Writing group creating a digital zine to showcase participants’ work. Author and artist Raymond K. Nakamura captured the community spirit of Mata Ashita in this brilliant comic.
TORONTO — Over the past five months, Mata Ashita has grown from the dream of a few artists to a community space for Japanese Canadians of all experiences. Ahead of our final session with Ruth Ozeki on June 5, Mata Ashita is excited to announce a digital zine that will showcase the work of its talented writers.
The zine, which will launch alongside Mata Ashita’s new website this summer, will evoke themes from the first six sessions and highlight creative writing and artwork from workshop participants. Any Japanese Canadian writer who attended at least one circle can submit up to two pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, June 25.
Since January, we have seen our engagement with writing move from identity to solidarity, especially given the recent rise in anti-Asian violence. During our April workshop, Mata Ashita peer support facilitator Nicola Koyanagi offered a grounding exercise, calling out the names of the Atlanta attack victims and asking attendees to call in their ancestors for strength. It was one of the most moving workshops to date.
“I am so grateful for the Mata Ashita community that continues to grow and deepen with every circle,” says Koyanagi. “At first, our sense of familiarity with each other’s experiences seemed almost shocking to some. In my experience as a Japanese Canadian, finding a place where I can fully be myself and feel understood is a rare occurrence. These circles have become a respite and place of softening, remembering, and healing during these incredibly challenging times.”
Author and artist Raymond K. Nakamura also recently captured the community spirit of Mata Ashita in a brilliant comic. To join in for our last event of the spring and stay informed about our second season, please find Mata Ashita on Instagram @mataashitawriting or register here.
THIS ARTICLE WAS REPRINTED FROM NIKKEI VOICE’S MAY 2021 ISSUE. SUBSCRIBE OR DONATE TODAY TO HELP SUPPORT OUR NEWSPAPER.