Tamiko Nimura

Tamiko Nimura is an Asian American writer living in Tacoma, Washington. Her training in literature and American ethnic studies (MA, PhD, University of Washington) prepared her to research, document, and tell the stories of people of color. She has been writing for Discover Nikkei since 2008.

Tamiko just published her first book, Rosa Franklin: A Life in Health Care, Public Service, and Social Justice (Washington State Legislature Oral History Program, 2020). Her second book is a co-written graphic novel, titled We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press/Wing Luke Asian Museum). She is working on a memoir called PILGRIMAGE.

Updated November 2020

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The Redress Origins of the Hidden Histories of San Jose Japantown: A Conversation with Susan Hayase and Tom Izu

Carp flags (koinobori) are floating in front of me, their mouths open. Tanzaku are fluttering in a virtual wind. Fragments of the “Instructions to Persons of Japanese Ancestry” poster are floating around an empty lot. Black-and-white photos of a Japanese American doctor float by the Issei Memorial Building. In one space I hear strains of “We are the Children” by Chris Iijima and Nobuko Miyamoto; in another space I hear the thunder of taiko drums and watch community dancers celebrating at a Bon Odori. And there is more, much more, as I watch video after video of art …

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A Sister Artist Interview: Teruko Nimura And the Eloquence of Handmade Objects

Strings of origami cranes, circles of wish lanterns, maneki nekos and daruma figures—for decades I’ve watched my sister Teruko grow as an artist. I remember Teruko’s pencil sketches and charcoal drawings that our mother framed in our hallway to Teruko’s first solo show in Sacramento to public art installations in Texas, Mexico, and New York City. Though I’m four years older, I’ve always been in awe of her as an artist. She takes risks and confronts difficult themes, experiments with multiple media, devotes weeks of energy to a single repetitive task, and pours care into each of the hundreds of …

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An Interview With City of Ghosts Yonsei Creator Elizabeth Ito 

A maneki neko statue keeps moving mysteriously around a “sort of” Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. A music teacher keeps hearing some drumming in Leimert Park, with no visible drummer. A team of kid detectives roams Los Angeles, looking for ghosts—not to vaporize or “bust” them, but to listen to their stories. The ghosts are friendly, funny, talkative, near cuddly, some with rainbow auras.

The Los Angeles of Elizabeth Ito’s City of Ghosts Netflix series is not what you might expect.

City of Ghosts is a beautifully told animated series which uncovers layers of stories about specific neighborhoods of Los …

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“Be Bold”: The Artistry of 99-Year Old Kibei Nisei Artist Koho Yamamoto

Was I looking at a pile of charred kindling, a set of raven’s wings or feathers?

“I’m interviewing this 99-year old Kibei Nisei artist, Koho Yamamoto,” I wrote on my social media page, with a link to her 2021 exhibit. “Anyone heard of her?” I’d been sent a press kit to Yamamoto’s show, Under A Dark Moon at New York City’s Noguchi Museum, and was immediately struck by her powerfully evocative sumi-e paintings. Her life story and artistic path reminded me of Kibei Nisei Tacoma artist Fumiko Kimura, who I wrote about last year for Discover Nikkei.

Based …

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On Nikkei and Cross-Racial Solidarity: Three Seattle-Area Artist/Activist Perspectives

In a heightened wave of anti-Asian racism, including attacks on Asian elders and the murders of 8 Asian women in Atlanta, I have felt the need to reach out—to family, to friends, to community. (For more about what’s been happening in the Seattle area, including a response from Yonsei professor Vince Schleitwiler, click here.)

I wanted to find out more about how we can learn from each other through working together, particularly in crossracial solidarity. As always, I found inspiration, solace, and comfort in doing so. I asked several Nikkei artists/activists in the Seattle area to respond to this …

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