• LA Commons Staff

Nobuko Miyamoto


"I sometimes feel like I’m a bull in the china shop in the JA community. But I just have to talk about this. These stories comes from my very own family experience. And I do this with respect and love for those I speak of, who are no longer with us and because they were able to transform their attitudes. Maybe you’ll see similarities in families. Maybe it will give you a space to share your stories. Read it and see.


Example #1: It was 1946, just after we got out of camp and returned to Los Angeles, my family was staying at the house of my Auntie Hatsue and Uncle Fred. They lived at 2706 Hobart, between Adams and Jefferson just East of Western, a neighborhood of primarily black folks, with whom we shared the same restrictions of neighborhoods we were allowed to live in. Now, my Auntie was a devout Buddhist and one of the sweetest people you’d ever meet. I remember her exchanging greetings over the fence with the black lady next door, but one day as I was going out to play, my mother firmly told me, “don’t play with the kuro-chan kids,” echoed by my dear Auntie. They grumbled more words in Japanese that included “kuro-chan” and from the sound of their voices I knew they meant business. I somehow knew that kuro-chan (kuro=black) meant black people…or negro in those days. It was a kind of golden rule for little Japanese girls…don’t play with the kuro-chans.


Example #2: Okay, let’s fast-forward a decade. We are now living in our own house on 4th Avenue, near Venice Blvd., another black neighborhood we lived in. I’m going to LA High School now, that has an equal mix of black, Jewish and Asian kids. One day I walk home with the Curtis who lives just down the street from me. I invite him into my house to finish a conversation we are having. We are sitting in the living room when my mom comes home. After Curtis leaves my mom screams at me, “never bring him into the house when you’re alone!” I try to point out her irrational, fearful and racist response, but nothing pierced through her emotions. Another Golden Rule moment for Japanese girls." Read more.








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