Japanese American Women Speak

Exhibition: Workshops and Events

Workshops and Events

poster by Alexa Strabuk

poster by Alexa Strabuk


“Seeds of Our Grandmothers’ Dreams” re-imagines a world blossoming with the unbroken yume our Nikkei elders carried across the Pacific: before they were forced into American concentration camps.

On October 14 - 28, Japanese American Women Speak (JAWS) will exhibit their art and invite community to decolonize their dreams through a series of storytelling workshops at 341 E. 1st St., Los Angeles. “Seeds of Our Grandmothers’ Dreams” activates the thriving future of Little Tokyo—an international community rooted over generations—through a galaxy of intergenerational artists dreaming above ground.

The exhibition is part of an effort by Sustainable Little Tokyo and Little Tokyo Service Center to help save Little Tokyo and keep our neighborhood within our own community.
Petition to Save Little Tokyo

Sunday, October 14
Seeds of Our Grandmothers’ Dreams opening Reception. 5-10pm.
Join JAWS for our inaugural celebration of the exhibition.
From 6:30-7:30, DJ AkikoLuv will be joining forces with DJ c.o.y. to spin this opening party to the cosmos. Drop in, tune in and come dance with us!

Monday, October 15
Techniques in Painting with Alcohol Inks. 6:30-8:00pm.
Join New York based printmaker and painter, Sonomi Kobayashi, for a hands-on tutorial on working with alcohol ink. No previous experience painting necessary to come learn some new tools for your artistic basket. The workshop is free and materials are provided. Space is limited to 20, first come first served.  

Thursday, October 18
Beyond the Personal: Lessons We Learned from Camp. 11:30am-1:30pm.
 Redress activist Jim Matsuoka will be joined by writer and artist, kyoko nakamaru, for an engaged lunchtime discussion where we look beyond personal suffering and military accomplishment and ask each other, what lessons have we really learned from camp? A light lunch will be provided with a gluten-free, dairy-free option. Space is limited to 12. Please RSVP to nakamaru@protonmail.com.

Letters to Our Future Grandmothers: a Healing-share Workshop. 6:30-8pm.
In this workshop, facilitated by artist and Tuesday Night Cafe founder, traci kato-kiriyama, we’ll talk story about lessons learned from our grandmothers.  After some intentional breath and vocal practice, we will write letters to our grandmothers and future grandchildren.
Accessibility note:  we will have some organic essential oils used by the facilitator in their healing/health practice.

Saturday, October 20

All-Camp Intergenerational Coming Together. 4:30-6pm. Informal social gathering open to all. Please join us for open sharing of poetry, spoken word and intergenerational dialogue about how our history affects us and engages future Nikkei generations.

Survivor Love Letter: Radical Survivor Media. 6-8pm.
Founder of the viral survivor letter writing movement, Tani Ikeda will moderate a media justice and letter writing workshop for survivors of sexual assault along with therapist and community healer, traci ishigo. This workshop centers the experiences of Japanese American women, trans, and gender nonconforming survivors. Allies are encouraged to come and participate in writing a love letter to a survivor in their life.   

Tuesday, October 23
A Founding Spirit: Returning to our Origin Story.  5:30pm-7:30pm.
Executive director at the Armory Center for the Arts, Leslie Ito, will moderate a talk story circle that invites participants to share their founding spirit. The phrase founding spirit references the essence, the philosophy, the feeling that is evoked through a certain action, specific interaction or a conscious arrangement. Leslie Ito believes we don’t need to reinvent ourselves, instead perhaps we need to return to a founding spirit of who we are. Leslie believes strongly that if we can identify, articulate and explore that founding spirit, as artists, arts and cultural practitioners and as living culture bearers-- that we can recenter the dialogue, and more importantly, move our rich cultures to the center--dissipating the current dominant culture.   

Wednesday, October 24
Dreaming for the Collective: Calling in the Sacred on the Full Moon. 7-8:30pm.
Using sound, music, meditation and poetry, Kyoko Takenaka and kyoko nakamaru invite Asian American femmes to dream into ancestral healing, expand into their most authentic selves and call in their sacred selves on the full hunter’s moon. Please bring a journal and writing utensil.
Please come as fragrance-free as possible. Thank you.

Thursday, October 25
Beyond the Personal: Lessons We Learned from Camp. 11:30am-1:30pm. Redress activist Jim Matsuoka will be joined by diana tsuchida of Tessaku Project and writer and artist, kyoko nakamaru, for a second lunchtime discussion about life after the camps, where we explore the threads of the stories less frequently told. A light lunch will be provided with a gluten-free, dairy-free option. Space is limited to 12. Please RSVP to nakamaru@protonmail.com.

JAWS’ Tiny Couch Performances. 6-8:30pm.
Rey Fukuda, musician from the TV series Vida, Honolulu singer, Danielle Oda, and Kyoko-Jinjabrew, actress and musician, will be sharing new original works in an intimate living room setting with wine and cheese. This musical series will be recorded and requires an RSVP to tani.ikeda@gmail.com for guests.
Please come as fragrance-free as possible. Thank you.

Friday, October 26
JAWS Film Screening. 7-9pm. Screening of award-winning filmmaker Renee Tajima Pena’s documentary “My America. . . . Or Honk if you Love Buddah” followed by a short film program and discussed with filmmakers Tani Ikeda, Kyoko Takenaka, Sharon Yamato and Hannah Watanabe-Rocco.
Please come as fragrance-free as possible. Thank you.

Saturday, October 27
Farming as Justice Work. 1-3pm. Kellee Matsushita utilizes seed sovereignty as a platform for justice work; as a tool to build community power, reclaim ancestral knowledge, and work towards collective liberation. The history of California’s Japanese American farmers will be explored. Kellee will talk about the legacy of the shiso trees still growing that are the living record of our presence after we were taken from our land and incarcerated.   

Japanese American Women Authors’ Panel. 3:45-5pm.
JAWS is thrilled to bring Japanese American activist, feminist, essayist, poet of Minidoka, story writer, editor, and former professor of English, Mitsuye Yamada to the mic to share a few of her new poems. Following her brief reading, join artists Keiko Agena, Yumi Sakugawa and MariNaomi 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 such a singularly unique voice in their creative work. This panel is moderated by artist and filmmaker Tani Ikeda.   

Sunday, October 28

JAWS Pizza Party Planning Session and Deinstallation. 1-4pm. After an easy load-out of the gear we brought in to make this exhibition happen, join us in the stripped down JAWS living room for a meeting of our fully actualized, beautiful organization where we collectively walk forward into our future! Come, help shape JAWS’ next steps! We’ll feed you (vegan, gluten-free pizza option in full-effect!) and together, we’ll all feed the generations to come.