Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In Japanese, kizuna means strong emotional bonds. In 2011, we invited our global Nikkei community to contribute to a special series about how Nikkei communities reacted to and supported Japan following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Now, we would like to bring together stories about how Nikkei families and communities are being impacted by, and responding and adjusting to this world crisis.

If you would like to participate, please see our submission guidelines. We welcome submissions in English, Japanese, Spanish, and/or Portuguese, and are seeking diverse stories from around the world. We hope that these stories will help to connect us, creating a time capsule of responses and perspectives from our global Nima-kai community for the future.

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Although many events around the world have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have noticed that many new online only events are being organized. Since they are online, anyone can participate from anywhere in the world. If your Nikkei organization is planning a virtual event, please post it on Discover Nikkei’s Events section! We will also share the events via Twitter @discovernikkei. Hopefully, it will help to connect us in new ways, even as we are all isolated in our homes.

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 3

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Who were/are the Japanese Canadian culture makers of yesterday, today, and beyond this era of Covid-19?

One name that I have heard from my earlier days is Toronto’s Nobuo Kubota, Governor General’s Award, et al. a former teacher at the Ontario College of Art (now Ontario College of Art and Design) who is often grouped with Kazuo Nakamura (Royal Canadian Academy, born in Vancouver, October 13, 1926 - April 9, 2002), a founding member of the Toronto-based Painters Eleven group in the 1950s and Takao Tanabe (1926 - ), Order of Canada, Governor General’s Award, et ...

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 2

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Reflecting on the art of Yvonne Wakabayashi, second-generation artist Miya Turnbull (daughter of Alberta potter, Marjene Matsunaga Turnbull), and Barb Miiko Gravlin, each of their works has a place in the unravelling narrative of the Japanese Canadian Covid-19 story.

It is humbling to think that here are three generations of Japanese Canadians artists who continue to work at this most difficult time.

Looking at the art that Miya, Barb, and Yvonne are creating with a CoVid-19 lense then, what can be a more powerful expression of these times than Miya’s startling face masks? As a public ...

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Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 1

How do worldwide issues of crisis like a World War or pandemic affect the way artists work?

While I am not aware of any Japanese Canadian artists who were active early in our settlement of Canada, one American Nisei sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) born in Los Angeles, California, is certainly one of the best known sculptors anywhere. His father was the well-known poet, Yone, and his mother the educator-writer Leonie Gilmour (1873-1933) who edited much of Isamu’s writing. Although little is made of the times he was born into, Isamu lived through the Spanish Pandemic of 1918, World War ...

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America’s Ugly History of Xenophobia Resurges with COVID-19

If there’s anything that COVID-19 revealed, it is that xenophobia never went away; it was just hidden. With the rise of COVID-19 cases, hate crimes targeting Asians have increased after having decreased in the 21st century.

Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures or strangers.1 It is the dislike or fear of the customs of people culturally different from oneself. It’s important to note that xenophobia is very similar to racism. However, it differs from racism because racism is rooted in the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits ...

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Kizuna 2020: My Birthday Wish

As I celebrated my 72nd birthday on January 1, 2020 with my family, we greeted each other with Shinnen Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu (Happy New Year) and toasted with sparkling apple cider. My family started the day with ozoni (soup with rice cake). Our dining table was full of osechi ryori (Japanese New Year’s Day food) inside two-tier lacquer boxes called jubako. All day long we ate our favorite Japanese foods. My husband would eat his inari sushi, futomaki sushi with renkon (lotus root), gobo (burdock root), and salmon. My oldest son loved sashimi with hot rice and satoimo ...

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