The Rafu Shimpo

The Rafu Shimpo is the premier newspaper of the Japanese American community. Since 1903, it has provided bilingual coverage and analysis of Nikkei news in Los Angeles and beyond. Visit the Rafu Shimpo website to read articles and to explore subscription options for print and online news.

Updated September 2015

community en ja

Voices of the Volunteers: The Building Blocks of the Japanese American National Museum

Kyle Honma

Kyle Honma is a volunteer of the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum. He started volunteering at the museum because of the influence of his paternal grandparents Hideo and June. They had volunteered for 16 years since the commencement of the Museum.

Kyle is a Japanese American Yonsei and a fourth generation Mexican American. It was 1997 when he first visited the Japanese American National Museum with his grandparents. He was in the first grade at that time. “I didn’t even know Little Tokyo existed,” he recalls. He didn’t realize then that he was destined to …

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YMCA And JA Community Leader Fred Hoshiyama Passes At 100

Fred Yaichio Hoshiyama, a hero and a legend to both the YMCA and the Japanese American community, passed away on November 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, just one week shy of his 101st birthday.

A year ago, about 150 friends, relatives, and associates of Hoshiyama celebrated his 100th birthday at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.

“They say that the first century is the hardest, so I’m looking forward to my second century… I hope to see you all there at that time,” he told the gathering.

Born on December 7, 1914 at a YMCA community for Japanese …

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community en ja

Voices of the Volunteers: The Building Blocks of the Japanese American National Museum

Hitoshi Sameshima

Hitoshi Sameshima was born in Pasadena in 1921 to parents from Kagoshima, Japan. He was a junior at the University of Southern California when the war broke out in 1941. During WWII, his bilingual skills forced him into an uncomfortable position between Japan and the U.S.

By 1942, he and his family were incarcerated at Gila River. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944. Upon joining the Military Intelligence Service, which mainly consisted of Nisei linguists, Hitoshi was sent to the Philippines, where he was ordered to interrogate Japanese prisoners of war. “I knew the names and home …

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community en ja

Voices of the Volunteers: The Building Blocks of the Japanese American National Museum

Yae Kanogawa Aihara

Of all the Japanese-speaking docents at the Japanese American National Museum today, Yae Kanogawa Aihara is the last and only Nisei of the group who experienced the concentration camps during WWII. The rest were born and grew up in Japan, or Kibei who learned the language while growing up there. Yae started to learn her Japanese as a child and continued to learn it in Texas during WWII.

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Yae was 16 when the war began. Her father, Sho Kanogawa, was from Wakayama and ran a grocery store. He was actively involved in Seattle’s Nikkei community primarily …

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community en ja

Voices of the Volunteers: The Building Blocks of the Japanese American National Museum

Masako Iwawaki Murakami

Masako Iwawaki Murakami’s parents seldom talked about the years the family spent in an American concentration camp during WWII. Masako was 8 years old at the time and remembers how earnestly her mother and father tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for their children in spite of the extraordinary circumstances brought on by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

One day recently, Masako came across a letter her mother had written to a friend at another concentration camp in Topaz, Utah on August 15, 1945. The letter’s date coincided with the day Japan surrendered and brought the war to …

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