Stuff contributed by erikmatsu

Japanese Americans on Chicago’s South Side - Oakland/Kenwood 1940s-1950s - Part 2

Erik Matsunaga

Read Part 1 >>

Japanese Americans on Chicago’s South Side - Oakland/Kenwood 1940s-1950s - Part 1

Erik Matsunaga


Saying Goodbye

Erik Matsunaga

Gaining early educational release from incarceration at Gila River War Relocation Center in 1943, my Nisei grandparents moved to St. Paul, MN, where my grandfather enrolled in welding school. With a certified trade and some experience under his belt, in 1945 they moved—along with my infant father—to Chicago for its …

30 Years of Lakeview: Chicago’s Japanese American Community 1960s-1990s - Part 2

Erik Matsunaga

Read Part 1 >> “Growing up in Lakeview during the 1960s, where there were so many Japanese American relocatees, provided a unique childhood experience. Because there were so many families that knew each other in some way or another, there was a sense of safety in that there was always someone, …

30 Years of Lakeview: Chicago’s Japanese American Community 1960s-1990s - Part 1

Erik Matsunaga

During and immediately following World War II, Americans of Japanese ancestry flooded Chicago for work and school as they were either released from incarceration at one of ten U.S. War Relocation Authority concentration camps, or discharged from military service. Prior to WWII, Chicago’s ethnic Japanese population numbered roughly four hundred; …

2014 Chicago Nikkei Community Annual Memorial Day Commemoration

Erik Matsunaga

In 1935, the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago began purchasing burial plots at Montrose Cemetery on the city’s North Side. Due to discrimination of the day, Montrose was one of few cemeteries in the area that would inter the remains of deceased persons of Japanese ancestry. In 1937 the …

One Heart Beating to the Drums of Many—A work of fiction

Erik Matsunaga

“I don’t make it through this side of town too often, these days.” “When’s the last time you were down here?” I asked. “Man, it’s been years. I know Tak been tellin’ ya how we went to elementary school together down there at Maryknoll, but we was both from the Westside, and …

Dr. Joe Takehara and Chicago Aikido

Erik Matsunaga

Dr. Joe Takehara, D.D.S., a second generation Japanese American, has trained with the legends of aikido during his fifty-three years of studying the Japanese martial art. Meanwhile, he was a married father of three and built a successful dental practice from which he retired at the age of eighty. Despite …

The Level of Training Was Different

Erik Matsunaga

Art Ishii began his judo training in 1954 at Hollywood Judo Dojo in Los Angeles, CA, under the direction of senseis Takashi Kikuchi, Frank Emi, Art Emi, Frank Watanuki, and Gene LeBell. Upon his induction into the Air Force in 1962, he was sent to Sheppard AFB in Texas.

Nooks and Crannies

Erik Matsunaga

Afterward, I thought I’d tour the city. San Francisco is easily the most beautiful city in the United States, if not the world. I had a few hours to kill before heading toward the airport, and had made a short list of things I wanted to see. At this early …

Login or Register to join our Nima-kai

About

Erik Matsunaga’s investigations into the history of Chicago’s Japanese American community have been featured by the Japanese American National Museum, Alphawood Gallery, WBEZ Radio, and the Newberry Library.

Born in Chicago, a descendant of WWII-era Nikkei resettlers from California, he curates @windycitynikkei—“Bite-sized Glimpses of Japanese American Chicago”—on Instagram.

He has been a Discover Nikkei contributor since 2011.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum


Major support by The Nippon Foundation