Personal Projects

I’m happy to announce that I have been selected to be an OZ Art Wire Fellow for the 2019-20 season! This means I’ll attend a variety of performances at OZ Arts for free in exchange of creative responses in the form of short stories or essays. These will be published on the Art Wire website, and may inspire longer pieces for submission elsewhere.

Works in progress: 

The Mouth and the Voice (A novel)

A young Japanese woman, who has been living abroad for the last five years, returns to her parents’ home in Tokyo after the March 2011 tsunami to find everything surreal and unrecognizable from the way she left it. The plot involves a massively popular J-pop idol group, innocent but twisted cartoons that have taken over TV commercials, the collective Japanese psyche after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the crazy inner-workings of an independent film studio, voice acting, and at the heart of all the chaos, a coming-of-age story about a young woman who slowly finds her way back home. Themes: returning home, identity, collective trauma in pop culture, coming-of-age. Literary fiction, ~83,000 words. (An early draft of this project was submitted for the Columbia School of the Arts M.F.A. degree in 2014.)

The Triumph of the Outrageously Cute Smiling Sunshine Idol (A novel)

A Japanese visual artist who has been living and working abroad for most of his life seeks to use his work to criticize Japanese society’s treatment of women, only to be targeted for his own misogyny. Written from the POV of all the women in his life.

Oh Yoko! (A novel)

A Japanese woman forced to move to Tennessee for her husband’s job finds unexpected parallels between Japan and the American South.

The Island is Burning (A Novel)

Submitted for the Barnard Centennial Scholars Program, 2007. A result of two years visiting Okinawa and researching the various sides to the Battle of Okinawa during World War II, as well as the ongoing tension between local Okinawans and U.S. military bases. The novel focuses on an Okinawan woman named Chiyo who survived the mass suicides during the Battle of Okinawa and reflects on the traumas of war as an elderly woman living in Yomitan village, only miles from the contentious U.S. air force base. Themes: WWII, war memory, U.S.-Japan relations, trauma.


Chapter 16, a publication of Humanities Tennessee:

Grasshopper, January 17, 2020
First-place winner of the Tennessee True Stories Essay Contest, judged by Mary Laura Philpott

Hyphen Magazine: 

The Story of a New Name, June 10, 2019
An essay about all the times I’ve changed my name, most recently from Ko to Yoshikawa.

The New Inquiry: 

Little Big Eater Girl, January 18, 2016
An essay about Japanese female competitive eaters and eating disorders.

Manufactured Response, April 22, 2014
An essay about responses to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Columbia Political Review: 

Memory and Pacifism, October 31, 2010
A survey on the various responses to the U.S. military base presence in Okinawa, Japan.

Change Japan Can Believe In, October 18, 2009
A survey on the various responses to PM Yukio Hatoyama’s victory in the 2009 election.

Columbia Daily Spectator, regular columnist for a series called “2+2=5”: 

An expert on nothing, April 27, 2010

Brave new reader, April 13, 2010

The carnivore manifesto, March 30, 2010

The elimination of Women’s History Month, March, 2110, March 9, 2010

The gold standard, February 23, 2010

A romance of many dimensions, February 9, 2010

Frontiers of philosophy, January 26, 2010

There will be time, December 13, 2009

Can’t read my poker face, November 29, 2009

A matter of taste, November 15, 2009

A cosmic consciousness, October 18, 2009

Can machines produce art?, October 4, 2009

Why not wonder?, September 20, 2009