Archives for July 2021

Nobuko Miyamoto’s riveting stories — on and off the stage

NOT YO’ BUTTERFLY: MY LONG SONG OF RELOCATION, RACE, LOVE AND REVOLUTION By Nobuko Miyamoto (Oakland, Calif.: University of California Press, 2021, 344 pp., $29.95, paperback) Playful, provocative, never boring — that sums up Nobuko Miyamoto and her memoir, “Not Yo’ Butterfly.” From a young age, Miyamoto showed promise as a dancer, winning a scholarship […]

Japanese American Olympic athletes

Collin Morikawa Sport: Golf Height: 5’9” Weight: 160 lbs DOB: 2/6/1997 Birthplace: Los Angeles Hometown: La Canada, Calif. College: University of Calif., Berkeley Fun Facts: He received a business administration degree from Cal. Sakura Kokumai Sport: Karate DOB: 10/2/1992 Birthplace: Honolulu Hometown: Stevenson Ranch, Calif. College: Waseda University (masters degree) Coach: Nghia Pham Fun Facts: […]

Seeking happily ever after in Little Tokyo

FROM LITTLE TOKYO WITH LOVE By Sarah Kuhn (Toronto, Ontario: Viking Books for Young Readers, 2021, 432 pp., $24.99, hard cover) A clever, funny, romp of a story that is “not a fairytale” begins: “Once upon a time, a beautiful princess lived in the magical kingdom of Los Angeles. Always alone, she belonged to no one — and no one belonged to her. She dreamed of one day finding someone who shared her passions, […]

A classic collection of Japanese folk tales

FOLK TALES FROM JAPAN: FABLES, MYTHS, AND FAIRY TALES FOR CHILDREN By Florence Sakade, illustrated by Yoshio Hayashi (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2020, 80 pp., $14.99, hard cover) “Folk Tales From Japan,” compiled by Florence Sakade, is a delightful collection of stories that has been enchanting children for more than 60 years. Previously published as “More Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories,” it is part of a series “created to share the folktales and legends most beloved by children in the East with […]

Nisei murder mystery enthralls readers

CLARK AND DIVISION  By Naomi Hirahara (Westminster, Md.: Soho Press, 2021, 312 pp., $27.95, hard cover)  From the first few pages of the new Naomi Hirahara historic mystery “Clark and Division,” I am immediately drawn into the story of the young Nisei woman, Aki Ito. The descriptive narrative with rich historic details and the strong […]

Groundbreaking biography of Nisei social justice advocate siblings

NISEI RADICALS: THE FEMINIST POETICS AND TRANSFORMATIVE MINISTRY OF MITSUYE YAMADA AND MICHAEL YASUTAKE By Diane C. Fujino (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020, 272 pp., $29.95, paperback)  In “Nisei Radicals: The Feminist Poetics and Transformative Ministry of Mitsuye Yamada and Michael Yasutake” Diane Fujino has set herself the formidable task of writing a joint […]

Mazie Hirono’s journey from underdog to advocate for underserved populations

HEART OF FIRE: AN IMMIGRANT DAUGHTER’S STORY By Mazie K. Hirono (New York: Viking Books, 2021, 416 pp., $28, hardcover) Sen. Mazie K. Hirono is a badass.  Hirono vaulted to national consciousness when she became an outspoken critic of the Trump administration, which she deemed a threat to democracy. She challenged such policies as family separation of asylum-seeking immigrants, the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, among […]

Graphic novel documents acts of resistance

WE HEREBY REFUSE: JAPANESE AMERICAN RESISTANCE TO WARTIME INCARCERATION By Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, illustrated by Ross Ishikawa  and Matt Sasaki (Seattle: Chin Music Press/ Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience,  2021, 160 pp., $19.95, paperback) The graphic novel, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” focuses on the real life experiences of Jim Akutsu, a Minidoka War Relocation Authority camp draft resister; Mitsuye Endo, a Topaz (Central Utah) WRA inmate who challenged the incarceration through a habeas corpus petition; and Hiroshi Kashiwagi, […]

A ‘consequential’ collection of JA history

THE UNSUNG GREAT: STORIES OF EXTRAORDINARY JAPANESE AMERICANS By Greg Robinson (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020, 294 pp., $29.95, paperback) This is the second of two outstanding books by eminent historian and journalist Greg Robinson consisting primarily of his “The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great” columns in the San Francisco-based Nichi Bei Weekly. In reviewing for the NBW the first book, “The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches,” published by the University Press […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: On the Road Again: Planning a genealogy research trip

Any trip requires planning. If you want to go to Japan, you would consider when to go, for how long, which airline to take, which cities to visit and more. Even the most relaxed traveler would have some plans in place.  A genealogy research trip requires the same sort of planning. The more you plan, […]

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