Home History JCCCW Omoide Breaking the Silence~JCCCW’s Omoide

Breaking the Silence~JCCCW’s Omoide

Iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: A. Weith

By Carolee Okamoto For The North American Post

Out of the darkness

Out of the past

Come words that have now

Become our task.



Bubbling up,

Unspoken whispers from unknown lips.

An ill-gotten language

Never fully heard

Yet felt…

Most every day.

Ancestral words 

Flow to the surface

Long lost on some cold and lonely iceberg

Left floating in a murky sea of nothingness.

Mountains of stories

Left behind… left hanging

Deeply below…


Reflecting upward at us

For us… the Sanseis

Unknown stories coursing

through our veins… pulsing.

So many words of silence

Lying within the depths of our souls

These truths that must be told

These long-held memories of old.

Like glaciers melting,

Slowly fading away

Our history…their trauma

They must be spoken.

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Omoide is developed under an umbrella of organizations supported in part by the Nikkei Heritage Association of Washington and the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. To date, the Omoide team has introduced the project to several thousand students, 200 teachers, and 400 members of the general public over the past 12 years. These personal accounts have encouraged open dialog and discussions of constitutional rights, personal history, cultural development, immigrant experiences in the US, family values, multi-cultural issues and much more.