A Yonsei's Reflections...

Vicky Murakami-Tsuda is the Communications Production Manager for the Japanese American National Museum. She is a “self-proclaimed” yonsei from Southern California who comes from a large extended family who loves working at JANM (especially Discover Nikkei), eating good food, spending time with family, playing on Facebook, reading, and used to be an artist who explored Japanese American culture and history through her artwork when she had more time and energy. This column includes various reflections on her life and the world around her.

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on Discover Nikkei’s 10th Anniversary

Last March marked the 10th anniversary of Discover Nikkei’s public launch. Yoko Nishimura, Discover Nikkei’s Project Manager, asked me to write an article commemorating the occasion. I have struggled and procrastinated for over a year to write something. Now that we’re about to end our year-long celebration, I’m forced to quit putting it off.

At first, I had planned to write something straightforward about the project’s history and accomplishments. But that didn’t really go anywhere. As I thought about how to write about a project that has been like a child to me, it finally dawned on me that …

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Remembering the Senator

There have been and will be other Japanese American senators, but to me, he will always be “the Senator.” I’ve worked at the Japanese American National Museum for over 17 years now. With affection, among staff, we know that when referring to “the Senator,” we are talking about Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

I watched the video of the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda when they brought the Senator to lie in state, an honor bestowed upon only 31 other individuals since the 1800s, primarily reserved for presidents.

I also watched the memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral in …

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My Omoto Ba-chan

My maternal grandmother’s birthday was on May 11th, so even though it’s been almost 15 years since she’s been gone, I still think about her every Mother’s Day.

My Omoto Ba-chan was born in 1908 in Southern California. She was the oldest of nine children, although I later learned that my great-grandmother actually had 11 children—the 10th child was stillborn and both her mother and the last infant died in childbirth.

She married my grandfather and had six children before World War II and E.O.9066 forced them into the concentration camps. The last two kids were born …

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on the Memories of an Elephant

Over the holidays, I was telling my niece about American Tapestry: 25 Stories from the Collection, the current exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum.

Two of my favorite artifacts from the exhibition are the 1939 Silvertone American short wave radio and a navy blue Schwinn bicycle with a lambskin seat cover. Both have similar heartwarming stories of friendship. Both were owned by Japanese American families prior to World War II and entrusted with friends, but never reclaimed after the war.

In the case of the radio, they were never able to locate the original owners. The father gave …

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on Real-Life Soundtracks

I’ve always thought that our lives would be so much more interesting if it came with a soundtrack. Music adds so much in setting up the mood and tone of movies, TV shows, and plays. It also can prepare us when something bad is about to happen. I’m not advocating that we should break out in song like in musicals, but imagine how cool (and helpful) it would be if some sweet romantic song swelled in chorus when you meet the love of your life…or if a song could warn you to stay away from a loser.

But in a …

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