Nevada District Councils urging a resolution and apology to the Tule ...

Read more