Social Justice, Podcast, Arts & Culture

Episode 123: The Stakes of Exposure — with Namiko Kunimoto

June 01, 2021
Subscribe via:     Soundcloud   Apple Podcasts   Spotify   Google Podcasts   Podyssey   Youtube

Taiko drumming enthusiast and specialist in modern and contemporary Japanese art Namiko Kunimoto, joins Am Johal on this installment of Below the Radar. Throughout this episode, Namiko explores Japanese imperialism, Olympic dissent, and the internment of Japanese Canadians; while drawing from the works of artists such as Takayama Akira and Shimada Yoshiko.

Namiko and Am also critique the tendency for universities to be run from ivory towers that often overlook issues of poverty, racism and sexism. They speak about some successful  bottom-up programs that have been beneficial for students of colour, and speak to the increased importance of these programs coming out of the pandemic. Namiko also explores how her familial history, and growing up as an Asian Canadian in rural BC and Alberta, had led her to discover her passion for art history and taiko drumming.

About Our Guest


Namiko Kunimoto’s work focuses on race, gender, and urbanization through art and visual culture. She has written on family photography during the Japanese-Canadian incarceration in “Intimate Archives: Japanese-Canadian Family Photography, 1939-1945,” on displacement and labour in “Olympic Dissent: Art, Politics, and the Tokyo Games,” and on the depiction of blackness in Japanese art in The Stakes of Exposure: Anxious Bodies in Postwar Japanese Art.

As Director of the Center for Ethnic Studies at Ohio State University, she has organized community discussions on bystander training, panels on the incarceration of Japanese-American, Latino/a people & First Nations peoples at Fort Sil, and workshops on how to take action against racism during COVID-19. 

Kunimoto’s awards include a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship, Japan Foundation Fellowships (2007 and 2016), a College Art Association Millard/Meiss Author Award, and the Ratner Award for Distinguished Teaching (2019). She has been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and was the Vice-President of the Japanese Art History Forum for three years. Her next project, Transpacific Erasures: Contemporary Art, Gender, Race and the Afterlives of Japanese Imperialism, considers the Pacific War and its traumatic afterlives through the lens of contemporary artists in Japan and North America.

Cite This Episode

Chicago Style

Johal, Am. “The Stakes of Exposure — with Namiko Kunimoto.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, June 1, 2021.


Stay Up to Date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.