Elaine Ikoma Ko

Elaine Ikoma Ko is the former Executive Director of the Hokubei Hochi Foundation, a nonprofit that helps The North American Post, Seattle’s Japanese community newspaper, where this article was first published. She is a member of the U.S.-Japan Council, an alumnus of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) to Japan, and leads spring and autumn group tours to Japan.

Updated April 2021

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Larry Matsuda, A Masterful Life - Part 3

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What raised your consciousness about the incarceration camps and tell us about your involvement in developing the Pride and Shame exhibit during the 1970’s.

As a child, I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I mouthed the words and did not say them out loud because I knew they did not apply to me.

The Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s and reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) motivated me to move from “thinking about history” to “taking action.” As a teacher at Sharples Junior High, I started the first Asian-American history class in 1969. …

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Larry Matsuda, A Masterful Life - Part 2

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You became involved in the social and racial justice activism of the late 1960’s. What was it like and tell us about your groundbreaking success with UW’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)?

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was exciting. African Americans were in the lead and later Asians became active. In Seattle, there were Asian American counter-culture community newspapers like “The Asian Family Affair” with activists Al Sugiyama, Kathy Sugiyama, Frank Irigon, Eugene Tagawa, and others who published the monthly. I believe the local “International Examiner” was taken over by community activists a short time …

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Larry Matsuda, A Masterful Life - Part 1

Larry Matsuda, higher education Ph.D. Racial/social-justice activist leader. Accomplished educator. Award-winning author, poet, and more. This writer was intrigued to explore what is so unique about Dr. Larry to have accomplished so much and in such diverse arenas. These interviews seek to capture key experiences that molded his life: being born in Minidoka internment camp during World War II, growing up with his family’s post-incarceration trauma, and his indefatigable efforts to bust through the many racial barriers of the 1960’s and beyond. He was more than prescient in the ’60s to understand the importance of multi-racial and Pan-Asian unity, as …

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Mika Kurose Rothman: Perspectives from a Third Generation of Family Activists

This is the second article of a two-part interview series. The first part was with Ruthann Kurose (Sept. 11 issue of The North American Post). Today, we continue with Ruthann’s daughter, Mika Kurose Rothman.

I first met a very young Mika through her mother. Mika was aware at an early age of the examples of community service and activism set by her grandparents, Aki and “Junx” (Junelow) Kurose, and their six children (Hugo, Guy, Ruthann, Roland, Paul, and Marie).

In addition to Ruthann’s strong example of activism, Mika was also fortunate to be mentored by “Auntie” Ruth Woo, and …

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‘No Borders, No Boundaries’ for Seattle Designer Travis Suzaka

For those who know the Seattle native and designer, Travis Suzaka possesses a gentle personality which belies his inner drive to not let any barriers or borders keep him from his quest for exploration and learning. Travis, a Yonsei, has lived in Japan, in New York, and now in Paris, in his continuing journey.

Travis has experienced more in his young lifetime than most people his age, and while he has many new adventures awaiting him, he has never veered far from his core values, Japanese culture and sensibilities, and love for his hometown Seattle. Sharing his story should serve …

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