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 ja

Short Form - Haiku and Senryu

This month I thought we’d have a little fun with short form and featuring two creative community members who are dear to the Japanese American and Little Tokyo communities. Sunny Seki (a.k.a. Sankyaku Seki) has taught senryu (a short form similar to haiku but with a focus on the human condition over a focus on seasons and nature) and curated and edited a wonderful collection of 100 years of Japanese American gardeners’ stories through senryu. Fran Ito, who shares a handful of haiku here, is an avid senior filmmaker with the Digital Histories program through Visual Communications ...

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culture en

Weaving

Happy summer, everyone! We’re excited to bring two more new voices to the Discover Nikkei platform - originally from the Midwest and now residing in LA, Kyoko Nakamaru; and originally from the South Bay and now residing in Portland, A’misa Chiu. Kyoko’s pieces connect her sense of self to another time and another shore in her lineage. A’misa’s deeply personal piece weaves in and out of the context of cultural silence sometimes too well known within Nikkeihood. Both poets’ pieces connect through language, aching, longing and all that is carried in the body and through the ...

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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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