Jewpanese Family Zoom Call
by Carmel Tanaka
Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to meet others like me: Jewish and Japanese. So, to celebrate Jewish and Asian Heritage Months in May, I invited all the Jewpanese people I knew in Canada, the US and Israel, and got them on Zoom. Since then, every second Sunday of the month, Jewpanese people and their families from all over the world have been invited and continue to join a Zoom call to talk about: all things “Jewpanese”.
Our Jewpanese group is far from homogenous, but we are the perfect amount of “niche” to be a safe space to explore our intersectional identities. Together, we support one another as we dive into some heavy topics like the Holocaust, the Japanese Canadian internment, the Japanese American incarceration, Imperial Japan, our roles as both settlers and refugees on Indigenous lands and our racial struggle on the colour spectrum.
In addition to talking about our shared intergenerational trauma, we get to commiserate about the obstacles we face in both Jewish and Japanese organized communities. We get to laugh about the absurdity of our two cultures coming together and the reconciling of them both in and out of the kitchen.
For many adults on this call, this is the first time that they are meeting other Jewpanese people – aside from their siblings. Most importantly, younger generations are now growing up seeing other Jewpanese children and their families on the screen and existing in a world knowing that they are not alone. It’s nothing short of life affirming.
Honestly, I love these two hours of sacred time with my Jewpanese family, which is growing exponentially each month as the word gets out that we are an actual thing. Proof that creating the spaces you want to be a part of is 100% possible and good chances are that there are other people out there who want to connect with you too.
Contact John Endo Greenaway if you are Jewpanese or in a Jewpanese family and want to join! He’s also a member 🙂
Carmel Tanaka (she/her) is a queer Jewpanese woman of colour, who runs JQT Vancouver (the Jewish queer trans non-profit @jqtvan), the Cross Cultural Walking Tours (@crossculturaltours), Genocide Prevention BC (www.genocidepreventionbc.com), and the Jewpanese Family Zoom Call! Her father is Japanese Canadian and her mother is Ashkenazi Israeli. She is proud to be a yonsei and member of Kikiai Collaborative (@kikiaicoll).