Editor’s Note: The following piece by Jenni Kuida, a tribute to former Manzanar Committee member Grace Harada, was originally published in January 2002, in the Rafu Shimpo, and on her family’s web site. She posted a link to her story on Facebook on January 18, commemorating the tenth anniversary of Harada’s passing. We thought it would be a fitting tribute to publish it here as well.
You might not have ever met Grace Harada. But if you’ve been to an Obon at Senshin Buddhist Temple or the Manzanar Pilgrimage in the last thirty years, chances are, you have surely seen her. She was the petite Nisei woman dancing Bon Odori in the inner circle, leading Sansei like me, trying to follow along in the outer circle. I would always seek her out when stumbling through the moves, because I knew that if I followed her, I’d be ok.
Sadly, she passed away on January 18 at age 76. Only one week earlier, she suffered from a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. Just like that. At the memorial service for Grace at Senshin Buddhist Temple, Reverend Mas Kodani spoke fondly of Grace, using the words “gracious” and “graceful” to describe Grace. He talked about how Grace loved to dance. She lived her life doing what she loved to do. She found true joy in dancing, and in teaching dance to others. Read more of this post