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.

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Seize—transformation & renewal

Leaving the end of a long 2020 while entering 2021 with a combination of uncertainty, excitement, determined joy, and perpetual angst, I thought it fitting to have this month’s theme derive its inspiration from the writer and the title of his latest book of poetry, Seize. This month’s feature, Brian Komei Dempster—a Sansei author and educator based in the Bay Area of California—graciously provided us with a handful of beautiful pieces from Seize, based upon my request to think on the ideas of “transformation” and “renewal.” The two we are able to present here are striking ...

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Wonder

To close out 2020 and recognize it as a time of challenge, reckoning and coming together, we are excited to end on a strong and beautiful note with this month's feature. We are happy to host the return to Nikkei Uncovered by Mariko Fujimoto Rooks and, this time, feature Mariko alongside her father, Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks (while it's his first time in this poetry column, he is certainly no stranger to Discover Nikkei). You'll want to check out essays from both of them on the Discover Nikkei site, but first - heed their collaborative piece, this intergenerational ...

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Moonlight

We have the immense pleasure of presenting several haiku from Boshichō Okamura for November. Ever since his grandson, Michael Okamura (of the Little Tokyo Historical Society), began sharing his haiku with me, I've dreamed of recreating a haiku club in Little Tokyo in homage to the Agosto-Sha poetry club that Boshichō co-founded in the early 1920s. No matter what time of year or moment of strife we are going through in the world, there's a wonderful light and solace I find through these poems. It is a great honor to share several haiku (alongside some great photographs) in ...

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Reflections

Hello to you all in the midst of October and the beginning of our final quarter for 2020. I’ve asked the folks we’re featuring this quarter to share pieces of reflection, whether of the immediate, or of a lifetime thus far. Today’s piece from San Francisco-based, Shin-Nisei, Yukiya Jerry Waki, is a look at many voices and stories over time that have crossed his path on a journey of moments, and memories made. Enjoy...

— traci kato-kiriyama

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Yukiya Jerry Waki works as an advocate for re-envisioning nutrition programs in schools. He moonlights as a spoken word artist, writer ...

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Inspiration

Hello Discover Nikkei network! I am beyond thrilled this month to bring this pair of poets to the Nikkei Uncovered poetry column. LA-born and raised, veteran Sansei poet and our inaugural feature for the column back in 2016, Amy Uyematsu returns to us with a beautiful piece about Tanko Bushi (that had me yearning ever more for Obon this summer). And first time with this column, we have National spoken world champ and hip hop artist, G Yamazawa out of Durham, North Carolina with one of my favorite pieces that I hope you all will have the pleasure of someday ...

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