Archives for July 2019

Counteracting ‘invisibility’ within the JA community

TRANS-PACIFIC JAPANESE AMERICAN STUDIES: CONVERSATIONS ON RACE AND RACIALIZATIONS Edited by Yasuko Takezawa and Gary Y. Okihiro (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2016, 448 pp., $35, hardcover) This substantial volume is co-edited by two distinguished Nikkei practitioners of Japanese American studies, one a Japan-based anthropologist, Yasuko Takezawa of Kyoto University, and the other a U.S.-situated […]

The truth behind religious freedom in Japan

FAKING LIBERTIES: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN AMERICAN-OCCUPIED JAPAN By Jolyon Baraka Thomas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019, 336 pp., $32.50, paperback) Although only an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Jolyon Baraka Thomas has already published one remarkable book, “Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan” (University of […]

Japanese American Citizens League considers apology to Tule Lake resisters

Nearly two decades after passing a resolution addressing its past skeletons, a national Japanese American organization is once again set to confront its controversial actions during the war. The National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League plans to discuss a resolution to apologize to the Tule Lake resisters at the 50th JACL National Convention […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: Researching ‘war brides’

…thousands of GIs stationed (or on leave) in Japan, both during and after the occupation, returned home with Japanese wives. Some of these men were Nisei soldiers. There were many reasons why Japanese women married American men. Obviously, many of the couples married for love. But some of the women may have been trying to escape a life of uncertainty in postwar Japan. For some, the allure of a perceived exotic life in a land of riches beckoned them. Others were looking for adventure. Regardless of the reasoning, their stories are interesting and worth documenting.

How a teacher’s letters helped JA inmates

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind By Cynthia Grady, illustrated by Amiko Hirao. (Watertown, Mass.: Charlesbridge, 2018, 32 pp., $16.99, hardcover) This tenderly illustrated book is a thoroughly researched account of the correspondence via postcards between Clara Breed, a children’s librarian in San Diego, and her enthusiastic […]

The causes and consequences of a government ‘scheme’

THE TANGO WAR: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HEARTS, MINDS AND RICHES OF LATIN AMERICA DURING WORLD WAR II By Mary Jo McConahay (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2018, 336 pp., $29.99, hardcover) Some Nichi Bei Weekly readers may well wonder why this book by seasoned Latin American journalist Mary Jo McConahay is being reviewed here […]

Classic haiku poems in beautiful dreamscapes

MY FIRST BOOK OF HAIKU POEMS Translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, illustrated by Tracy Gallup (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2019, 48 pp., $16.99, hardcover) “My First Book of Haiku Poems” introduces children to classic haiku written by Japanese haiku masters such as Basho, Issa and Shiki. Each poem, lyrically translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, a professor […]

Scaring versus sharing

Let’s Scare Bear By Yuko Katakawa (New York: Holiday House, 2019, 40 pp., $17.99, hardcover) “Let’s Scare Bear,” based on a classic Japanese rakugo (comic storytelling) tale, is a funny, entertaining story with a surprise ending and an important lesson for young readers. Mouse, Fox, Spider and Snake love manju, a Japanese sweet. The four […]

Text ‘enrichens’ knowledge of Asian Americans in the South

A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South By Stephanie Hinnershitz (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2017, 296 pp., $39.95, hardcover) In “A Different Shade of Justice,” Stephanie Hinnershitz details the struggles for equality by ethnic Asians in the American South. For more than a century, Asian laborers […]

Bookseller, like Japanese American community, perseveres through challenges

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Women, children, mothers, fathers, families. Some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent were trapped behind barbed wire fences for having a cultural connection to Japan during World War II. In 1970 the Japanese American Curriculum Project, renamed the Asian American Curriculum Project in 1985, began its humble endeavor to educate the public […]

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