Archives for 2020

The ins and outs of redress

REDRESS: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN FOR JAPANESE AMERICAN REPARATIONS By John Tateishi (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday, 2020, 384 pp., $28, hard cover) The topic of the Japanese American Redress Movement has been abundantly rewarded by its parade of prominent chroniclers. Those authored or edited volumes which I have been privileged to read, and […]

Nisei is propelled to share firsthand accounts of camp

BLINDSIDED: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAM MIHARA By Sam Mihara, as told to Alexander Villarreal (Self-published, 2019, 2nd Ed., 121 pp., $20, paperback) In 2019, Paramount released the biopic feature film on British rock singer Elton John entitled “Rocketman.” Sam Mihara’s slender and well-written autobiographical book, “Blindsided,” also showcases the life of a rocket […]

Bridging historical traditions

IN SEARCH OF OUR FRONTIER: JAPANESE AMERICA AND SETTLER COLONIALISM IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF JAPAN’S BORDERLESS EMPIRE By Eiichiro Azuma (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2019, 368 pp., $75, hard cover) In recent years historians have increasingly moved away from writing about the history of a single nation state, so-called mononational history, to writing […]

DISSENT: During COVID-19, showing solidarity is even more important

We are in a frightening time. Some 135,235 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an untold number are battling infections. Meanwhile, the rest of us must protect ourselves whenever we venture out in public — not just from the virus, but also from […]

A life’s work

The Journey Continues By Peter Yamamoto (San Francisco: National Japanese American Historical Society, 271 pp., $10.95, paperback) Peter Kenichi Yamamoto’s book of poetry, “The Journey Continues” (2020), marks the culmination of the life-labor of a poet and activist who dedicated his creative talents and generous spirit toward the betterment of his community and world. Published […]

Read this with furikake popcorn

Sansei and Sensibility By Karen Tei Yamashita (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2020, 232 pp., $16.95, paperback) During the pandemic, I’ve been listening to readings of various Jane Austen novels on Spotify. They are familiar and comforting, there’s no earth-shattering action, merely the twists and turns of domestic life, the relationship within families and romantic courtship. […]

Karen Tei Yamashita’s invisible planet

Karen Tei Yamashita: Fictions of Magic and Memory Edited By A. Robert Lee (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018, 216 pp., $72, hard cover) On the multi-tiered bookshelf that my father made for me decades ago, I have a weathered plain green advanced reading copy of Karen Tei Yamashita’s “Through the Arc of the Rain […]

On the Internet’s gender divide

Invisibility by Design: Women and Labor in Japan’s Digital Economy By Gabriella Lukács (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2020, 248 pp., $25.95, paperback) While it is too soon for a definitive history of social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, even a small-scale analysis of their effects can prime us for future studies of […]

Historian connects the links

Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad By Gordon H. Chang (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020, 320 pp., $16.99, paperback) One great treat amid the latest crop of historical books on Asian Americans is Gordon H. Chang’s “Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese […]

Before camp

A SCARF FOR KEIKO By Ann Malaspina; illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2019, 32 pp., $7.99, paperback) In this story, a young Jewish boy, Sam, fights conflicting feelings about his Japanese American classmate, Keiko, because of the raging war and the anti-Japanese sentiment pervasive in the community. He ignores Keiko because of another classmate […]

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