Archives for January 2014

OBITUARY: Frank Yonekazu Tanaka

(92), passed away peacefully at his home in San Francisco on Dec. 14, 2013. He was born in San Francisco on Jan. 28, 1921. After internment at Heart Mountain relocation camp during WWII, he moved to New York and earned a BA from NYU. He served in the Army MIS as an interpreter during the […]

FULL COUNT: The Tanaka posting and free agency roundup

Less than two weeks into 2014, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have already granted record-setting Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka permission to sign with a major league club. His 30-day signing period ends on Jan. 24 and Rakuten is owed a $20 million posting fee from the team that signs Tanaka, and literally every MLB club has […]

Little Tokyo mom-and-pop businesses continue through rough times

LOS ANGELES — A handful of mom-and-pop retail stores in Little Tokyo have survived economic downturns to become almost permanent fixtures, hanging on for anywhere from 68 years to more than a century. In fact, Fugetsu-Do Confectioners has been around since 1903, Mikawaya started in 1910, and Rafu Bussan, S.K. Uyeda Department Store, Bunkado and […]

Entertainment Re-Oriented: YEAR IN REVIEW: Asian Americans make groundbreaking, bankable achievements

It feels a little strange to state this, but I think 2013 was a good year for Asian and Asian American entertainment. It feels like there weren’t huge battles being fought and won (or lost), but rather, things are moving slowly and steadily in a positive direction, without a whole lot of incident. Network TV […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Take care of the land

Since a new year is upon us, it’s that time again when we decide to make positive changes in our lives. It usually has to do with shedding excess poundage accumulated since Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes it involves starting an exercise regimen that our doctors recommended almost a year ago with the threat of chronic […]

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOVEMENT: An Asian American family visits the civil rights South

“Why’d y’all come to Birmingham?” the white cashier at Niki’s Restaurant incredulously asked when we mentioned we’d come all the way from Sacramento, Calif. “We came to see the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” we replied. “Well, y’all be sure to tell folks in Sacramento to come visit us, you hear,” he said. This was part […]

Injustices of the WWII incarceration, as told to kids

THE CAT WHO CHOSE TO DREAM By Loriene Honda; artwork by Jimmy Mirikitani (Dixon, Calif.: Martin Pearl Publishing, 2014, 40 pp; $17.99; hardcover) Jimmy Mirikitani’s art is luminous in Loriene Honda’s remarkable book, “The Cat Who Chose to Dream.” Our young hero, Jimmy the cat, lives in a prison camp with his Japanese American family. […]

‘Masterpiece’ traces battles Nikkei fought for justice

IN DEFENSE OF JUSTICE: Joseph Kurihara and the Japanese American Struggle for Equality By Eileen H. Tamura (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2013, 256 pp., $40, cloth) On the dust jacket of this volume, I am quoted as pronouncing it to be “a substantial contribution to Japanese American historiography and collective memory.” That reserved […]

Topaz: Ancestral inheritance in the poetry of Dempster 

TOPAZ By Brian Komei Dempster (New York: Four Way Books, 2013, 110 pp., $15.95, paperback) Members of the Japanese American community may be familiar with the life and work of Nichiren Buddhist Archbishop Nitten Ishida, and his wife, Chiyoko Ishida. Nitten’s singular works of calligraphy, completed during and after the Pacific War, remain major works […]

Viewing Seattle’s Nikkei community through multiple lenses

CLAIMING THE ORIENTAL GATEWAY: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America By Shelley Sang-Hee Lee. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012, $29.95, paperback) During the first two decades of the 20th century, Seattle was the West Coast’s most populated Japanese American city. However, in the subsequent years prior to World War II, both the San Francisco and Los […]

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