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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Open

Happy 2018, folks! Upon entering a new year, we put forth the theme of “open” to writers Mariko Rooks, a Culver City native who is currently studying at Yale, and Pogo Saito, now based in Nyssa, Oregon. Their pieces here explore critical openings between self and the things we want to let go of or draw nearer - there is challenge and reflection felt throughout...enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Mariko Fujimoto Rooks is a mixed race Japanese American and African American first-year student at Yale University, where she studies public health. She serves as an Student Coordinator for Yale’s Asian American ...

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December

For this final column of 2017, I chose to focus on the broad possibilities this month provides—it lends itself to the December 7 reflection that comes to us from Altadena based Ken Okuno, as much as it comes through bittersweet introspection from Wilmington, North Carolina based Daisuke Shen, whose words come from their time this month with family in Japan. Enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Ken Okuno is a Sansei, born and raised in Pasadena, California. A poet, novelist, and musician, he currently lives in Altadena, CA. He attended University of California, Berkeley where he won the Eisner Prize in poetry ...

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Place / Location

This month, we feature just one writer and a beloved one to the Discover Nikkei space at that—Chicago native, Erik Matsunaga. Erik’s piece is a simple moment between old childhood pals and one that sets an image of “home” or places of significance that are, at once, transient and meaningful…enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Erik Matsunaga is a Chicago-born fourth generation Nikkei American of Japanese and German descent. In addition to regular contributions to Discover Nikkei, his extensive research into Chicago’s Japanese American community has been most recently featured on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio’s The Afternoon Shift ...

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Bite

As we enter the final quarter of 2017, I didn't want to “ease” into fall but rather, take a bite out of it. Maybe there’s something feisty in the air with all the ash and soot and unrest all around us. In any case, this isn’t a time for languor but it could be a time for something a little outside the box. These two pieces—from El Cerrito-based poet Kazumi Chin and writer Lawrence Matsuda, who was born in the Minidoka, Idaho concentration camp during WWII—have their own bite to offer as we step forward ...

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Mothers—affection, lost & found

This month, we take a somewhat different turn, in presenting some prose from longtime community organizer and LA-native, Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka, and a piece meant for the spoken word stage from Hawai‘i-born/Torrance-raised educator, Kurt Yokoyama-Ikeda. They both sent in pieces about their mothers and I found a yearning, discovery, and ode to their affection, however uniquely expressed over time. The pieces left me hoping they will continue to write and explore even more even about their mothers and how we find and express affection…enjoy.

—traci kato-kiriyama

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Kathy Nishimoto Masaoka was born and raised in multicultural Boyle Heights ...

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