Archives for January 2014

Reclaiming the history of Sacramento’s lost Japantown

SACRAMENTO’S HISTORIC JAPANTOWN: LEGACY OF A LOST NEIGHBORHOOD By Kevin Wildie. (Charlestown, S.C. : The History Press, 2013, 192 pp., $19.99, paperback) In this slim volume, Kevin Wildie transports us back to a disappeared community. With help from oral histories and numerous photographs, he tells the tale of Sacramento’s Fourth Street Japantown. Founded at the turn […]

S.F. Japantown library boasts largest Japanese language collection in Bay Area

On the outer edge of San Francisco’s Japantown, the unassuming Western Addition Branch of the San Francisco Public Library houses one of the largest collections of Japanese books on the Pacific Coast. Susanne Sakai, the collection’s librarian at the Western Addition Branch, said that the library has a collection of 26,621 Japanese language books and […]

Nuanced snippets from Nisei Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s life

Starting from Loomis and Other Stories By Hiroshi Kashiwagi, edited by Tim Yamamura (Boulder, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, as part of The George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in the Americas Series, 2013, 186 pp., $21.95, paper) Hiroshi Kashiwagi has never been an “inside-the-box” sort of writer, playwright, poet or performer, and his memoir is […]

Nikkei history meets multi-generational family memoir

LOOKING AFTER MINIDOKA: AN AMERICAN MEMOIR By Neil Nakadate (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2013, 236 pp., $20, paperback) Although its publisher markets “Looking after Minidoka” as a “memoir,” this volume can lay equal claim to being a “history.” It is, in fact, the superlative fusion of these two genres that accounts for the most […]

A Keene look on the life of a poet

THE WINTER SUN SHINES IN: A LIFE OF MASAOKA SHIKI By Donald Keene (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013, 240 pp., $35, cloth) In the midst of a changing society where Japan was quickly westernizing, Masaoka Shiki, a haiku and tanka poet at the turn of the century in Japan, had modernized the nation’s ancient […]

THE KAERU KID: Dreams come true in Death Valley

Randy Johnson, Marta Becket and Albert Johnson carved their dreams out of an area that we might dismiss, on first impression, as nothing more than a desolate, barren desert. These visionaries dreamed of homes in a desert, castles and an opera house. Although most of us expect to find real castles in foreign countries, one […]

JCCCNC photo exhibit explores Japanese American heritage

The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California held an opening reception Nov. 23 at its Issei Memorial Hall in San Francisco’s Japantown to showcase the submissions for its “The Eye of the Beholder: Japanese American Heritage Photo Contest.” More than 50 people attended the reception, including participants and their families and community members. […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Japanese Canadian redress and its worldwide impact

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in Nikkei Voice’s October 2013 issue. On August 10, 1988, following almost two decades of political organizing, lawsuits and lobbying by Japanese Americans and their supporters for reparations (in what they dubbed the Campaign for Redress), the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was enacted. It granted an official […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Becoming a monk

Waking up at 5:30 a.m. has never been my thing. And waking up in a temple, throwing on monk robes and saying Buddhist chants for an hour on my knees when it’s snowing outside is also not usually my thing; but it’s what I found myself doing last winter. A couple of years ago, I […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Family ties that bind

I returned from a visit to family in Southern California a few days ago and am savoring the good feelings that were brought about by seeing all of them. My sister and I first went to Oceanside,  where the rest of our siblings (there are six of us) live, and had a series of gatherings […]

Kyplex Cloud Security Seal - Click for Verification