Archives for 2019

Unpacking Okinawa’s complexities

RETHINKING POSTWAR OKINAWA: BEYOND AMERICAN OCCUPATION Edited by Pedro Iacobelli and Hiroko Matsuda (Latham, Md: Lexington Books, 2017, 212 pp., $90, hardcover) If you remember the movies “Teahouse of the August Moon” or “The Karate Kid Part II,” then be prepared for a very different “Okinawa” in “Okinawa in Rethinking Postwar Okinawa: Beyond American Occupation.” […]

The sexual and moral landscape of 1890s S.F.

DISCRIMINATING SEX: White Leisure and the Making of the American ‘Oriental’ By Amy Sueyoshi (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2018, 228 pp., $99, cloth; $26, paperback) Amy Sueyoshi, professor and administrator at San Francisco State University, has long been a pioneer in tracing the intersection of Asian American studies and sexuality studies. Her first […]

A song becomes a book

JELLYFISH By Lesli Takasugi (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, 48 pp., $15.99, paperback) “Jellyfish” was originally a song written and performed by Lesli Takasugi, an artist, songwriter and teacher. When her daughter Mukti was born, it inspired her to turn the song into a book. Just inside the front cover, the book begins with beautiful […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: ‘Nisei Songbird’ Yoshiko Miyakawa of Sacramento

In the years before World War II, West Coast Japanese Americans encountered numerous obstacles to equality, both official and unofficial, and faced great difficulty in making names and careers for themselves outside of their ethnic communities. However, one exceptional individual, the “Nisei songbird,” Yoshiko Miyakawa of Sacramento, Calif., rose to international celebrity as an opera […]

A ‘family-themed inquiry’ into the ‘wages of war’

WHEN THE AKIMOTOS WENT TO WAR: AN UNTOLD STORY OF FAMILY, PATRIOTISM, AND SACRIFICE DURING WORLD WAR IIBy Matthew Elms (Arlington, Va.: American Battle Monuments Commission, 2015, 146 pp., $15, paperback) This book by Matthew Elms is a heart-rending Japanese American family-themed inquiry into the dismaying “wages of war.” It is published by the American […]

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: Welcome home

I tried to take in the reality of my circumstances. I had just moved from the metropolitan Bay Area to rural Japan to teach English. I didn’t know any Japanese. I didn’t know anyone in Tottori, the least populated prefecture in the country. I had no Internet and no cell service, which meant I couldn’t even call home. There was nothing to fill the crushing silence.

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: ‘Support our democratic institutions or we might lose them’

America is still an experiment. That’s the conclusion I come to after experiencing what we went through this last year. We now have a president who blithely ignores all the norms, customs, rules and traditions that have previously been associated with the institution of the presidency, and we seem to have a government run by […]

Let’s Talk … About intentions

As the new year approaches, many people make “resolutions” to do things better — eat healthy, exercise more, spend less money, etc. Making resolutions to start anew may be a good idea at the beginning of the year, giving you motivation and focus, but often, by the end of the year, those same resolutions can […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: New Year’s cards (Nengajo)

In Japan, sending New Year’s greetings cards (nengajo) is a big deal. It’s much like the American tradition of sending Christmas cards, except in Japan there is $820 million dollars in postage sent on the one day. History of New Year’s cards Giving New Year’s greetings cards has been a tradition in Japan since ancient […]

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