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

community en

What Remains: A Tour of Tacoma's Japantown

“Well, if we get about ten or fifteen people,” said my colleague Michael Sullivan, “that’ll be a good group. And it’s supposed to rain, so who knows who will show up?” For a few years, Michael and I had been working on telling bits and pieces of Japanese American history separately (including blog posts, personal essays, an encyclopedia article) and together, on a joint project about the history of the Lorenz Building near the center of downtown Tacoma.

But we’d been invited to conduct a walking tour together. Armed with an iPad presentation and historic pictures, I …

Read more

community en

The Story of One Tacoma Issei, Shuichi Fukui: Journalist, Historian, WWI Veteran

As I’m writing this essay, I have moved between the despair I mentioned last month and the hope that I have for the future. My daughters went to their first protest march; my oldest daughter made her first call to a senator without being prompted or asked.

Living in Washington State, as we do, it’s hard not to feel despair, as I did this morning when I read that a newspaper in Kennewick, Washington published an editorial defending the logic of WWII Japanese American incarceration. And it’s hard not to feel hope when our governor, Jay Inslee, invoked this same …

Read more

community en

Camp History Is Not Bound By Time: Allegiance, Fighting for America, The Betrayed

Manzanar has no geographic boundaries and is not bound by time. Manzanar exists today … in many forms, in many places. And in each, the people must work together to insure that it will not go unnoticed and unchanged.
                                                    — Mike Murase, GIDRA, 1973

I am thinking about history and silence again. It’s possible that I don’t ever stop thinking about these things, actually.

I’m writing this essay one day after thousands of …

Read more

politics en

The Work and the Way Forward: A Tapestry of Post-Election Reactions from Seattle-Area Nikkei

These last several weeks after this year’s presidential election, I have grieved for my community, one that is made up largely of people from a variety of marginalized and minority communities. Friends who are Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos/as, Native Americans. Friends who are gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered and queer, some of whom have been through attempts at “conversion therapy.” Friends who are Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, atheist. Women who are survivors of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault. Friends with physical and mental disabilities. Friends who live paycheck to paycheck, as well as friends who can travel …

Read more

community en

Uncovering a “Lost” Japanese American Village in Bainbridge Island, Washington: A Behind the Scenes Interview with Archaeologist Floyd Aranyosi

Readers here may already be familiar with the fascinating story of Yama and Nagaya, a Japanese sawmill village settlement on Bainbridge Island, Washington. From 1883 to the 1920s, Japanese pioneers created a village complete with houses, churches and temples, a grocery store, laundries, a hotel, and even a photo studio. The village closed when the sawmill closed, and until recently the site has been left largely undisturbed.

Floyd Aranyosi is a faculty member at Olympic College in Bremerton, and is currently the lead investigator for the Yama Project: an archaeological study of this “lost” Japanese village that …

Read more