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Nikkei Names: Writing Workshop in Los Angeles

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Discover Nikkei presented a free writing workshop on June 28 at the Japanese American National Museum in conjunction with annual writing series called Nikkei Chronicles #3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João? to explore what your name says about you and the origins of Nikkei names. 

Before the workshop, the instructor Patricia Wakida prepared a warm-up activity and asked participants "Tell us about your names."  Check out their responses in this album.

Slides in this album 

Patricia Wakida Leading the Workshop

Patricia Wakida, a writer, linoleum block artist, and bibliophile, lead a Nikkei Names writing workshop in Little Tokyo on June 28, 2014. 

Nikkei Names Workshop in Little Tokyo
Contributed by: editor

Arlene Reiko Nakamura

My first name, Arlene, was given to me by my dad because he liked the actress Arlene Dahl. The kanji for my middle name comes from the word “kirei”, “beautiful”, ha ha.

Arlene Reiko Nakamura
Contributed by: editor

Sakura Kato

Because I was born in Japan, my parents chose to give me a Japanese name. Having immigrated to California right before kindergarten, I grew up in Orange County always wondering why I didn't have a middle name like my friends. 

Read her story that she developed during this ...

Sakura Kato
Contributed by: editor

Chiyo Niimi

When I was born in 1937 I was considered a “blue baby” and my feared that I would no survive. This is why my father named me Chiyo:1000 years, eternal. He told me later that he gave me the name so that I have a long life.

I grew up ...

Chiyo Niimi
Contributed by: editor

Kimiko McCown

My father told me my name meant warmth & happiness. I was not named for anyone. I do not recall why I was named Kimiko.

I thought, at first, that my name was kind of rare/different as I had never met or heard of anyone with my name.

Within the ...

Kimiko McCown
Contributed by: editor

Jasper Ferehawk

My first name, Jasper, was decided for a variety of reasons. First off, a good friend of my parents began working as a park ranger on Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve a couple months before I was born. Secondly, my parents are big fans of the artist Jasper Johns. And lastly, ...

Jasper Ferehawk
Contributed by: editor

Toshiko

Toshiko is my middle name. I was always “so so” about this name, but now that I looked up the meaning of this name – it’s not that bad- It means genius child or clever child.

Actually, I didn’t like it that much because it has the name “Tosh” in ...

Toshiko
Contributed by: editor

Patricia Miye Wakida

Three years ago, I was married here in Los Angeles- at Zenshuji Soto Temple in Little Tokyo, to a wonderful man of Mexican American descent. Three weeks prior to the big day, I was confronted with a [something] choice: do I remain a Wakida or do I become a Arbizo?

...

Patricia Miye Wakida
Contributed by: editor

Oscar Madrigal

My mother named me after a Mexican singer of the 60’s. With advent of YouTube, I was finally able to find out who he was. Madrigal is a type of song of the Renaissance Era. I was surprised to find it in the Dictionary.  

Read his story that ...

Oscar Madrigal
Contributed by: editor

Lora Takeko Nakamura

I was told that I was almost going to be a Jennifer or Tera, but Lora was chosen because it was a derivative of my dad’s name John, although I’m not sure why. My middle name means “strong,” or as I was told when I was young. My last name ...

Lora Takeko Nakamura
Contributed by: editor

Patricia E. Takayama

Had I been born a boy, my name would have been Theodore or Teddy, as my parents wanted a son.

As the 2nd daughter, my parents chose a name fashionable at the time. Along with Susan, Linda, and Nancy, Patty was popular. In school, camp, and church, I ran into ...

Patricia E. Takayama
Contributed by: editor

Takasugi Tsuneo

I come from a village-full of Takasugis in small rural area of Okayama Prefecture. It means ‘Tall Cedar Tree’, but it means nothing tin our village/ First name, I’m told, is fit for a Buddhist monk, meaning long life or permanent life.

高 杉 恒 生

My middle ...

Takasugi Tsuneo
Contributed by: editor


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