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Hapa Japan Remix

Sawyer Seminar X / CJRC Hapa Japan Database Project

How does a multiethnic location like Los Angeles provide the contours for mixed race individuals and community formations? How does dislocation - across the Pacific Ocean - inform multiracial experiences? And how does religion either inform or provide an alternative to race and mixed race as a framework for identity formation?


Ralph Brannen “I Wasn't a Hapa until I was Twelve”
Ralph Brannen was born in Southern California, lives in Southern California and went to L.A. high and UCLA, not at the same time.

Peter Woods “Mixed Media or How Media Challenged Me to Research My Heritage”
Peter Woods (Quality Collective & Writ Large Press) has been a cultural event programmer for the last 15 years in L.A. 

Sesshu Foster reads from City Terrace Field Manual (Kaya Press, 1996)
Sesshu Foster is author of City Terrace Field ManualAtomik Aztex and other books, and a two-time winner of the American Book Award.


Athena Asklipiadis, Mixed Marrow and MASC
Athena Mari Asklipiadis, of Japanese, Greek, Italian, Armenian and Egyptian heritage, has a BA in Broadcasting from Pepperdine University. After contributing to the websites Eurasian Nation, Addicted to Race and We Are Hapa, Asklipiadis recognized the lack of awareness in the community regarding marrow donation, so she founded an organization called Mixed Marrow in 2009. Her outreach efforts have since been featured in TIME Magazine and on NBC News and CNN. Asklipiadis currently operates Mixed Marrow and is Associate Producer for the documentary film, Mixed Match, produced and directed by Jeff Chiba Stearns.

Leland Saito, USC
Leland Saito is Associate Professor of Sociology at USC and his research interests and publications focus on race, urban politics, and development.



Mari L’Esperance reads from The Darkened Temple (University of Nebraska Press, 2008)
Mari L'Esperance was born in Kobe, Japan to a Japanese mother and a French Canadian-American father and raised in the Pacific Rim. A poet as well as a psychotherapist in private practice in Pasadena (specializing in adults with mixed-race and cross-cultural backgrounds), L'Esperance's publications include the full-length poetry collection The Darkened Temple (2008 U. of Nebraska Press) and the anthology Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine (2013 Prairie Lights Books), which she co-edited with Tomas Q. Morin.


Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd reads from Dream of the Water Children (2Leaf Press, 2014)
Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd, M.A. is an independent writer/scholar/artist of African-American/Native-American and Japanese heritage who was born in the 1950s in Japan. He has been a part of numerous radio programs and newspaper articles on identity and social justice in the U.S. and has been published in numerous historical society and cultural articles. He dedicates his research and writing to interrogate the effects and legacies of sociological haunting, racialized and gendered violence, and displacement in the Asia Pacific and Eastern Turkey. His debut book will be published by 2Leaf Press in Fall 2014.

Curtiss Rooks “Reflections of a Suntanned Samurai: 25 Years of Hap(a)in' Around”
Born in Camp Zama, Japan to an African American father and Native Japanese mother, Dr. Rooks has taught, written and spoken widely on mixed-race, Asian Pacific American and U.S. diversity issues, and has been an active member Hapa and Japanese American organizations at local, national and international levels representing community, mixed-race and diversity interest.


Teresa Williams-Leon, CSU Northridge
Teresa Williams-Leon is Professor of Asian American Studies at California State University, Northridge, and co-editor of The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed Heritage Asian Americans (Temple, 2001) and No Passing Zone: The Artistic and Discursive Voices of Asian-Descent Multiracials (special issue of Amerasia Journal, 1997).

Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai
Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai is currently the USC Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Japanese Religions and Cultures, and received her PhD in History from UC Santa Barbara on the topic of the post-war mixed-race American Japanese experience.

Cynthia Nakashima
Cynthia Nakashima has taught and published in the field of mixed-race studies for 25 years.  She most recently co-curated an exhibit entitled: Visible and Invisible: A Hapa Japanese History with Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai and Duncan Williams for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.



Duncan Williams, USC
Founder of the Hapa Japan Database Project, Duncan Williams is the chair of the School of Religion and co-director of the Center for Japanese Religions and Culture at USC.

Greg Kimura, Japanese American National Museum
Greg Kimura, President/CEO of the Japanese American National Museum, is an Episcopal priest with a PhD in philosophy of religion from Cambridge University.


8:00 PM @ The School of Dramatic Arts, USC

Performance of “Kokoro” followed by talkback with Playwright, Velina Hasu Houston

Velina Hasu Houston is a writer of plays, musical theatre, opera, screenplays, essays, and poetry; as well as Professor, Director of Dramatic Writing, and Associate Dean at the USC School of Dramatic Arts and Associated Faculty with the USC Center for Japanese Religions & Culture.

**Complimentary tickets to "Kokoro" are limited. Please e-mail to reserve one ahead of time**

Presented by the Center for Japanese Religions and Culture's "Critical Mixed-Race Studies: A Transpacific Approach" Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminars Series at the University of Southern California.