Archives for January 2015

OBITUARY: Ellen Setsuko Shimasaki

SHIMASAKI, ELLEN SETSUKO, 86, passed away November 2014 with her family by her bedside in Castro Valley, CA. She was born Ellen Shimada in February 1928 to parents Goro and Shizuka Shimada in Stockton, CA. The youngest of five sisters, the family moved to Sacramento where the father managed and the family lived at the […]

Backlash as Scarlett Johansson cast in ‘Ghost in the Shell’ role

LOS ANGELES — Scarlett Johansson has signed as the lead role in DreamWorks’ live action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell,” Variety reported Jan. 5. Johansson, who is most recently known for her role starring in “Lucy” and as the Black Widow in Disney’s Marvel Studios films, will play the lead role in the film, […]


HYDE, AYAKO (AYA), 96, of East Palo Alto passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 17, with many relatives at her side. She will be remembered always for her strong spirit and unwavering devotion to family. Aya Funabiki was born on September 18, 1918, in Mountain View, the fifth of eight children of Sanichi and Masuyo […]

New owner of Flower Mart property expresses intent to redesign market

Tensions ran high Dec. 17 over the fate of the San Francisco Flower Mart after a major developer announced that it would redesign the flower market, thought of by many as a historical landmark that fosters one of the remaining working class industries in the city. Kilroy Realty Corporation officials said Dec. 17 that all […]

California Flower Market vendors comment on Kilroy proposal

Kilroy Realty Corporation and the historically Japanese American California Flower Market unveiled plans for a renovated San Francisco Flower Mart in the city’s South of Market neighborhood Dec. 17. In a deal reached between the developer and the market’s managers, existing vendors would be offered a five-year lease during construction of the new facility and […]

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

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a series. Some time ago, I was reading back issues of the Pacific Citizen, the national Japanese American Citizens League newspaper, and I came across a special issue from 1967 that marked the 25th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. There I found a memoir by Edison Uno, […]

Nikkei must speak out against police brutality

The other day, I received a petition in an e-mail asking me to tell PepsiCo, which makes Doritos,to stop buying the palm oil it uses to make the chips. “That sound when you bite down on Doritos … is the sound of rainforests being ‘crunched’ … for massive palm oil plantations ….” It seems that […]

OUT OF THE SHADOWS OF INFAMY: Nikkei resistance during World War II

Contrary to the stereotype that Japanese Americans during World War II never questioned the constitutionality of the United States concentration camps and willingly went in to the camps and even served in the Army from the camps, hundreds of Japanese Americans took part in all forms of protests, including legal, as well as physical ones. […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: FDR’s acts of diplomacy through his friendships with Japanese

A central figure in Japanese American history is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In my first book, “By Order of the President” (2001), I looked at Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass incarceration of some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent in American concentration camps. One of my book’s main arguments was […]

Recapturing the lost world of Nisei youth

CITY GIRLS: THE NISEI SOCIAL WORLD IN LOS ANGELES, 1920-1950 By Valerie J. Matsumoto (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, 312 pp., $34.95, hardcover)   I have known Valerie J. Matsumoto for several years now, and she has shared with me numerous anecdotes about her research into Nisei women’s culture in the period surrounding World War […]

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