History

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Biracial MIS veteran Clarke Kawakami’s multifaceted legacy

Clarke Hiroshi Kawakami, a man who made his mark in many different fields, was born in Momence, Ill. in 1909. His mother was Mildred Clarke, a white American, and his father was the well-known Issei author and journalist Kiyoshi Karl Kawakami. Kiyoshi Kawakami was born in Yonezawa, Japan in the 1870s (most early sources claim […]

NIKKEI ANGEL ISLAND CHRONICLES: Nikkei family makes historic visit to see ancestor’s inscription on Angel Island

「廣島縣安佐郡川內村町溫井ミヤモト 四十五年」 “Miyamoto Nukui Community, Kawauchi Village, Asa District, Hiroshima Prefecture 45th Year” The characters above are carved on a wall on the second floor of the former Angel Island immigration station. On Aug. 7, a group of 16 descendants of Masaru Miyamoto gathered on Angel Island with San Francisco State University Professor Charles Egan to […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: The incarceration of Indonesians in the United States: An untold story

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series. As the Pacific War drew to a close, the War of Independence broke out in Indonesia. Javanese sailors working on British and Dutch ships, who faced deportation once the war ended, became fearful that they would be sent back on the ships to carry arms […]

NIKKEI ANGEL ISLAND CHRONICLES: Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans on Angel Island

The Oct. 4, 2014 Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage — presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation in partnership with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and National Japanese American Historical Society — sparked a lot of interest among Japanese Americans in their potential Angel Island roots, either immigrant ancestors or those who may have been briefly […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history (Part IV)

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final part of an ongoing series. Monika Kehoe’s wartime position as director of adult education at the Gila River War Relocation Authority concentration camp led to a postwar career that took her around the world, pursuing interests in multiple fields and working variously as instructor, athletics coach, administrator, […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history (part II)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an ongoing series. Monika Kehoe’s experience with Japanese Americans served as a foundation for her later career, which involved working as an administrator and teaching English to diverse international populations (a point that will be discussed in depth later on). As she noted in the introduction to […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history

Editor’s Note: This is the first part in an ongoing series. Ever since I began writing “The Great Unknown” in 2007, I have had the pleasure of contributing an annual queer heritage column, which explores the nature of sexuality and the experience of lesbians and gays in Japanese American history. This year’s installment recounts the […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Advertising executive and market researcher Arthur Hirose’s surprisingly successful career

This is the second half of a two-part series on the Hirose family, a pair of exceptional hapa brothers who grew up in New York at the turn of the 20th century. While older brother George Hirose (see the Nov. 7, 2013 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly), as mentioned, became a clerk at a […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Nisei literary artists in NY made their mark post-WWII

Throughout much of the 20th century, a unique feature of the West Coast Nikkei community press was the New Year’s supplement. These special holiday issues contained several additional pages in both English and Japanese. Most of the contents, at least in the English sections, were made up of advertisements from local businesses and columns of […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Hapa baritone George Hirose’s theatrical story

One of the pleasures of working on “The Great Unknown” is the joy of running across unfamiliar names, looking into their stories, and uncovering information that not only is interesting, but makes the history we study richer and more complex. A case in point is that of George and Arthur Hirose, a pair of hapa […]

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