THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: A behind-the-scenes glimpse at a historian’s work documenting JA stories

One of the burdens of my work as a historian of Japanese Americans is the continuing sense of time passing. I have a continuing need to find people before they move out of reach, due to death or disability. Now, I realize that, on one level, I have less ground for complaint than most. After […]

Shigeaki Hinohara, Japan’s centenarian doctor, dies at 105

TOKYO — Shigeaki Hinohara, honorary head of St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo who continued practicing as a doctor after turning 100 and was a well-respected cultural figure, died from respiratory failure on July 18, the hospital said. He was 105. During his more than half-century as a physician at one of Tokyo’s leading hospitals, […]

Mixed-race JA woman documents first trip to Japan

Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes Written and illustrated by Christine Mari Inzer (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, $14.99, paperback) For people with immigrant ancestry, the experience of returning to one’s motherland is all too familiar. While its exciting to reunite […]

The amazing life of Isao Fujimoto

BOUNCING BACK: COMMUNITY, RESILIENCE & CURIOSITY By Isao Fujimoto (Sacramento, Calif.: I Street Press, 2017, 77 pp., $9, digital) It is sometimes hard to believe Isao Fujimoto’s lifetime of experiences. He was born the eldest son of farmers living in Washington state’s Yakima Valley. Throughout his life, he has been a student, a teacher and […]

‘Historical portrait’ adeptly conveys Nikkei’s lifestory

BEND WITH THE WIND: THE LIFE, FAMILY, AND WRITINGS OF GRACE ETO SHIBATA Edited by Naomi Shibata (San Jose: Shibata Family Limited Partnership, 2014, 242 pp., $19.95, paperback) One of my favorite songs by country singer Hank Williams, Jr. — whose political and social philosophy I revile — is “Family Tradition.” The book under review […]

Playing hostess to a foreign culture

TURNING JAPANESE: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR Written and illustrated by MariNaomi  (Minneapolis, Minn.: 2dcloud, 2016, 228 pp., $24.95, hard cover) MariNaomi shares her own journey of self-discovery of her ethnic roots in “Turning Japanese.” Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she illustrates her time spent as a hostess in a restaurant and bar in San […]

Secret ingredient to spice up drama

IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET By Misa Sugiura (New York: HarperCollins, 2017, 400 pp., $17.99, hard cover) Secrets are hard to discuss in the open, especially when layered deep in teenage drama. For Sana Kiyohara,  those secrets come in the form of her sexual orientation, her suspicion of her father having a mistress and […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: The Earl of Sandwich

What supposedly was created by John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich to allow him to continue playing his favorite card games while still enjoying a meal, the glorious combination of proteins or other fillings between baked vehicles, whether they be bread, biscuits, pita or even new-fangled starches like rice or noodle buns, the sandwich […]

Supporters of Muslim Americans outnumber Muslim haters

On a bright and windy morning last Saturday (June 10), Esther and Neal, a middle-aged couple, drove 60 miles from Richmond to San Jose to express their solidarity with Muslim Americans. They were motivated to come after hearing about the rally a group called ACT for America (AofA) were organizing against Sharia Law in the […]

82-year-old DJ puts unique spin on Tokyo’s club scene

TOKYO — Sumiko Iwamuro knows a thing or two about juggling work. She spends her days behind the counter at a family-run specialty gyoza dumpling restaurant and nights once or twice a month moonlighting under her stage name DJ Sumirock. It is an impressive feat for someone 82 years old, although she insists otherwise. At […]

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