Nikkei al descubierto: una columna de poesía

Nikkei al descubierto: una columna de poesía es un espacio destinado a la comunidad nikkei para compartir historias a través de diversas composiciones sobre cultura, historia y experiencia personal. La columna presentará una amplia variedad de formas poéticas y contenido con temas que incluyen historia, raíces, identidad; historia—el pasado en el presente; la comida como ritual, celebración y legado; rituales y supuestos de tradiciones; lugar, ubicación y comunidad así como el amor.

Hemos invitado a la autora, artista y poetisa traci kato-kiriyama para que sea la curadora de esta columna de poesía mensual, en donde publicaremos a uno o dos poetas los tercer jueves de cada mes, desde escritores mayores o jóvenes que recién empiezan en la poesía a autores publicados de todo el país. Esperamos descubrir una red de voces vinculadas entre sí a través de innumerables diferencias y experiencias conectadas.

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Sansei

As a younger Sansei/older Yonsei, I've been reflecting a lot on the big sisters and cousins of the Sansei generation who have raised or influenced many of us in our activism, community involvement, and understanding of ourselves as connected to others. This month, we feature pieces of generational and personal reflection from two Sansei - writer Patricia Takayama from the San Fernando Valley, and NCRR founding member, Janice Yen, who is based in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Janice Iwanaga Yen is a retired retailer and long-time community volunteer. She is a founding member of NCRR (National Coalition for ...

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Longing

This month, we feature poetry in Nihongo (with English translation) from Tomiko Matsumoto and Gennosuke Matsumoto, who were both originally from Chiba and eventually married there, before living in Seattle and later imprisoned in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming concentration camp during World War II. Their poetry here comes through that lens—two short tales of lamentation.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Tomiko Matsumoto was was born on August 30, 1900 in Nakano (current Kimitsu city), Chiba Prefecture, and immigrated to Seattle in the early 1920s. She and her family were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming from 1943 to 1945. There, under the poet ...

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Little Tokyo

We have a focus on Little Tokyo as inspiration and a special triple threat treat for this month’s edition of Nikkei Uncovered. First, we have a piece from D Hideo Maruyama, based in LA and a veteran of the Asian American literary scene. Next is poetry from third generation LA native, Mike Sonksen, accompanied by artwork by his wife and Tokyo-born/LA-raised Emi Motokawa Sonksen. The literary and creative work from all three of these artists continues to make a substantial impact on the Asian American community and Los Angeles as a whole. We’re excited to include just ...

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FIRE

Fire. No, not in reference to the countless acres of land and livelihood burning across California this summer. But perhaps subconsciously inspired by the precarious path nature takes us on, I was drawn to this theme and to featuring these pieces meant for the mature reader of this month’s column. A prose piece from Alameda, California-based Colleen “Coke” Tani and a poem from Portland-based Jenna Yokoyama - these are searing pieces that speak in turns, facing inward and outward, inviting us in to moments where we need breath, we call for reckoning, we demand to heal.

— traci kato-kiriyama

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Colleen “Coke ...

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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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