Amy Uyematsu

Amy Uyematsu is a Sansei poet from Pasadena/Sierra Madre. She has five published poetry collections, the most recent being Basic Vocabulary. Amy co-edited the widely used UCLA anthology, Roots: An Asian American Reader. Recent essays appear in Flashpoints for Asian American Studies and Mountain Movers: Student Activism and the Emergence of Asian American Studies. Amy taught public high school math for 32 years. Currently, she leads a writing workshop at the Far East Lounge in Little Tokyo.

Updated August 2020

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Nikkei a Descoberto: uma coluna de poesia


Hello Discover Nikkei network! I am beyond thrilled this month to bring this pair of poets to the Nikkei Uncovered poetry column. LA-born and raised, veteran Sansei poet and our inaugural feature for the column back in 2016, Amy Uyematsu returns to us with a beautiful piece about Tanko Bushi (that had me yearning ever more for Obon this summer). And first time with this column, we have National spoken world champ and hip hop artist, G Yamazawa out of Durham, North Carolina with one of my favorite pieces that I hope you all will have the pleasure of someday ...

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My E.O. 9066 Stories: Frank Kikuchi, Manzanar DJ

On April 12, 2017, I interviewed Frank Kikuchi, a local Nisei who currently lives at Hollenbeck-Palms Retirement Community. Frank, now 93 years young, was a disc jockey at Manzanar, where he was confined from 1942 through 1945. Frank and Archie Miyatake were good friends and became a DJ team. These are excerpts from a longer interview. 

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Amy (A): How old were you when you went to camp?

Frank (F): I was 17.

A: When did you begin doing your DJ work at Manzanar?

F: About a year after I got into camp, and I got to be friends with Archie ...

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Nikkei a Descoberto: uma coluna de poesia


For the column’s inaugural post, we wanted to begin with the theme of place, location, and community and to highlight two veteran poets—Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Nisei poet based in San Francisco since 1962, and Amy Uyematsu, Sansei poet and native Angeleno. We are excited to begin with two writers who dedicate much of their creative focus and livelihood to poetry and who have had an influence on so many. Cheers to what their poetry uncovers…

traci kato-kiriyama

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Born in Sacramento in 1922, writer and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi was incarcerated at Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II. His ...

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poems by Amy Uyematsu

Orchid Season in Mr. Ikeda’s Garden 

The “Welcome” sign 
still hangs above
his garden gate

though koi no longer swim
in the emptied pond
and hummingbirds
do not return at spring

some say the bees
are disappearing too

but Mr. Ikeda’s orchids
can still fill a greenhouse

White with its bold yellow throat

The palest pink with violet veins

Jungle green freckled with
ginger and maroon

What could be better than choosing
the most gorgeous

Or be lost in so much
luxurious profusion


In Japanese legend, life’s bounty
for a man with big ears

Surely, Mr. Ikeda ...

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