Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akiko Kurose Interview II
Narrator: Akiko Kurose
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 2 & 3, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kakiko-02-0026

<Begin Segment 26>

AI: Aki, you were about to tell us about what you do around the winter solstice and the holidays...

AK: Yes. I feel that our society does not recognize the cultural pluralism of our society. And we kind of emphasize the Christian part of Christmas, and whatever. And I feel it's not fair to a lot of the Jews, the Buddhists, or whatever, because the schools emphasize Christmas as a holiday. So I felt, I need to do something where people of all cultures feel comfortable about winter's holidays. So I decided to really emphasize the winter solstice and celebrate the winter solstice. And so we'd make a big science project out of it and also that I feel that this is a good way to emphasize peace. So I tell my students that we'll all draw a peace picture and I'm going to make a quilt for them. And so every year I have them draw a peace... they take a little panel, we discuss it, so that it's not just something they draw, but something that's meaningful to them that means peace for them. And so for my, for twenty years I've been making a peace quilt for my class. Also, winter solstice time, I feel like, okay I want to give these kids gifts that make it meaningful, and that it isn't part of a so-called "commercialized Christmas." So I thought I'd make a pillow for them, which is called a winter solstice pillow, which is warm, fuzzy and feeling. And the kids love it. So I've been making pillows for them every year. And then we say, "Happy winter solstice." And the kids also do happy winter solstice to the parents, you know, make a card, and we do the phases of the moon and show that, there's a emphasis on that. And on Valentine I make them a little Valentine pillow, made out of a heart, so that they feel good about each other. And that's their little peace pillow.

AI: That's wonderful.

AK: And you know, it goes a long way. The students are saying, "We still have that pillow you gave us, it makes us feel good." And I say, "That's what it all about, to feel good about yourselves and feel good about others."

AI: Thank you.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.