Tony Osumi

Tony Osumi is a Hapa Yonsei who lives in Culver City, CA with his family. Currently, he teaches 3rd grade and is active with Nikkei Progressives and Camp Musubi. He loves searching out old school Cantonese restaurants and ordering homyu and almond duck.

Updated August 2017 

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Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Encircle, In Dance

For this month’s Nikkei Uncovered, we wave goodbye to the Obon season with special reflections from a family of activist/artists and a local legend & community organizer. Maiya, Jenni, and Tony Kuida-Osumi share with us poems that tie the dance we do in commemoration of ancestors at Obon, with homage in action to community, to our shared struggle, to Los Angeles. Evelyn Yoshimura brings us a brief essay reflecting on the letting go and the images that spring forth through the dance itself. Hopefully these words will not only resonate with the images that come to your mind during Obo…

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Los Angeles Nikkei

Westside Sanseisaying good riddance to scotch-tape and black mascaraas you board the Asian American Movement—c. 1968Next Stop…S. F. State, Manzanar, Agbayani Village, Wounded Knee, I-Hotel…armed with Issei comradesMalcolm’s ghostand the Red Bookyou hunt America’s three-headed beastrace/sex/classmaking Third World-class timewith a strong East Wind at your backthe People at your side Sawtelle Sanseipumping gas and checking oilto pay the note on a newmaroon ’65 Mustangbuilt by union handslike those in Pico Riverabefore Ford dropped a bomb3000 workers wi…

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Issei Spirits

rattling rice cookergohan steamingissei ghost escapespirits risejust in timeto wash up for dinner come and join me, old-timerthere’s boiled squid—shoyu satoand aunty’s takuanand if you like, tamago gohan let this yonsei steam you a fishginger, green onions, sesame oiltaught to me by a Chinese buddy Nihonmachi has changed ojisanno more pool halls or china meshiand poor Weller Streethas been swallowed upby a monster named Kajima so tell me the truthdid you really set plantation firesand block home platein dusty lots of Yakima, Wahington?Did you march to free Tom Mooney?Oh, and…

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Community Restructuring: Camps 1995

Lately I’ve been having a reoccurring dream—a real nightmare. In my dream Japanese Americans are sent back to Camp. It begins with me dropping by my grandma’s to see if there are any leftovers for dinner. But something is terribly wrong. [inline:Poster - 23-0311a.gif] Grandma is frantically burying the rice cooker and mumbles something about not getting caught with subversive contraband. When I ask her where Uncle Bill is, she tells me he’s packing for the Trip. When I press her for details she whispers about the Japanese American Underground Railroad. Gardena to Wisco…

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The Spirit of Gambatte-san

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Ms. Gambatte who lived in Little Tokyo. Gambattesan’s home, like many in Little Tokyo at the time, stood in the shadow of a giant mountain. Known as Kajimayama, the towering mountain stood so tall that it blocked out the sun for miles around, forcing Little Tokyo into gloomy darkness. Without the sun’s energy, plants died, animals went hungry, and people’s bodies grew cold and unhappy. Every morning, Gambattesan asked the giant mountain if he would help bring sunshine to Little Tokyo. “Good morning Mr. Kajimayama, could you ple…

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