Kyra Karatsu

Kyra Karatsu was born and raised in Santa Clarita, CA. She is currently a first-year Journalism student at College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA and hopes to transfer to a university after the completion of her AA degree. Kyra is a Japanese-German Yonsei and enjoys reading and writing about the Asian American experience.

Updated January 2021

identity en

My Two Aunt Karens

The name “Karen” has grown to symbolize many things in the recent year. Specifically, it’s become a sort of slang to describe an entitled, conceited woman who cries out for a store’s manager when things don’t go her way. From making a scene at the gas station to harassing teenagers on the street, the name “Karen” has undoubtedly carried a hefty weight.

Ironically, I have two Karens in my life, neither of whom, thankfully, fits such a description. And while this phenomenon has greatly soured their name, my two aunts, nevertheless, represent such a personal aspect of my identity.

My …

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Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities

Grammy-nominated Flutist Ron Korb on his Journey to Japan

There’s a glint of pure excitement in the eyes of Grammy-nominated flutist and composer Ron Korb as he begins to open up about his experiences in Japan. “Every single day, there was some new thing, some exciting little thing,” he reminisces, “It was never boring. I just loved every minute of it.” From the good, to the bad, and to the beautiful, Korb recalls the events that have made the country worth visiting 21 times.

Korb’s journey to Japan began with his mother Mariko “Mary” Ennyu, who was born into a Japanese immigrant family in 1920. While she was raised …

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We Hereby Refuse: The Illustrated Stories of Camp Resistance

“It’s the story of camp as you’ve never seen it before,” said Frank Abe, one of two authors of the upcoming graphic novel We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration.

“I hope readers see that there were several paths to resistance, and none of them were easy,” Tamiko Nimura, the second author of the novel commissioned by the Wing Luke Museum, commented in a recent interview.

Blended into over 150 pages of art by illustrators Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, We Hereby Refuse captures not only the wave of uncertainty that swept through the …

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Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities

Oh, Bachan, How Your Garden Grows

The longer my father and I navigate the Inglewood Cemetery, the more comical it becomes.

“Turn here, no turn there, oh there it is!” No matter how many times we visit, that same frazzled exchange is always held. But, when we finally get to the top of the hill, the view makes our antics worthwhile.

It’s almost ironic to see the world from this height, buzzing with wondrous life while the departed rest peacefully above. At this altitude, it is only the horizon that blurs city life with the afterlife.

And in this very cemetery is where my family finally …

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Zoom & Zoni: How the Nikkei Community Celebrated the New Year

To put it simply, Oshogatsu looked a little bit different this year.

Maybe our kitchens lacked the same hustle, bustle, and lively commotion of the years prior. Or perhaps our ozoni was missing just that one special ingredient that tied it all together.

Whatever the case may be, welcoming in this New Year was certainly an unusual experience.

Oshogatsu, or the Japanese New Year, is a celebration of food, tradition, and—at its core—family. Found in both Japan and global Nikkei communities, Oshogatsu is considered to be one of the most widely-anticipated holidays for many families.

What defines Oshogatsu is the …

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