J.K. Yamamoto

J.K. Yamamoto has worked for Pacific Citizen in Los Angeles (1984-87) and Hokubei Mainichi in San Francisco (1987-2009), and has been a reporter for Rafu Shimpo since 2010. He has written for other community newspapers, including NikkeiWest in Northern California.

Updated January 2017

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OBITUARY: Chiyomi Ogawa, Central Figure in Six Weddings and a Dress

Chiyomi Ogawa, whose life story was told in the exhibit and documentary Six Weddings and a Dress, passed away on June 10 at her home, surrounded by her family. She was 97.

Born on March 9, 1924 on Terminal Island to Tomitaro and Fumi Marumoto, she was the eldest of five children. She had two brothers, Kats and Nori, and two sisters, Sae and June (who survives her). Her parents sent her to Wakeyama to attend school. There she lived with her father’s parents. She returned to the U.S. on the last boat before World War II broke out. …

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End of An Era in Santa Monica

Nikkei Hall sold, proceeds used for community grants.

The Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, once the hub of Santa Monica’s Japanese American community, has been sold by its three remaining officers.

Located at 1413 Michigan Ave., the one-story building was designed in 1957 by architect Y. Tom Makino (1907-1992) and constructed by Santa Monica Nikkei Hall Inc., which was established by Issei community leaders after Japanese Americans returned from the World War II camps.

The buyer is a major television and film production company already located in Santa Monica.

The sellers did not attach any conditions about preservation of the building, …

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Wakatsuki: The Next Generation

Grand niece of Farewell to Manzanar author has ‘dream job’ at Minidoka site.

The Wakatsuki name is inextricably linked with the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

In her 1973 memoir, Farewell to Manzanar, co-written with her husband James, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston recounts her family’s life on Terminal Island and how it came to an abrupt end with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Her Issei father, Ko, was immediately arrested by the FBI and the rest of the family was incarcerated at Manzanar.

The book and the 1976 TV movie of the same name have been distributed to …

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Wall’s Message to Vietnam Vets: ‘Welcome Home’

GARDENA — “The Wall That Heals,” a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was displayed from April 4 to 8 in Gardena’s Mas Fukai Park.

The park was open 24 hours a day for those who wished to pay their respects, including friends and relatives of some of the 58,318 service members killed or missing in action whose names are inscribed on the wall.

Gardena was one of only three California cities on the 2018 tour of the wall, organized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Of 132 organizations that applied for the tour, only 39 were …

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NEW CAST, NEW ENERGY: Rehearsals under way for L.A. production of “Allegiance”

With rehearsals in full swing, the cast of the Los Angeles production of Allegiance met with local media on Feb. 8 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

Directed by Snehal Desai, producing artistic director of East West Players, the musical will begin previews on Feb. 21 and officially open on Feb. 28 at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo.

The cast of 15, which includes five from the Broadway show, performed four numbers — “Paradise,” “Gaman,” “Higher,” and “Our Time Now” — which reflect the struggles and conflicts that Japanese Americans went through …

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