Appreciation vs Appropriation
A nuanced discussion on cultural ownership
A collaboration between the TCJACL Social Justice Committee and Made By Yuki
Funded by Karen and Les Suzukamo
Graphic design by Kuniko Creates
Appreciation vs Appropriation is a continuous conversation on cultural ownership that attempts to explore this complex topic in a nuanced way. This conversation is structured as a series of one-on-one interviews with artists, subject matter experts, and community members speaking from their own perspectives rather than attempting to speak for entire communities or cultures. We do not expect all messaging to be consistent, nor do we expect a consensus to be reached on where the line falls between appropriation and appreciation. Rather, we hope to spark further conversations on the topic.
All conversations are streamed live, and recordings are made available (check below!) if interviewees grant their permission for us to do so.
We are primarily focusing on appropriation of Japanese culture and interviewing Nikkei or Japanese individuals, but we hope to expand the conversation further with the right partners. If you represent a cultural organization that is interested in collaborating with us, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Please register here to receive a streaming link for our upcoming discussions.
Registrants may submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org up to one week before the event.
Never miss a live discussion!
Upcoming live discussions:
Saturday, October 7th at 7pm US Central Time
Akemi Johnson (she/her)
Akemi Johnson is a writer and the author of Night In the American Village: Women in the Shadow of the U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa. A former Fulbright scholar to Japan, Akemi has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, NPR’s Code Switch, and other publications. Her current project blends history, memoir, and reportage to tell the story of Tule Lake concentration camp, where the U.S. government incarcerated her family during WWII.
Ray Masaki (he/him)
Ray Masaki is a Japanese-American graphic designer, writer, and educator based in Tokyo. He studied illustration at Parsons School of Design, type design at The Cooper Union, received an MFA in graphic design from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2021 Ray published Why is the salaryman carrying a surfboard? – a bilingual book about the history of institutional white supremacy and westernization in the Japanese design industry.
Saturday, August 12th at 7pm US Central Time
Vinicius Taguchi (he/him)
Yuki is the creator behind Made by Yuki, a clothing line that utilizes Kimonos and other vintage Japanese textiles. By focusing on the history and craftsmanship of traditional textiles, Yuki creates opportunities for everyone to appreciate Japanese culture without overstepping the boundaries of appropriation.
Saturday, August 26th at 7pm US Central Time
Emi Ito (she/her)
Emi Ito is a mother and ethnic studies educator, as well as a core member of the grassroots organization, Japanese American Families for Justice. She began writing about the cultural appropriation of the kimono and Japanese culture in sustainable fashion several years ago.
- Little Koto’s Closet
- An Open Letter to White Makers and Designers Who Are Inspired by The Kimono and Japanese Culture
- My Kimono is Not Your Couture
Saturday, September 9th at 7pm US Central Time
Atsushi Futatsuya (he/him)
Atsushi was born into a family of Sashiko artisans in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. In 2015, Atsushi and his mother Keiko started Sashi.Co, a website to share the enjoyment of Sashiko. Atsushi now shares stories and techniques about Sashiko to a wide audience through the website and Instagram. In teaching Sashiko, Atsushi highlights the importance of understanding Japanese culture and language.
Saturday, September 23rd at 7pm US Central Time
M Nijiya (they/them)
虹屋 “M” 恵美
Vinicius Taguchi (he/him)
Emi “M” Nijiya (they/them) is a half-Japanese, transgender tattoo artist in South Minneapolis, Minnesota. They own a tattoo shop called Jackalope Tattoo that houses 15 artists and staff of marginalized genders. M has worked in the arts most of their life. They work in black and grey realism and gender affirming tattoos.
The tattoo industry is very cis-het, white male dominated, but M has made it their priority to give an environment to their clientele that is welcoming, safe and not intimidating. Their shop’s mission is to provide a safe space for women, the LGBTQIA+ community and POC.
Want to continue the conversation?
We are always looking for ways to expand and continue the conversation on cultural ownership.
- Collaborate on a conversation
- Connect us with subject matter experts, community members, and organizations
- Donate to TCJACL and write “Social Justice” in the dedication