ABOUT THE EVENT
This unique storytelling event brings local stories to Seattle Rep through the incredible writers of the Omoide group. Inspired by the power of storytelling exemplified in Seattle Rep’s production of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this community partner event will tell the stories of generations of Japanese Americans in the Seattle area. From immigration to incarceration to innovation, Japanese Americans have played a vital role in defining our region and shaping Washington’s culture and history. Through all the stories, we will explore different facets of what makes a “home” in the face of unique challenges and endless resilience.
The event will feature readings of memories written down by members of Omoide, poems, and In Shadows (2022) a special musical performance by composer Paul Kikuchi. This event is in partnership with the Japanese Community Center of Washington.
Net ticket proceeds go to support the publishing of the next Omoide writing collection.
To date, the Omoide (memories) team has helped dozens of people to preserve their own stories through the monthly writing workshops, publishing five Omoide books for children, containing stories from Omoide contributors, and have shared their stories with several thousand students, teachers, and members of the general public over the past 30 years.
These personal accounts of the Japanese experience in the Pacific Northwest have become a springboard for open dialog and discussions of constitutional rights, personal history and identity, immigrant experiences in the United States, generational impacts racism and discrimination, multi-cultural issues and much more.
Omoide is a program of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) and is led by a group of volunteers who help coach, critique and edit writing workshop participants. Omoide I was published in 1993. Currently, the group is working on and collecting stories for Omoide VI.
If you’re interested in joining the Omoide Writing Group, contributing stories, or a speaking presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The event will feature readings of memories written down by members of Omoide, poems, and a special musical performance of In Shadows, a composition written by Paul Kikuchi in collaboration with Omoide writers. Net ticket proceeds go to support the publishing of the next Omoide writing collection.
Paul Kikuchi (he/him) heard Ella Fitzgerald in concert from the womb and was born the next day. He shares a birthday with Prince. Paul’s music is wide ranging - from drone/ambient soundscapes to compositions for traditional Japanese instruments. His interests in community, identity, and activism inform his creative process. His work has been supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, Chamber Music America, and New Music USA, among others. Paul is tenured music faculty at South Seattle College. As an educator he is committed to the decolonization of music curricula and the cultivation of life-long connections to music.
Ms. Matsukawa is an Emmy award winning broadcast journalist with more than 40 years in the industry. She retired after 36 years as an anchor and reporter at KING TV in Seattle. She previously worked at KOMO TV in Seattle, at KPTV in Portland, OR and at KRCR in Redding, CA. Ms. Matsukawa won two Northwest Regional Emmy Awards, one in 2017 for her series “Prisoners in Their Own Land” about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and another in 2018 for “Shane Sato: Portraits of Courage” about a photographer's mission to photograph Nisei veterans who served as part of America's “Greatest Generation.” In 2022, Ms. Matsukawa was presented with an Imperial award from the Government of Japan: “Rising Sun: Gold and Silver Rays” recognizing her efforts to build strong relations between the people of Japan and the United States. She is an alumna of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation, a program of the US-Japan Council. She is a co-founder of the Seattle Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. Ms. Matsukawa graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Communication from Stanford University and received an MA in Communication from the University of Washington. Ms. Matsukawa served as Miss Teenage America 1974, which allowed her to travel outside her native Hawaii. She and her husband reside in Western Washington and have a grown son.
Joe Abo is an 83 years old sansei who grew up in Shelton, Washington. He and his family were incarcerated in Tule Lake directly from Olympia, Washington during WWII. He is a retired engineer who worked for the Navy as a civilian for 29 years and lives in Bremerton, Washington.
Nanako Water 水島奈々子
Nanako Water 水島奈々子
Scene I 1962: the yochien teacher is introducing Nanako to her young students.
Teacher: Nanako is from America, which is all the way over on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Why don’t you ask Nanako about America?
A young girl raises her hand: What does your mother say when it’s time to eat?
Nanako: Gohan desu yo.
A boy exclaims: That’s what my mother says!
The girl: Me too!
The students are all excited to learn this. This first impression of America will remain in their minds for a long time.
Scene II 2020: On a zoom meeting with fellow writers. Nana has just shared a short story she wrote.
Fellow writer A: Wow! How did you come up with that story? It’s not like anything I’ve ever heard.
Fellow writer B: So when you write, do you think in Japanese?
Nana: I don’t think about how I’m thinking. I just try to come up with a story that’ll stick.
Fellow writer C: Well, it’s sticky all right. I’ll never forget it.
Dee (Miyamoto) Goto is a Sansei (third generation Japanese American) who was born and raised in Oregon/Idaho's Treasure Valley area. She received her Master’s degree in Psychosocial Nursing from the University of Washington, but the secret of life is to keep learning. Dee believes strongly in the power of story-telling and the benefits and importance of sharing Japanese culture and values with the Seattle Community specifically to set an example for the whole American community.
Kirin is a 15 year old freshman at Mercer Island High School. She loves art, music karate—but she is most passionate about writing. Whether songwriting, creative writing or journalism, Kirin will always be willing to put pen to paper and gather voice out there.
Stephen Sumida, Professor Emeritus of American Ethnic Studies, UW, taught courses in Asian/Pacific American literature, including dramas and theater, until retiring in 2016. Alongside his scholarly work, he’s acted on stage, in the Asian Exclusion Act of Seattle in the ‘70s, Performance Network in Ann Arbor, MI in the ‘90s, and, back in Seattle since 1999, in SIS Productions, ReAct Theater, Book-It Theatre, ACT, West of Lenin, and Seattle Public Theater. Sumida has written and directed mini-dramas of the history of Seattle’s Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church, founded in 1904. The monologue of the fictional Yamamoto Minako in today’s Omoide program is from his January 2022 mini-drama, “Here I Am. I Am Me: Beginnings of a Catharine Blaine House for Single Women, Seattle Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church, 1910.”
Photo Credit: Kai Yamamoto
Louise Takahara Matsumoto
Louise Takahara Matsumoto. Born: August 19, 1937
Attended: Bailey Gatzert Elementary
Washington Jr. High
Garfield High School
UW - BS in Medical Technology
Work: VA Hospital Chemistry Lab, Head Tech
Uwajimaya Demo Coordinator
Member of Japanese Baptist Church
Kenji Onishi was born in 1927 in Portland, OR. He had a happy and unique childhood growing up between train tracks in the Portland railroad yard where his father was a railway foreman. His childhood ended abruptly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor led to forced eviction to Minidoka Internment Camp in the sagebrush desert of southern Idaho. Angered by three years of being stripped of his civil rights, and knowing it was all spurred by racism, Kenji couldn’t wait to enlist in the Army when he turned 18 to prove his “American-ness”. Kenji names the army as the happiest years of his life: training and serving his country with a racially integrated unit, traveling across the country and Central America. He joined as an angry kid and emerged well-rounded and with restored faith in humanity. This was followed by other highlights: marrying Martha to whom he was married for 63 years, raising four children, and watching his eight grandkids grow up. Kenji taught elementary school for 31 years. He is known for his leadership and active participation in his church, speaking up for social justice issues, years as a host to international students attending the University of Washington, and his lifelong passion for golf.
Nancy Ishii Martos
Nancy Ishii Martos is a Sansei. Her family has lived in Seattle since the early 1900's. She is grateful to Omoide and The Rep to help her share this story about her grandmother. Like her grandparents and parents who owned small businesses, Nancy runs her own acupuncture practice in South Seattle.
Carole Okamoto is a Sansei born in Oakland, California to Patty and Keith Okamoto. Her family moved to South Texas when she was 13 months old, where she lived until she graduated from the University of Texas in 1980. She moved to Seattle in 1989 – 30 years ago.
She joined Omoide just two years ago where she strives to give voice and artistic expression to her family’s history. Her mother’s family was incarcerated in Jerome, Arkansas. Her father’s family was incarcerated in Poston, Arizona.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and a Master of Business Administration. She has worked in the health care industry for 40+ years. Carole started and continues to operate an independent health care consulting company (C.O. Concepts, Inc.) in 1995 (her left-brain work). In 2004, started an interior design business (her right-brain work). She also taught at the University of Washington for 12 years, retiring in 2015.
Her personal artistic journey encompasses various art media including encaustic, collage, asemic writing and poetry. She dedicates her work to her Mom and Dad in honor of their courage, dignity and grace.
In Shadows: A special musical performance
By Paul Kikuchi and the Omoide Project
Sanshin arrangements by Mako Williett
The performance of In the Shadows is made possible by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Tricia Wu currently serves as principal violist in the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra and is an active chamber musician in the Seattle area. She studied viola in Eugene, OR with Leslie Straka and has performed in master classes for Roberto Diaz and the Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet. She is also a research scientist in the field of hearing loss at the University of Washington after graduating with a biochemistry degree from the University of Chicago.
Trevor Ford is from Bend, Oregon where he grew up honing his skills in the performing arts. He studied jazz bass with Ken Walker at the Lamont School of Music in Denver, CO. He has won numerous awards and honors, and placed second in the Ron Carter Jazz Bassist competition as lead-up to the Detroit Jazz Festival. As a newer Seattle resident, he has performed in the Earshot Jazz Festival and Fellowship Wednesdays at the Vermillion. Trevor has also performed for local artists such as Marina Albero, Jacqueline Tabor, and the Fellowship ‘Ceptet.
Mako Willett is a traditional Okinawan music performer who plays in the NW area, primarily in Seattle. She performs solo and also leads a group called Mako and Munjuru presenting music, dance, and storytelling from Okinawa. Mako has played with the traditional Ryukyuan full ensemble for various events throughout the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and Okinawa, Japan. She is a member of a musical troupe based in Honolulu called Ukwanshin Kabudan who works to help perpetuate the tradition of music and art of Okinawa.
Ha-Yang Kim creates new music as a composer and cellist, regularly collaborating with ensembles and artists in festivals and performance venues throughout the world. Drawing from a breadth of western classical music, American experimentalism, rock, electronic, noise, avant-improv, to non-western sources (Balinese, South Indian, and Korean), Kim's music is inspired by acoustic phenomena, ritual ceremonial processes, and characterized by an organic visceral lyricism of sound influenced by the East Asian sense of space and emptiness. Ms. Kim developed a unique signature language of extended string techniques and has also composed music for film, dance, theatre and multi-media.
Alina To is a Seattle-based violinist with over 20 years of experience in live performance and studio recording. As a classically trained musician, she has expanded her musical expertise and repertoire across jazz, rock, pop, hip hop, experimental, and folk. She is well-versed across multiple genres, and performs and records both acoustically and amplified (with a dialed-in pedalboard). She has performed and recorded with artists and groups including Perfume Genius, Fleet Foxes, Macklemore, Wayne Horvitz, Jherek Bischoff, Judy Collins, Scrape, Symphony Tacoma, Puget Sound Strings, and Andrew Joslyn. As an accomplished recording artist, she has worked on many musical albums as well as video game and motion picture soundtracks. She is a member of the Passenger String Quartet and Seattle Music Inc.
Stanley N. Shikuma
Stanley N. Shikuma is a writer, taiko (Japanese drum) artist, and community activist. He performs with Seattle Kokon Taiko and directs Kaze Daiko (a taiko youth group), and has also been a performer, composer, and percussionist on new opera, silent film scores, Butoh dance, and puppet theatre. As a social activist, Stan writes and lectures on Civil Rights, Japanese American history, and Taiko. Affiliations include work with the Tule Lake Pilgrimage, Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee & NVC Foundation, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Regional Taiko Groups-Seattle, and Taiko Community Alliance.