Power of Our Stories

This series features projects that help to preserve and share Nikkei stories in different ways—through blogs, websites, social media, podcasts, art, films, zines, music, merchandise, and more. By highlighting these projects, we hope to share the importance of preserving and sharing Nikkei stories and inspire others to create their own.

If you have a project you think we should feature, or are interested in volunteering to help us conduct future interviews, email us at Editor@DiscoverNikkei.org.

Logo design: Alison Skilbred

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The Power of Persistence: Tour Manzanar with Nell Yukiye Murphy

Nell Yukiye Murphy knows the importance of keeping a significant part of Japanese American history alive and she also knows the power of persistence. That makes her a natural choice to be profiled for Discover Nikkei’s series, The Power of Our Stories. Nell has developed and produced a virtual tour of Manzanar, “Journey to Manzanar,” and thanks to her persistence, it’s now accessible to everyone. 

Nell Murphy is from Northeast Los Angeles and at 18 years of age, she’s already seen quite a bit of the world. Interviewed via email, Nell wrote, “As a kid, I traveled …

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Tsunagu: Connecting Family Stories through the Generations

I have a curiosity about my father’s family history. Why did my grandfather cross a vast ocean from Wakayama, Japan to an unknown land to seek his fortune? Why don’t we have any relatives in Japan any longer? What are the family traits that I have acquired through osmosis? My father and his brothers were not storytellers, so family lore and values were not explicitly shared with my Sansei cousins and me. Only in recent years have I had the time to interview living Nisei relatives and root around to find answers. I’ve found the exploration rewarding but also incomplete. …

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On Topaz Stories and “Authentic Voice”: A Conversation With Writer And Editor Ruth Sasaki - Part 2

Read Part 1 >>

Tamiko Nimura: As editor/curator, are there any particular segments in Topaz Stories that resonate for you?

Ruth Sasaki: There are stories that are a miracle for the recall of specific details by someone who was a young child in camp, like Jon Yatabe’s “Toy Story.” Another story, “Father and Son” by Dan Hirano, who was actually born in Topaz, grabbed me for its distinctive voice and the image that came to mind as I read it of someone in his 70s (decades later) poring over a cherished and worn photo—of himself sitting …

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On Topaz Stories and “Authentic Voice”: A Conversation With Writer And Editor Ruth Sasaki - Part 1

As a college student at UC Berkeley in the 1990s, I was searching for Sansei writers who wrote about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. I was delighted to find the work of Janice Mirikitani and Ruth Sasaki. Sasaki’s book, The Loom and Other Stories, is one that I’ve kept close to my heart and on my shelf for decades now. So it was a delight to see that she had started a blog in 2015, and to see that she was editing a new project in 2020: Topaz Stories, a collection of first-person stories from camp survivors …

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Campu, the Podcast: Reanalyzing Japanese American Incarceration in the 21st Century, How is it relevant today?

Introducing Campu: a podcast that offers a fresh, raw, and insightful scope into the diverse experiences of Japanese incarceree daily life during World War II. Campu analyzes the political, racial, social, psychological, physical, and systemic barriers that Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans endured during this event in history.

The podcast also goes above and beyond by identifying and discussing how a collection of these events have created a long-lasting impact on our history today. By bringing together various unheard anecdotes, life events, and history, this podcast creates a unique take on the storytelling of Japanese incarceration.

I had the …

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camps Campu canada concentration camps densho Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association Family stories generations Girl Scouts Hana Maruyama japanese americans Journey to Manzanar Manzanar National Park Service Nell Yukiye Murphy Noah Maruyama podcast preservation Ruth Sasaki Topaz Stories Tsunagu world war II