Tamiko Nimura

b. 1973

image description

I’m an Asian American (Sansei/Pinay) writer with roots in Northern California, although I now live in the Pacific Northwest. My recent publications include pieces in The Rumpus, New California Writing 2012, Kartika Review, Remedy Quarterly, Avidly, Edible Seattle, and Full Grown People. My degrees in English are from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Washington, where I studied African American and Asian American literatures. I contribute regularly to Discover Nikkei, The Seattle Star, and the International Examiner. I’ve received awards and honors from the Ford Foundation, the Japanese American Citizens League, the University of Iowa, the Asia Pacific Fund, and SheWrites.

I write from a broad interpretation of the Japanese phrase kodomo no tame ni, which means “for the sake of the children.” Most of my writing centers on a few themes (family, food, grief, memory, history, social justice) that are rooted in kodomo no tame ni. In my interpretation, kodomo no tame ni expresses not only parental love, but a wider collective love for past and future generations. In a Japanese American context, it embodies the desire to persist in the face of difficulty, and invokes the sacrifices our ancestors made for us during the Depression and World War II. I also write for my Filipina American mother and grandmother, who immigrated from the Philippines in the 1950s and persisted through various racial oppressions as they moved around United States as part of a military family. After pursuing a career in academia, I have devoted much of my freelance writing career to “a larger memory” (as Ron Takaki put it): providing a signal boost for people, places, events, and causes which are still often under the mainstream radar.

I write to honor the astonishing love that came before me.