Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column is a space for the Nikkei community to share stories through diverse writings on culture, history, and personal experience. The column will feature a wide variety of poetic form and subject matter with themes that include history, roots, identity; history—past into the present; food as ritual, celebration, and legacy; ritual and assumptions of tradition; place, location, and community; and love.

We’ve invited author, performer, and poet traci kato-kiriyama to curate this monthly poetry column, where we will publish one to two poets on the third Thursday of each month—from senior or young writers new to poetry, to published authors from around the country. We hope to uncover a web of voices linked through myriad differences and connected experience.

culture en

Inspiration

From Shin Nikkei Kyoko Takenaka (aka Jinjabrew) and Sansei Patty Nagano, we have pieces that span various themes of inspiration. From Kyoko we have lovely and fierce words on “femme” themes, from mothers to sisterhood. And knowing that Patty had just returned from Japan, I asked her if she would graciously oblige by quickly putting something together from the inspiration that abounds in the springtime—so thankful that she did. Enjoy!

—traci kato-kiriyama

 

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Patty Ito Nagano is a retired elementary school teacher. She moved to Downtown Little Tokyo with her husband Steve in 2011. She loves living in Little Tokyo ...

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culture en es

Transformation

This month’s column gave two writers the theme of “transformation.” One set of poetry was submitted in Spanish, by Rey Fukuda Salinas, born in Japan and raised internationally in places including Japan, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. One submission came in English, by Candace Kita, born and raised in Chicago and currently based in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

- traci kato-kiriyama

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Candace Kita is an arts and cultural worker weaving multidisciplinary art practice, social justice organizing, and nonprofit administration. Currently, Candace serves as the Cultural Work Manager at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). She also co-founded grassroots collective Arts ...

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community en

Spring

The new season upon us is ushered in here by Los Angeles/Orange County-based riKu Matsuda and LA-born and raised Rick Noguchi, who each lend us two pieces that spring the many from memories and characters in our lives. There is a familiarity with the lessons learned and shared—of family, work values and awkward first jobs, to the fierce and funny heroes around us in community. Enjoy!

- traci kato-kiriyama 

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Rick Noguchi’s publications include two collections of poetry, The Ocean Inside Kenji Takezo (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), which won the Associated Writing Programs Award Series, and The Wave ...

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culture en

Appetite

This month we have some light and delicious, sweet yet evocative, precious to ephemeral moments through the words shared here by the lovely yogi and artist, Genie Nakano, who hails from the South Bay of Los Angeles, and by Jeff Tanaka, a friend I met a few moons ago over in Toronto. Jeff currently resides, in his words, “on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territory (Victoria, British Columbia).” Enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Genie Nakano is a poet/writer, dancer with a master's degree in dance from UCLA. She currently teaches yoga and tanka at Gardena Japanese Cultural Center. She was ...

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culture en

Open

Happy 2018, folks! Upon entering a new year, we put forth the theme of “open” to writers Mariko Rooks, a Culver City native who is currently studying at Yale, and Pogo Saito, now based in Nyssa, Oregon. Their pieces here explore critical openings between self and the things we want to let go of or draw nearer - there is challenge and reflection felt throughout...enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Mariko Fujimoto Rooks is a mixed race Japanese American and African American first-year student at Yale University, where she studies public health. She serves as an Student Coordinator for Yale’s Asian American ...

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