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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How Little Tokyo, Los Angeles is approaching community-led recovery through arts and culture

Longtime residents will tell you that Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo almost died in the 1990s. Lasting physical and psychological scars lingered from unjust incarceration during World War II, and the city’s planned Civic Center expansion threatened to further dissolve trust and resident control in the historic neighborhood. Facing a long and uncomfortable history with outsider-led policies and redevelopment, many Japanese American residents had been forced out of Little Tokyo and were not returning.

The COVID-19 crisis threatens to devastate the neighborhood once again. Its eateries, boutiques, and small businesses are struggling to stay afloat amid an unprecedentedly challenging small ...

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Energizing Or End Times For a 117-Year-Old Publication

This is how I go cover a story now. I put on a cloth mask and wash my hands, grab my recorder and put an LAPD press badge around my neck. A while back, photographer Mario Gershom Reyes and I covered Hideki Obayashi of Azuma in Gardena as he fights to keep the restaurant going.

Even with masks on, you can see the strain, exhaustion and worry in his eyes. His wife Genie Nakano stopped by with a tin box of cookies. Our hands are all worn, chapped and dry from constant washing. Places where we meet are now empty ...

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One Of Our Own

Many of us have spent time with folks who have gone through some catastrophic events in their lives. Hearing their stories is humbling, but now we have one of our own.

At one of our last Furutani family dinners before the “stay at home” quarantine, we went around the dinner table to recount any such events in our collective experiences and lives.

I remember as kids we had the “drop drills” and “yellow” and “red” alerts. All were related to a possible nuclear attack circa the Cold War. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis as President Kennedy played chicken with then ...

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Quarantine in Camp: Stories of Other Pandemics

Shortly after leaving Topaz to attend the University of Montana, Missoula, Miyeko Taketa received a letter from her friend Pearl Nugent in February 1944. Nugent, the wife of Reverend Carl Nugent of Topaz’s Protestant Church, shared one interesting story that might interest readers today:

“Yesterday our seven week scarlet fever quarantine came to an end and I went shopping, free as the air, the first time I’ve been out since we returned from Topaz on Christmas afternoon.”1

While Pearl Nugent had the freedom to leave the camp regularly unlike those confined, her story of camp quarantine is ...

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EO9066 vs. COVID-19

I’ve been struggling with what more to say about the pandemic now known as the worst disaster of our lifetimes. I don’t ever remember feeling this fearful and uncertain about the future, particularly knowing as infection and death statistics grow with steady predictability, this highly contagious virus will most certainly infect someone I love, many of whom are in the dangerous high-risk age group.

In the midst of this immediate fear, I realized that most of us baby boomers and younger don’t have the first-hand experience of that other terrifying time in American history when our families ...

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