KOBO at Higo - Part 2

Inside the Higo 10 Cents Store, c. 1907
Inside the Higo 10 Cents Store, c. 1907

In opening KOBO in the beloved space known to all as Higo, we could feel the sense of pride and the support of the local community to prepare Higo for its next chapter in preserving the stories of Japantown. We have learned so much from the Nisei, who are coming through and sharing with us their memories of growing up in this neighborhood.  As a third generation Japanese American who grew up in Seattle, I hope to honor the history of Japantown and continue to build and preserve community here. I was born in Japan to a Japanese American Nisei mother from California and a Taiwanese father who lived most of his life in Japan. My parents met in Chicago at the end of the war. During World War II, my mother was unjustly removed and incarcerated at Santa Anita Assembly Center before she and her siblings were reunited and able to settle in Chicago. My parents moved and settled in Japan for 18 years at the end of the war. I grew up speaking Japanese and did not know much English when our family first moved back to the United States (to Seattle) after my father passed away in Japan.   John and I consider ourselves homegrown Seattleites and after living in NYC and Tokyo for several years, we returned to Seattle and created KOBO in 1995. 

Place(s): Seattle, Chicago, Japan

– Binko Chiong-Bisbee

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant