We Aare LGBT Nikkei: Opening Reception at NJAHS
There have always been queer Japanese Americans. Since the earliest days of Japanese migration to the United States, there have been Japanese Americans who defy traditional gender, and sexuality. Whether it be the poet Yone Noguchi or 1960s activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya, queer Japanese Americans have been among us. The Japanese American Citizens League famously became the first non-LGBT oriented civil rights organization to endorse gay marriage in 1994.
Yet, there seems to be an invisible wall between the two identities.
When operating within the Japanese American community, the support for LGBTQ people seems to be an outward show of support rather than an embracement. Thus, the identities almost seem mutually exclusive. As American queer scholar Eve Sedgwick described an “epistemology of the closet”, Nikkei scholar Andrew Leong describes an “epistemology of the pocket.” As LGBTQ people in America have “a closet” to be themselves, being a minority within a minority affords queer Nikkei even less space.
This exhibition aims to bring that issue to light and radically give Nikkei space to queer Nikkei. By doing so, the exhibition intends to not only send a message that LGBTQ Nikkei are welcome and embraced within San Francisco’s Japantown community, but to show the greater Japanese American community that LGBTQ people are amongst them.
- Eryn Kimura (http://erynkimura.com/)
- Julia LaChica (https://jlachica.art/)
- mia nakano (https://www.mianakano.com/)
- Midori (https://planetmidori.com/)
- Tina Kashiwagi (http://kashiwagitina.xyz/)
- Tomo Hirai
National Japanese American Historical Society
1684 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
(Across the street from the Peace Plaza in Japantown)
The National Japanese American Historical Society, Inc. (NJAHS), is a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1981, and dedicated to the collection, preservation, authentic interpretation, and sharing of historical information of the Japanese American experience for the diverse broader national and global community.