Archives for January 2018

Complicat(i)ng the ‘mosaic’ of history

THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY Edited by David K. Yoo and Eiichiro Azuma (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 544 pp., $150, hardcover) This impressive volume, published at the semi-centennial of Asian American studies, serves admirably as an authoritative marker of Asian American history’s coming of age. Edited by two stalwarts in the […]

Sakura Grove to bloom in Sacramento’s Southside Park

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Hanami, or flower viewing, is the Japanese tradition of gathering under sakura (cherry blossom) trees to enjoy the annual spring blossoms with friends and family. In Japan, people travel from all across the country to experience hanami in various regions. Cherry blossom trees can be viewed in a few places in the […]

In pursuit of a ‘whole and free’ society

FREEDOM WITHOUT JUSTICE: THE PRISON MEMOIRS OF CHOL SOO LEE Edited by Richard S. Kim (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2017, 323 pp., $19.99, paperback) I grew up in a law-and-order family. There was no contradiction between my parents’ experience of the Japanese American incarceration, and their fundamental respect for the U.S. criminal justice system. […]

Website project seeks to uncover the stories within ‘50 Objects’

A comic book, a Bible, a homeplate, a chair. These may seem like curious, even random, objects to explore the culture and history of America’s concentration camps. Yet each is a portal into someone’s life containing multiple narratives about a tangible thing that is part of our communal memory. Many of our family objects from […]

San Francisco’s Japantown plans for preservation

San Francisco’s Japantown experienced several notable changes in 2017 and aims to implement and secure resources for the continuity of one of the nation’s last three historical Japantowns. As the ethnic enclave moves forward into 2018, several organizations based in the neighborhood must seriously consider their mission and focus for the coming years. New Organization […]

A case study of Heart Mountain’s draft resisters and military service

WYOMING SAMURAI: THE WORLD WAR II WARRIORS OF HEART MOUNTAIN By Mike Mackey (Cody, Wyo.: Western History Publications, 2015, 181 pp., $18.95, paperback) This is Mike Mackey’s fifth and, apparently, final book centered on the World War II experience of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in northwest Wyoming. Mackey, who has made his home in […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Cinematic 20th century Nikkei

In recent times, diverse Japanese American directors have made their mark on the silver screen, including Cary Joji Fukunaga, Karyn Kusama, Gregg Araki, Lane Nishikawa, and Destin Daniel Cretton. While their productions have drawn from all sorts of material, some filmmakers have piloted Nikkei community stories. For example, Emiko Omori’s “Hot Summer Winds,” Desmond Nakano’s […]

Let’s talk … About sexual abuse #MeToo

There is a cultural sea change taking place as each day some powerful, “successful” person is being called out for sexually abusing younger, vulnerable victims. “Strength in numbers” has led former victims to find their voice to challenge their perpetrators and the power structures that have protected and ignored the victim’s past protests and accusations. […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Do something: A call to action from an 87-year-old activist 


What a tumultuous year we have had. First of all, Feb. 19 was the 75th anniversary of the passage of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1942, which set into motion the program of incarcerating close to 120,000 American Japanese in concentration camps. So this anniversary was observed in many ways. My […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Nothingness

無 (mu) means “nothingness.” The bottom four strokes indicate fire flames, the character in the middle indicates a house, and the top lines represent a new life emerging from the burning home. When the house burns down and becomes ashes, new life can grow from that. The kanji (mu) teaches us that although we may lose everything, […]

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