Arts & Entertainment

Arkansas ‘Relocation’: Film explores impact of camps on inmates’ children

In 1942, some 120,000 West Coast Japanese Americans were taken from their homes and imprisoned in concentration camps throughout the country. A film showing the impact of the incarceration on the children born to inmates in the Rohwer camp, or after the Arkansas camp closed down, will be shown in conjunction with the Day of […]

A ‘delectable’ though perhaps ‘paradoxical’ tribute to a civil rights icon

FRED KOREMATSU SPEAKS UP By Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, Illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday Books, 2017, 112 pp., $18, hardcover) As indulgent friend/relative and indefatigable book advocate, one activity I have always found a great challenge is finding holiday books for the children on my list. (I have sometimes tongue-in-cheek attributed my […]

A ‘powerful’ (and ‘critical’) case for the Asian American Movement

SERVE THE PEOPLE: MAKING ASIAN AMERICA IN THE LONG SIXTIES By Karen L. Ishizuka (London: Verso, 2016, 288 pp., $29.95, hardcover) In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which prompted the U.S. government to imprison 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry (two-thirds of which were U.S. citizens) in concentration camps, a […]

Historian ‘illuminates’ JA history

THE GREAT UNKNOWN: JAPANESE AMERICAN SKETCHES By Greg Robinson (Boulder, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2016, 400 pp., $45, hardcover) In Kenji Taguma’s resplendent foreword to this latest of historian Greg Robinson’s cavalcade of exemplary volumes devoted to illuminating the Japanese American experience, he rightly observes that “The Great Unknown” is a work that “epitomizes […]

Memoirist intertwines family, farming and feelings of the heart

CHANGING SEASON: A FATHER, A DAUGHTER, A FAMILY FARM By David Mas Masumoto with Nikiko Masumoto (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday, 2016, 192 pp., $16, paperback) In the mid-1980s, while researching the World War II incarceration experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry at the Gila River Relocation Center in south central Arizona, I discovered a brief yet […]

Memoir offers insights into WWII JA teen’s relationships

American Yellow By George Omi (Sarasota, Fla.: First Edition Design Publishing, 2016, 140 pp., $14.95, paperback) George Omi’s “American Yellow” (2016), a memoir on his Japanese American teenage experiences during World War II and incarceration, provides an intimate lens to view his relationships with his family, community and outside world. The memoir offers a glimpse […]

Former picture brides’ oral histories enlightens

PICTURE BRIDE STORIES By Barbara F. Kawakami (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2016, 408 pp., $39.99, cloth) “Soto Kimura’s story is typical of the stories of early Issei women. They arrived in Hawai‘i unprepared for the harsh realities that confronted them. The majority of them came with only a fourth-grade education from rural villages. Yet […]

‘Rare and enlightening addition’ to the ‘black hole’ of JA scholarship

THE LONG AFTERLIFE OF NIKKEI WARTIME INCARCERATION By Karen M. Inouye (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2016, 256 pp., $55, hardcover) Karen M. Inouye, a professor of American studies at the University of Indiana, has launched a new book that takes up a subject still relatively unknown, the long-term resonance of the wartime Japanese American […]

‘Fresh’ history of Hawai‘i’s Nikkei is somewhat lacking

FROM RACE TO ETHNICITY: INTERPRETING JAPANESE AMERICAN EXPERIENCES IN HAWAII By Jonathan Y. Okamura (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014, 272 pp., $42, cloth) It is a somewhat curious fact that many of the people I have met on the mainland, Japanese Americans and others alike, seem rather uninformed about the Nikkei experience in Hawai‘i. (I […]

An ‘immersion’ into Terminal Island Nikkei lives

TERMINAL ISLAND: LOST COMMUNITIES OF LOS ANGELES HARBOR By Naomi Hirahara and Geraldine Knatz (Santa Monica, Calif.: Angel City Press, 2015, 288 pp., $35, paperback) As an oral historian, I have always been addicted to reading obituaries, especially those relating to the World War II Japanese American experience. For example, a recent transfixing obituary for […]

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