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Poet Mitsuye Yamada to Read New Work at JAWS Exhibition

Mitsuye Yamada in 2002. (Densho Digital Repository)

Mitsuye Yamada, Japanese American activist, essayist, poet of Minidoka, and former professor of English, makes a rare public appearance to read some of her new work at JAWS (Japanese American Women Speak) on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3:45 p.m. at 341FSN, 341 E. First St. in Little Tokyo.

Yamada’s books of poetry, “Camp Notes” and “Desert Run,” are among the seminal works by Nisei women writing about their incarceration experiences. At age 95, she is currently working on a new book. Also well known as a feminist and activist, Yamada believes “art cannot be separated from its political context and vice versa.”

Following her reading, artists Keiko Agena, Yumi Sakugawa and MariNaomi will join for a panel discussion about how they have financially built their careers as Japanese American women artists and the journey it has taken to cultivate a singularly unique voice in their creative work. The panel will be moderated by artist and filmmaker Tani Ikeda.

JAWS, a network of Nikkei women artists, believes that through the creation of conscious community and personal and collaborative artistic expressions, community healing can take place. Their premiere exhibition, “Seeds of Our Grandmothers’ Dreams,” continues through Oct. 28, and features the art of Mitsuko Brooks, Yuki Eto, Tani Ikeda, Kozy Kitchens, Sonomi Kobayashi, kyoko nakamaru, Yuko Shimizu, Hannah Watanabe-Rocco, and Rosie Yasukoshi.

Upcoming workshops will feature musicians Rey Fukuda and Kyoko-Jinjabrew and singer Danielle Oda (Oct. 25), and filmmakers Renee Tajima-Pena, Tani Ikeda, Kyoko Takenaka, Sharon Yamato, and Hannah Watanabe-Rocco (Oct. 26). Kellee Matsushita will also discuss Japanese American farming and its relationship to ongoing social issues on Oct 27.

For more information and a complete schedule of workshops, visit or email

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