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Nikkei Detective

Chapter Five—Sansei Anonymous

Naomi Hirahara

Read Chapter Four >> The Sansei guy standing in front of us is the same guy in the photo in my wallet. A little bit skinnier, a little more buff. (He’s obviously been working out during his recovery, while my paunch only gets softer.) I’m convinced that he’s ...

Nikkei Detective

Chapter Four—Waru Bozu

Naomi Hirahara

Read Chapter Three >> A seventy-eight-year-old Japanese woman from Fukushima is found dead from a blow to the head in an alley next to Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo. Her fifty-year-old Sansei son, described as a “loser” by his very uptown sister, walks into the mother’s senior housing unit ...

Nikkei Detective

Chapter Three—If I Had a Hammer

Naomi Hirahara

Read Chapter Two >> Some people read palms. Others read tea leaves. I like to read teeth. No, I’m not one of those weirdoes with strange fetishes. My younger sister, Traci, is a dentist in Yorba Linda and also my only sibling who still talks to me. During the early ...

Nikkei Detective

Chapter Two—All in the Family

Naomi Hirahara

Read Chapter One >> It turns out that the dead body discovered near the parking lot of Japanese Village Plaza in Los Angeles was not my fourteen-year-old daughter’s. It was of a much older Asian woman in her seventies. Name not released. At least that’s what it says in ...

Nikkei Detective

Chapter One—False Confession

Naomi Hirahara

“I did it,” I tell them. I sit in a back room of the Little Tokyo Koban, a visitor’s center and community police outpost on First Street in downtown L.A. Standing in front of me are the Koban manager; my best friend, Cesar Soto; and Officer Doug Brenner ...

TAT MASTER - Part 3 of 3

Naomi Hirahara

Read Part 2 >>  I took me an hour to finally locate where Shawn Finche had been hospitalized. It was in the ICU at a Catholic hospital in the middle of Los Angeles. I had seen ads about it in the Japanese newspaper; they apparently had a Japanese wing, in which ...

TAT MASTER - Part 2 of 3

Naomi Hirahara

Read Part 1 >> I woke up the next morning with my throat parched. Was I coming down with something? My throat was the weakest part of my body. Whenever I got sick, I felt it in my throat first. I tried gargling with salt water but it only made me ...

TAT MASTER - Part 1 of 3

Naomi Hirahara

“What’s your real name?” GEISHA GIRL asked, picking up my business card after I was finished with him.

Japanese American National Museum Magazine

Master Artisans of San Jose: The Nishiura Brothers

Naomi Hirahara

If you’ve ever visited San Jose’s Japantown, odds are you’ve stepped in a building constructed by the Nishiura brothers. Born in Nara prefecture and raised in the shadow of ancient temples, the two brothers, Shinzaburo and Gentaro, learned their carpentry skills from their father Tsurukichi, himself a ...

The Last Days of Daikon Ashi

Naomi Hirahara

When my uncle in Tokyo spotted me in Narita Airport in Japan, he almost breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, you are like the old model,” he said, picking up my carry-on baggage.I was 21 years old, and too busy absorbing the rush of businessmen and tourists to register ...

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Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award-winning author of two mystery series set in Los Angeles. Her Mas Arai series, which features a Hiroshima survivor and gardener, has been translated into Japanese, Korean and French. Her first Mas Arai novel, SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI, is currently being developed into an independent film. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper and curator of historical exhibitions, she has also published noir short stories, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction books, including TERMINAL ISLAND: LOST COMMUNITIES OF LOS ANGELES and two biographies for the Japanese American National Museum, including AN AMERICAN SON: THE STORY OF GEORGE ARATANI, FOUNDER OF MIKASA AND KENWOOD. Co-written with Heather Lindquist, a book on the struggles of Japanese Americans after being released from Manzanar concentration camp (LIFE AFTER MANZANAR) was published by Heyday Books in 2018. Her seventh and final Mas Arai mystery, HIROSHIMA BOY, was released the same year. Set to be released in September 2019, her new mystery, ICED IN PARADISE, will follow the adventures of Leilani Santiago, who operates her family’s shave ice business in Kaua’i. She received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • language

Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

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