Archives for January 2016

Book tackles all-things JA

BEING JAPANESE AMERICAN, A JA SOURCEBOOK FOR NIKKEI, HAPA … & THEIR FRIENDS By Gil Asakawa (Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, second edition, 2015, 192 pages, $18.95, paperback) This is a great sourcebook for all things Japanese American. In addition to being a good reference, it likely will make the reader think about what being […]

By George…

As Chizu Omori notes in her column (on page 9), the Japanese American wartime concentration camp experience has in fact been in the mainstream news for much of the year, most notably through the Nov. 8 Broadway debut of actor and activist George Takei’s “Allegiance.” The musical presents a fictionalized account of Takei’s family incarceration […]

Crossing the threshold in ‘The Yellow Door’

THE YELLOW DOOR By Amy Uyematsu (Pasadena, Calif.: Red Hen Press, 2015, 112 pp., $15.95, paperback) Journey through a post-war Japanese American landscape with Amy Uyematsu as she defines race, unpacks the family incarceration experience and discovers a confluence with Japanese culture in “The Yellow Door,” her latest book of poetry. The power bursts forth […]

A fun and free cultural resource for Nikkei kids

WAKU WAKU, JAPANESE CULTURAL ACTIVITIES RESOURCE GUIDE Edited by Carol Kawase, Meg Mizutani, Arnold Shimizu, and Miwa Smith (a project of the Japanese American Citizens League, Legacy Grants Fund Program, 2015, 60 pp., free, PDF) This 60-page booklet full of ideas for grandparents, parents and children interested in Nikkei culture is free. Here are activities […]

Artist’s story of survival and success against the odds

THE INKER’S SHADOW By Allen Say (New York: Scholastic Press, 2015, 80 pp., $19.99, hardcover) I am fascinated by Allen Say, the renowned painter, author and illustrator of many exquisite books for children. I welcome each of his new books. This one offers a peek into his move from Japan to California at age 15. […]

‘Treasure trove of invaluable new inf(o)’ on the WWII camps

COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS AND THE JAPANESE-AMERICAN INCARCERATION CAMPS: COMMUNITY, NOT CONTROVERSY By Ronald Bishop, with Morgan Dudkewitz, Alissa Falcone and Renee Daggett (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2015, 372 pp., $110, hardcover) In the interval between 1973 and 1988, thanks to some enterprising undergraduate and graduate students of mine affiliated with the Japanese American Oral History Project […]

END OF AN ERA: Sacramento Tofu Company closes after 68 years

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After 68 years in business, rising from the aftermath of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II, the Sacramento Tofu Company officially closed its doors on Nov. 30. Owner Alvin Kunishi, 71, and his wife Dorothy, who helped handle the book work, entered retirement and handed over their keys to Hodo […]

ENTERTAINMENT RE-ORIENTED: Unprecedented TV visibility is the biggest API entertainment story this year, but lesser-known works hold their own

The big story in Asian Pacific Islander entertainment of 2015 is undoubtedly the return of the Asian American sitcom. Not one, but two shows featuring an Asian American family at their center, “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Dr. Ken,” respectively, debuted in a year in which APIs, and people of color more generally, have reached […]

Book explores significance of JA camp art

ART, LITERATURE, AND THE JAPANESE AMERICAN INTERNMENT: ON JOHN OKADA’S NO-NO BOY By Thomas Girst (Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang, 2015, 261 pp., $64.95, hardcover) With the latest Paris attacks and the subsequent call for the incarceration of Muslim Americans by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, the memory […]

Weightlifting legend began Olympic journey as World War II inmate

TOKYO — While many Olympic athletes can trace their path back to high school gyms or local playgrounds, weightlifting legend Tommy Kono began his journey to the Games in a most unlikely setting — a World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans. A six-time world champion and the only lifter to set world records […]

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