Nancy Matsumoto

Nancy Matsumoto is a freelance writer and editor who covers agroecology, food and drink, the arts, and Japanese and Japanese American culture. She has been a contributor toThe Wall Street Journal, Time, People, The Toronto Globe and Mail, Civil Eats, NPR’s The Salt, TheAtlantic.com and the online Densho Encyclopedia of the Japanese American Incarceration, among other publications. Her two forthcoming books are: Rice, Water, Earth, about artisanal Japanese sake from Tuttle, and By the Shore of Lake Michigan, an English-language translation of Japanese tanka poetry written by her grandparents, from UCLA’s Asian American Studies Press. You can follow her blog “Rice, Water, Earth: Notes on Sake” here

Twitter/Instagram: @nancymatsumoto


Updated April 2021

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West Coast Nikkei Eldercare: Planning for New and More Diverse Systems of Care

Part II-1: Nikkei Eldercare in San Francisco and San Jose

In 1971, a group of San Francisco Sansei began providing Issei seniors with rides and pedestrian escorts to and from their homes, as well as help with government health benefits applications. The non-profit multi-service care organization Kimochi Inc., located in San Francisco’s Japantown, grew out of these early efforts. Around the same time, Japanese American student activists from San Jose State University and UC Berkley began organizing support systems for elderly Issei, focusing on health fairs in San Jose and housing issues in Berkeley. Over the years, their efforts coalesced to form Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service …

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Profile: James Mitsumori, one of Keiro Senior HealthCare’s Founding Fathers

Although a number of Nikkei and Asian eldercare organizations grew organically out of existing Japanese Issei “Pioneer” or community centers, church, or civic organizations, Keiro Senior HealthCare was different; it rose out of the vision and energy of a close-knit group of Nisei professionals.

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Keiro founder, chairman of the board for 14 years and current board member James Mitsumori, 88, recently talked about those early days from his law office at Third and San Pedro Streets in Little Tokyo.

Keiro’s founding members—George Aratani, Edwin Hiroto, Kiyoshi Maruyama, Gongoro Nakamura, Frank Omatsu, Joseph Shinoda, Fred Wada and Mitsumori—began their …

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West Coast Nikkei Eldercare: Planning for New and More Diverse Systems of Care

Part I - Nikkei Eldercare in Los Angeles

My mother is in some ways a typical Southern California Nisei. She has participated in organized Nikkei ballroom dance, camera club, and widow’s groups. She plays marathon card games regularly with a group of Nisei friends, and travels the world on organized Japanese-American tours. A lot of her time also seems to be taken up arranging club dinners or luncheons, or the entertainment and door prizes that are an expected feature of these events.

Although my mother is healthy and sharp-minded, she is at the age where she and many of her friends are thinking about the prospect of moving …

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Historian Linda Gordon’s new Dorothea Lange bio

I attended a fascinating discussion recently at the New York Public Library, featuring NYU history professor Linda Gordon in conversation with New Yorker writer Ian Frazier. The topic of discussion was Gordon’s extensively researched and beautifully written new biography, Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits (W.W. Norton & Co.).

Lange was a force of nature, a fiercely determined and ambitious woman who overcame a physical disability—a lame leg—to become a titan of documentary photography and a lifelong advocate for the dishonored and the neglected. Most famously, she chronicled the plight of migrant farm workers, southern sharecroppers and other victims …

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Reclaiming Photographs of the WWII Japanese-American Resettlement

I recently picked up a fascinating book, Lane Ryo Hirabayashi’s, Japanese American Resettlement Through the Lens: Hikaru Carl Iwasaki and the WRA’s Photographic Section, 1943-1945. Hirabayashi teaches in the Asian American Studies Department at UCLA, where he holds an endowed chair dedicated to research on and teaching about the Japanese American World War II internment, redress and other Japanese-American issues.

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In Through the Lens, which Hirabayashi wrote with researcher Kenichiro Shimada, the authors brings to light the work of Hikaru Carl Iwasaki, a 19-year-old Nisei (second-generation Japanese American) photographer who was plucked out of the Heart Mountain, …

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