デービッド・ヤマグチ

(David Yamaguchi)

David Yamaguchi is an editor at The North American Post, Seattle’s Japanese community newspaper. A book David co-authored, The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 (Univ. Washington Press, 2005; second ed., 2015), describes how tsunami records from Edo-era Japanese villages helped define today's Pacific Northwest earthquake hazards. It can be perused full-text on Google Books.

Updated September 2020

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Fujie Yamasaki, Well-Liked War Bride

Fujie Yamasaki is a person who many readers know. For many years, she was a regular presence at the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival. Until recently, she also routinely volunteered at Keiro Northwest. She is just one of those people whom many can mentally picture as the “lady with her hair tied up in a kerchief, wearing an apron,” quietly doing meaningful, kind things. She comes across as an ordinary, nice mom who goes by her first name.

Yet, beneath her placid exterior, Fujie has a backstory. A first glimpse into it comes from the two-part NHK World documentary, The Lives ...

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Helmet for My Pillow and With the Old Breed

ENGLISH READERS know much about the experiences of Japanese-American families during World War II. Many can also trace the wartime journey of the famed JA 442nd infantry across Europe. Yet, our knowledge base drops quickly when we pull back the viewpoint to include the settings in which Nisei linguists served in the Pacific, translating captured documents and questioning Japanese prisoners of war.

There are several reasons for this. The translators were widely dispersed among many units. There was lingering wartime and postwar secrecy, intended in part to protect the Japan-based relatives of those who served. There is simply a lesser ...

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Semi-Immersion

ON THURSDAY NIGHT, Nov. 16, 2017, I had a date with my cousin, Diane, to see Kuniko Fukushima sing and play the piano at the Royal Room, a jazz club in Columbia City near our homes.

When I opened the club door and we walked in, the first thing we heard at the reception front desk—without any beating around the bush—was “Nanmei-sama desu ka?” [How many are in your party?] I had to laugh, for the question took me by surprise. For until that moment, Diane and I had been walking on familiar Rainier Valley terrain, a few ...

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Reluctant Islander

These days, Sansei are running out of knowledgeable elders who can tell us of the past. Thus, when I had a chance to join Eileen (Sakamoto) Okada, a longtime docent at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum for lunch on November 6 with her niece—my photographer Gwen Shigihara—I took advantage of the opportunity.

In sitting down with Mrs. Okada, it became clear immediately that she is a person whose words are worth writing down. A Seattle native and alumnus of the Maryknoll Catholic School—on the site of today’s Swedish Cherry Hill Hospital—she described how her attending ...

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Growing Up at the Kokusai Theater

In mid-May, I reconnected with Elaine Kitamura and her younger brother, Darrell Kitamura, through a friend of a friend. The Kitamuras are the siblings that sat in the ticket window of the Kokusai Theater, on Maynard in the International District, until it closed its doors in the late 1980s.

While I overlapped with both at Cleveland High, until our recent meeting we had not previously talked in depth. For in those days, like many Sansei, the three of us were shy. Moreover, in the naïve way of youth, I had thought that the Kitamuras were different than “ordinary Sansei ...

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