Archives for January 2015

Baseball as a symbol of hope

BARBED WIRE BASEBALL By Marissa Moss, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu (New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013, 48 pp., $18.95, hardcover) What made baseball so compelling for Japanese American World War II inmates? “Barbed Wire Baseball” gives us a glimpse of one man’s yearning for the sport from Gila River, Ariz.’s desert concentration camp. […]

WWII Japanese American inmates recall baseball as symbol of freedom

LOS ANGELES — A group of elderly Japanese Americans will always remember a baseball series they played 70 years ago because it was their symbol of freedom. The octogenarians are among more than 120,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans who were forcibly relocated to 10 concentration camps by the U.S. government following Japan’s bombing of […]

C(API)TOL CORRESPONDENT: 2014 election gains obscure real challenges faced by AAPIs in the political world

The number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the California State Legislature grew by one after Election Day in November. At 12, the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus is at its highest number in state history. With three members who are Republicans, the API Caucus is the most bipartisan caucus in the legislature. In addition, […]

Connecting in the aftermath of the tsunami

A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING  By Ruth Ozeki (New York: Penguin Books, 2013, 432 pp., $28.95, hardcover) From a French Maid Café in Akihabara, the electronic district in Tokyo, the fast-clip banter of a 16-year-old girl initiates a spirited candor and yearning as she proposes to share her last rites in her diary. She […]

‘An atrocity: The hostility and terrorism’ Nisei vets faced

NISEI SOLDIERS BREAK THEIR SILENCE: COMING HOME TO HOOD RIVER By Linda Tamura (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012, 360 pp, $24.95, paperback)   Linda Tamura’s “Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence” may not be a military history, despite its title, but it is indeed the story of an atrocity: the hostility and terrorism that greeted […]

A foreigner in everyone’s eyes

GAIJIN: AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR By Matt Faulkner (New York: Disney • Hyperion Books, 2014, 144 pp., $19.99, hardcover)   People of Japanese descent on the West Coast were, without regard to nationality, rounded up and placed in American concentration camps during World War II. The story is well known. Perhaps lesser known are the […]


A few years ago, local comedian Frank DeLima delivered a commencement address that started like this: “Eat rice. If you only pay attention to one thing I say, pay attention to this: Rice is the breakfast of champions … the lunch of champions … the dinner of champions. Whole empires, entire dynasties have been built […]

A complex, seamy account of 20th century Nikkei

VOICES FROM THE CANEFIELDS: FOLK SONGS FROM JAPANESE IMMIGRANT WORKERS IN HAWAI‘I  By Franklin Odo  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, 272 pp., $55, hardcover)  In his most recent book, Franklin Odo, the former director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, historically charts the role of holehole bushi, Japanese folk songs on the sugar […]

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 […]

Japanese Canadian WWII ‘ghost towns’: An Asian American family’s eye-opening visit to West Canada

Famous American author and humorist Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” An awareness-raising and fun […]

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