New names of Obie Nisei

From combing through the Alumni Directory up to 1960, I seem to find new names of Oberlin Nisei (grads and non-grads) every time.

Today I stumbled upon:

  • Esther Matsu Kinoshita (Mrs. William Ujifusa), college & con, 1943-4, 1947 Nongrad
  • Lily Yuriko Fukuhara, college & con, 1944-5, 1948 Nongrad (information unknown)
  • Mr. Renso Enkoji, college, 1944-6, 1948 Nongrad (California)
  • Michiko Matsushima (Mrs. Thomas T. Fujimoto), 1944-46, 1948 Nongrad (Cleveland)
  • June Kimura, college, ’44-5, 1948 Nongrad  (
  • Saburo Kawahara, conservatory, ’46-8, 1950 Nongrad, “Gate Mills, O, Chagrin Valley Hunt Club”
  • Teruko Akagi, conservatory, 1945 Graduate, violinist, Chicago area
  • June Kitazawa, (Mrs. C. E. Barr), college,1946
  • May Kitazawa, (Mrs. David E. Arbegast), college, 1945 (I’d originally found her in the ’45 Oberlin Hi-O-Hi yearbook, and while looking her up in the Alphabetical Index of the Alum Registry was surprised to see her listed under a “June” Kitazawa. They are sisters.)
  • Arthur Shuntetsu Kodama, college, 1941-4, 1945 Nongrad. I first saw “Arthur” as the cryptic “A. Kodama” in a group photo in the ’45 yearbook. However, his photo and full name had not been listed within any of the four classes, unless I missed it. After attending for so long I wonder what prevented him from graduating from Oberlin.
  • Ray Masaaki Egashira, college, conservatory, 1945-6, 1949 Nongrad. I had seen a “Ray Egashira”‘s freshman year picture in the 1946 yearbook and was puzzled when I could find no other traces of him in any of the other books.

You’ll notice that most of these people did not graduate from Oberlin. In most of these cases, students were only temporarily studying at Oberlin after being forcibly “evacuated” (for their “own safety”) from their academic institutions on the West Coast. Oberlin President Wilkins corresponded with many West Coast schools and offered to take in the displaced Nisei. While some graduated from Oberlin, others were able to go back and obtain degrees from their former schools.

After two weeks of being overwhelmed by this task, I’m finally beginning to settle into a routine. My nonsensical spreadsheet is also beginning to really fill-in and shape up. By now I have about 32 names.


Solo Jazz/blues moves

For the sake of not forgetting everything that I’m learning in a wonderful Faux-co (Faux Exco) taught by the talented Ma’ayan Dagan, I’m compiling a list of the names of dance moves she’s taught us (in no particular order- or whenever I can remember them!):

Week 1 – Jazz

  1. Knee Slaps
  2. Mess Around
  3. Suzy Q
  4. Fishtail
  5. Shake & Bake
  6. Cake Walk
  7. Skate
  8. Bees Knees

Week 2 – Blues

  1. Shim Sham (though I guess this is also swing)
  2. Working on isolating different parts of body

Week 3 – Jazz

  1. Apple Jacks (similar to Knee Rocks)
  2. Bees knees (review)
  3. Jazz Square
  4. Boogie Forward/Backward
  5. Boogie down
  6. Falling off a log

And more that I can’t quite remember…

It’s so wonderful to be dancing two times a week! (I do Intro to Swing on Mondays.) I’m happy to know that I’ll definitely be able to continue these once I’m in Japan.

Spring Semester, 2013

This semester I was lucky enough to be a part-time student with just one credit hour thanks to my private reading with Professor Jed Deppman in the Comparative Literature department. My research topic that will eventually result in a Capstone paper is Ainu and Okinawan Literature that documents the struggle and transitions made by the Ainu (of Hokkaido) and the Okinawan peoples in the face of colonization and cultural erasure by mainland Japan.

Because I was able to remain a student, I was fortuitously able to obtain some fascinating jobs directly related to my interests that would have been closed off to me had I graduated as scheduled one semester early.

My first job is as “Shansi Associate”. This is a pretty fancy title for basically an intern position, but what I usually do is help poster events, arrange activities for Shansi Fellows (ongoing process), help in the office, and act as a replacement for the former Return Fellow, Nicole. Through this job I get a peek into the inner workings of Shansi, and I continue to be amazed and impressed with all it does- even if my work is merely to number 471 (x2) pages by hand!

My second job is as a researcher for the Oberlin Archives and Obie Alum ’71 Clyde Owan. The topic is Oberlin Nisei during the WWII period. This is fascinating, as I get to work in the fourth floor of Mudd surrounded by essentially the history of Oberlin in paper form, including yearbooks, correspondence letters, photographs, and student records! As I conduct my research I hope to find and become connected to Alums who were around during that time period.

More soon!