Since our founding in 2019, Nikkei Voices Project has developed and grown in a positive direction. We’re very proud of the diversity of our staff, and their abilities to contribute their own unique experience and skills to our success. Find out more about some of our team members below.

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Joe Shem is a senior at University Preparatory Academy. He has studied Japanese since kindergarten. While born and raised in San Jose, Joe appreciates Japanese traditional values, such as respect (敬意), courtesy (礼節), civility (礼儀正しさ), and humility (謙虚). He and his brother were motivated to start this project by his grandmother who lived through World War II in Japan and immigrated to the U.S. over 40 years ago. He wanted to lend a voice to earlier generations of Japanese immigrants in the Bay Area by hearing their stories of how Japanese traditions are being passed on to the next generation.

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Ken Shem is a college sophomore who loves Japanese history and traditions. He attended San Francisco Japanese School on Saturdays and is fluent in Japanese. When time permits, he enjoys Kendō (剣道) and Aikidō (合気道) practice. He has traveled to Japan many times, learning Japanese culture, geography, and history. He loves Japanese food and cherishes Japanese traditions like visiting and praying at Japanese temples and shrines.