Rio Imamura

Rio Imamura, a U.S. citizen for close to 30 years living in New York City and Southern California, returned to Japan upon retirement in 1994. His Japanese translation of Dear Miss Breed written by Joanne Oppenheim was published by Kashiwa Shobo, Tokyo in 2007.

Updated February 2012

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Panama Hotel

New York Times Best Seller Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was a Christmas gift from my daughter. The author Jamie Ford autographed and wrote: “Rio, inspiration comes from life and good books. Keep writing” and an actual size “Do Not Disturb (reading)” book marker attached, jutting half an inch out of the book.


My daughter wrote, “I met Jamie Ford in person at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. He signed the book for you and for me.” About the time I finished reading it, the Japanese translation came out with the title Panama Hotel, …

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community en

Revisiting Little Tokyo / Japanese American National Museum

On my recent trip to Little Tokyo branch library in Los Angeles, notices for two fund-raising campaigns were posted—one to build a Ryoma Sakamoto statute and the other to save Bunichi Kagawa’s poem epitaph.

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Ryoma Sakamoto (1836-1867), a legendary Meiji Restoration icon, who attempted to organize a peaceful revolution, but instead was assassinated, is one of the best loved historical figures of Japan today. Ryoma, a visionary Samurai, who deserted Tosa-Clan, conceived the first trading company and ocean support fleet, and believed all men are created equal (he was most likely familiar with the U.S. Declaration of Independence). …

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Van Nuys Japanese Garden

It seemed like a step down. Back then, the Valley was a big oven with nothing in it, a great sea of nothing, an ocean with no ships and at night, if you went out there, were very few lights.

         —Robert Redford on moving to Van Nuys as a teenager
            in a 1998 New Yorker interview.

Sepulveda (taken from the family name of the early Angelinos) Basin is where San Diego Freeway 405 and Ventura Freeway 101 cross and you can catch a glimpse of the Sepulveda Dam. The positive …

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war en

Congressional Gold Medal Moment To Share

On November 2, 2011, the long awaited Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) presentation to hundreds of Japanese-American veterans who collectively fought bravely during WW II was held in Washington D.C. Amid the applause of many well-wishers and families, the ceremony was met with much fanfare, many speeches, including the keynote speech by President Obama. 

Japanese-Americans fought to prove their faithfulness to the U.S., while their parents, brothers and sisters were detained behind barbed wire. For those veterans who were unable to join in the Washington event, the CGM presentation moved to the local state and city levels in succession, starting in …

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Frank and Nevelo Yasuda, Alaskan Mining Hall of Fame

“We stayed six months cumulatively in Point Barrow, Alaska for scientific research,” said an unexpected message from my San Diego Japanese friends.

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“In the Barrow research library, we found a Japanese book An Alaskan Tale written by Jiro Nitta about Frank Yasuda1. Jujiro Wada (1875-1937) and Frank Yasuda (1868-1958)—all in the same generation. Have you read Jiro Nitta’s book that became a movie?”

Well, I know author Nitta (1912-1980) who wrote the Death March on Mt. Hakkoda, the deadly military exercise in the winter blizzard that resulted in mass deaths of Japanese soldiers, but I …

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