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authors & contributors

Alex Wilensky

Born in Orange County and now living in LA, Alex is a policy director and community organizer. She loves cats, roller skating, and cooking with friends.

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Andie Kimura

Andie is a Japanese American, fourth generation Angelino who loves community, cookies, and television. She is constantly struggling to lower her carbon footprint and urges you to do the same (lower your carbon footprint, not the struggle part).

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Ashley Omiya

Community activist, taiko artist, and an all-around great gal.

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Brooke Larsen

Born and raised in New Orleans, Brooke recently spent six years living in Osaka, Japan before relocating to Southern California. She spends her free time pining for okonomiyaki (Osaka-style, of course) and onsen. You can find her writing on CNBC Global Traveler, Culture Trip, GaijinPot, and in her secret diary.

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Bryce Ikemura

Los Angeles based half-Chinese Shin Nisei, photographer, community member, professional relationship builder, chocolate lover, sneaker afficionado, grammar stickler, list maker, and Jenga enthusiast. Always hungry. Always sleepy.

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Craig Ishii

Origin story at Orange County Buddhist Church. Founder of Kizuna. Cultural enthusiast. Interested in exploring the ins and outs of our community so we can discover our past and pave our future.

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David Kenji Chang

David lives in New York and writes about design, art, and culture for magazines.

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Derek Hirano

Derek Hirano, owner and leader of the Hirano Homes Real Estate Team at Keller Williams Realty, is a fourth generation Japanese American, and third generation entrepreneur. Born and raised in the South Bay, he loves golfing, gaming, and backpacks.

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Dina Furumoto

A yonsei constantly trying to bridge their love of community, culture, history, and food together. On the ultimate quest to define what the perfect "Japanese-American" dessert is and an avid lover of carbs, bread, and anything comforting.

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Emiko Kranz

Los Angeles born, raised, and still here, Emiko is a halfie Yonsei studying Community Health Sciences and Asian American Studies at UCLA who always loves helping out around the SoCal Japanese American community. Her schedule is often built around her next meal.

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Eric Komatsu

Just your average Laker-loving, ramen-eating, South Bay-based college student. Eric strives to celebrate tradition while exploring new possibilities.

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Hideki Fukusumi

With degrees in ethnic studies and counseling, much of Hideki's passion lies in bringing together community and providing a voice to the voiceless. When he's not fighting fascism, you can find him cooking yakitori or working on some music-related project.

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Hiro Edeza

Hiro Edeza studies history, Asian American studies, and museum studies at San Francisco State University. As he actively serves in JA non-profits, he hopes to continue his work in the historical preservation of under-represented communities after he receives his bachelor's degree.

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Kaelyn Maehara

Kaelyn Maehara is a filmmaker and ocean advocate originally from Los Angeles, California. You can now find her in Bristol, United Kingdom working on natural history documentaries and trying to diversify the environmental movement.

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Kerilyn Sato

Keri is a dog mama, semi-accomplished hula dancer, and three-time beer pong tournament champion who has never met a dog she didn't immediately love or a drink she wouldn’t finish.

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Kevin Onishi

Kevin Onishi was born and raised in San Jose, where he continues to be an active member in the Japanese American community. He currently works and lives in Los Angeles, where he is the Director of Programs for a nonprofit that advances the quality of life for older adults. In his free time, Kevin gets daily Victory Royals on solos in Fortnite.

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Kyle Weik

Kyle is an Orange County-based writer and avid baker who enjoys binge-watching K-dramas, testing skincare products, and dreaming of his next cake venture. He has a thousand tattoos and looks up to his older sister, Taylor.

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Lexi Suga

Owner of Notox Nails in Beverly Hills. Lexi has been specializing in Japanese nail art for over 8 years. She is fourth generation Japanese American living in West Los Angeles. She loves to eat, cook, and travel the world.

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Mariko Rooks

Mariko (she/null) is a mixed race Black Yonsei who calls Little Tokyo home, though she's currently pursuing a joint BA/MPH at Yale in ethnic studies and public health. You can find Mariko talking, writing, and researching with USA Water Polo, Changing Wxman Collective, Discover Nikkei, and more (if she's not at Fugetsu-Do).

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Marisa Katsuda

Educator aspiring for middle school students to love math one day at a time. Interested in equitable education, technology, coffee, and TikTok dances.

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Megan Nagasaki

Has a soft spot for community and is fascinated by culture, connection, and authentic storytelling. Marketing professional and social media enthusiast based in Los Angeles.

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Michelle Hirano

Born and raised in Gardena, CA, Michelle has a passion for education, food, social deduction games, and dogs.

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Monica Matsushima

Gardena, California-based, bedside nurse, mommy of three chickens, two kiddos, and one hyper terrier mix. Enjoys audiobooks, tabletop games, cooking, gardening, and pursuing sustainable living.

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Nate Gyotoku

Hilo built. Techy outdoorsman committed to leaving Hawaii better than I found it.

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Nicole Oshima

Recently graduated from UCLA with a major in Communications and minor in Asian American Studies, it goes without saying that Nicole is currently unemployed. After quarantine is over, however, she hopes to work in film or music and help create a more equitable and representative entertainment industry.

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Nicole Sato

Shin-Nisei born and raised in Torrance, trying to find the perfect medium of being Japanese and JA. Constantly on the quest for the best boba and french fries.

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Paul Matsushima

A family man, a community advocate, and an all around great guy.

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Philip Hirose

Born and raised Los Angeles. Dedicated to continuing a family legacy of community-based business, volunteerism, and activism.

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Randy Shiozaki

Randy is an Account Executive for UPS and former Vice President of Tomo No Kai at UCI. He loves to travel and experience other cultures. Unless the culture pertains to that of LA sports teams. He is not about that...

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Scott Shima

Just an all around great guy.

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Stan Yogi

Stan Yogi is a co-chair of Okaeri. He is the co-author of the award-winning books Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (a biography for younger readers) and Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California.

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Stephanie Nitahara

Chicago yonsei turned Los Angeles nonprofit executive with a passion for building the Nikkei community nationwide. Avid advocate for social justice and mental wellness to undo systems of oppression. Mother to a senior pomchi, sourdough starter, and the occasional succulent.

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Tanya Nakamoto

Originally from the Bay Area and now living in England, Tanya has an MSc in Conservation Practice and is passionate about cultural heritage conservation. She is interested in art, baking, sustainable and ethical fashion, and learning useless trivia.

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Taylor Weik

An LA-based writer with essays and journalism in Teen Vogue, NBC Asian America, Catapult, and more, Taylor's work focuses on celebrating and exploring Asian American communities and identities.

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Timothy Chuman

Second-year Communication Studies major at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Former intern at the Rafu Shimpo, co-founder of Cal Poly’s Nikkei Student Union, and always looking for ways to contribute to the Japanese American community.

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Tyus Hotta-Takahashi

Born and raised in the South Bay, Tyus is currently a quality assurance tester for Idea Factory International. He loves food, friends, and gaming. Sometimes he streams at https://Twitch.tv/KazeFGC

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