8月 2021

laurakato (California, United States)

Laura Kato is a rising third year student at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Philosophy with minors in Political Science and Business Administration, and plans to study criminal law. She has grown up in the Japanese American community through Asian League and other various organizations. She is the upcoming president of her school’s Nikkei Student Union.

Laura is a joint intern for the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and the Discover Nikkei project through the Nikkei Community Internship program. As part of her internship, she has written several articles, including one about her father, Judge Warren Kato, and how he has been a loving parent and role model. She also conducted a video interview with attorney Patricia Kinaga. The interview, plus a reflection article will be added to Discover Nikkei later this month.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

I love how Discover Nikkei transcends both distance and generations. Anyone who goes to the website can view stories from all different types of people, from students to judges to filmmakers, ranging from many different generations and locations. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, and being able to see what people have to say from so many different locations, professions, and ages is truly amazing.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened during your internship?

I have had many life changing experiences during this internship but one of the most meaningful would be getting the opportunity to meet with such inspirational and successful people. I have had the honor of meeting with attorneys, judges from the Superior court, and activists who have done so much for this community.

Being able to hear their stories has really sparked a passion for law and community work within me. I am truly grateful for all that this internship has given me and hope to pay it forward in the future!

Read her stories >>

7月 2021

kreativitea (Tōkyō, Japan)

Mike Omoto is a Yonsei, originally from Southern California, now living in Japan, working as Engineering Manager for Google Maps full time. He previously taught English as an ALT in Japan. He is member emeritus of the organizing committee for Copani San Fransisco 2019, and a regular attendee of Copani and Kaigai Nikkeijin Taikai.

Mike began as a volunteer translator for Discover Nikkei, but now serves as a technical consultant. He was largely responsible for the implementation of the recent major upgrade of our website’s infrastructure.

Why is it important for you to volunteer for Discover Nikkei?

Before moving to Japan in 2008, I did not know very much Japanese. After four years of getting to know my Japanese roots and a lot of intense studying, I wanted to become a translator, and so started translating articles and content from Japanese to English for Discover Nikkei. I then started a career in tech instead of going into translation.

Sometime after, the software engineer who was originally on the Discover Nikkei project left, and my engineering skills became a lot more useful than my translation skills. I took on the role of a technical consultant for Discover Nikkei, and helped bring the site to a modern technical stack.

Volunteering for Discover Nikkei is important to me because it represents an intersection of my interests—getting to know my cultural heritage, my interest as a translator (DN provides content in four different languages!), and my skills in technology. While I’m probably not uniquely qualified to do this work, it’s a very good fit and extraordinarily fulfilling piece of volunteering work to take on.

What is the most meaningful thing that has happened as a result of your connection to Discover Nikkei?

Visiting Peru for Copani in 2017 and being on the organizing committee for Copani in 2019 were some of the most meaningful things that have happened in my life. While I had to step away from organizing due to moving to Japan, participating in Copani meant meeting Nikkei from dozens of countries, which changed my perspective on the relationship that Nikkei had across Panamerica, and made me hopeful for a more collaborative future.

Read his story >>

6月 2021

discovernikkei2021511 (Ontario, Canada)

Yusuke Tanaka immigrated from Japan to Canada in 1986. He is a freelance writer for the Japanese media, a regular columnist for Vancouver-based JCCA Bulletin and Fraser Journal, a former Japanese editor of the Nikkei Voice, and co-founder of the Katari Japanese Storytellers. He has also lectured on Nikkei history at various universities in Japan. Horonigai Shori, his translation of Bittersweet Passage by Maryka Omatsu, was awarded the 4th Canadian Prime Minister Award for Publishing in 1993.

Yusuke has been sharing articles about the Japanese Canadian community on Discover Nikkei in both English and Japanese since March 2020. He also served on last year’s editorial committee for Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

What makes Discover Nikkei unique and the most special among many Nikkei media is that you publish articles in four languages: Japanese, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Most of the Nikkei people in the world, including the Nikkei descendants in Asian countries, do not know that the descendants of Japanese overseas are so dispersed. If you visit JICA’s Japanese Overseas Migration Museum (海外移住資料館) in Yokohama, you can find some information in JA, EN, and PT.

I had attended PANA’s COPANI twice in the past as the editor of a Japanese Canadian community newspaper, and I was overwhelmed by the differences and the similarities. It was such fun to mingle with other Nikkeis singing Japanese songs together in karaoke and dancing bon odori together. At the same time, learning the differences of their histories of pre-war and post-war periods stimulated my interest so much; some of them were as poignant as that of Japanese Canadians. I hope that the Japanese people in our homeland will read Discover Nikkei more attentively and will recognize the presence of the world of Nikkei.

Read his stories >>

Q. ディスカバーニッケイの好きなところは何ですか?



彼のエッセイを読む >>

5月 2021

lasansei (California, United States)

Amy Uyematsu is a Sansei poet from Los Angeles. She has five published poetry collections with her latest manuscript, That Blue Trickster Time, due out in 2022. Amy co-edited the widely-used UCLA anthology, Roots: An Asian American Reader. A former public high school math teacher, she currently leads a writing workshop for the Far East Lounge in Little Tokyo.

She contributed poems for the very first Nikkei Uncovered poetry column in December 2016, and has since been included in two more editions. She will be participating in the second annual Nikkei Uncovered poetry reading on May 13 (for details).

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

Discover Nikkei is a valuable resource for connecting Nikkei throughout the Americas and around the globe. As a Sansei from LA, I especially enjoy reading the stories of Nikkei, both past and present. It’s fascinating to see how diverse and rich our Nikkei community is.

I was fortunate to be able to interview Nisei Frank Kikuchi in 2017. He was a DJ at Manzanar and shared some wonderful memories of Nisei dances in camp. Discover Nikkei included the interview in 2020. Recently I learned that this website began back in 2005—so great that it’s flourishing and going into its 16th year.

You have now contributed to three Nikkei Uncovered poetry columns. What have you enjoyed about sharing your poetry through Discover Nikkei?

My own introduction to Discover Nikkei was through the Nikkei Uncovered poetry column in 2016. I had the honor of being featured with Nisei poet Hiroshi Kashiwagi. I’ve enjoyed learning about other Nikkei poets and reading their poems. Poetry is such a key part of Japanese culture and an art form which many Nikkei have continued, whether in English, Spanish, Portuguese. traci kato-kiriyama, who curates the column, is helping to share Nikkei poetry across generations and continents.

Read her poems and stories >>

4月 2021

mamagaii (Tōkyō, Japan)

Mikiko Hatch-Amagai was born in Tokyo, but studied abroad in Paris, and has lived in Seattle, WA, where she was the Managing Editor for the North American Post from 2001–2005. She returned to Tokyo in 2020 after 44 years in Seattle.

While working for the North American Post, she interviewed many Seattle Nisei veterans. Her articles were published in both English and Japanese.

What do you like about Discover Nikkei?

Discover Nikkei is a valuable source of media which informs people of the history of the Japanese who emigrated to America. I’m happy to see even a part of Nikkei history in Seattle included in the content. I still remember the words of a veteran who joined the military from the concentration camp during the war. “No-no boys and us, we both fought for our rights as Americans. We fought in different ways. I don’t want you to forget that the freedom you enjoy in your everyday life now is built on our hard work.”

Read her stories >>

Q. ディスカバーニッケイの好きなところは何ですか?

ディスカバーニッケイはアメリカに渡った日本人の歴史を知る上で貴重なメディアです。そこに少しでもシアトルの日系人の話を入れていただいて嬉しいです。戦時中に収容所に入れられ、そこから入隊した退役軍人の言葉が忘れられません。「僕たちも、No No ボーイもアメリカ人としての権利のために戦ったんだ。違ったやり方でね。僕たちが頑張ったから君たちが今自由な生活ができるということ、忘れないで欲しいね」。

ストーリーを読む >>

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