Arts & Entertainment

L.A. museum opens exhibition on Japanese American A-bomb victims

LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) — An exhibition featuring the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki opened Nov. 9 in Los Angeles, telling the stories of Japanese Americans who were in those cities when the bombs dropped in August 1945. Marking the 75th anniversary of the tragedies, the Japanese American National Museum will run the event through […]

Controversial show title prompts reflection and change

BERKELEY, Calif. — Japanese American Bay Area magician David Hirata sought to tell a story about magic, racism and Japanese in America. He instead, however, attracting ire over the use of a slur in the title of his show, decided to change the title. The Marsh Berkeley announced the name change Nov. 14. In the […]

Exhibit at JANM celebrates emergence of APA consciousness

LOS ANGELES — “At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America,” a multi-media exhibit celebrating the emergence of a politically defined Asian Pacific American consciousness and identity, is now on display through Oct. 20 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. This co-production of Visual Communications and JANM chronicles the transformation of […]

AMC’s ‘The Terror: Infamy’ weaves a ‘seductive creepiness’ into the WWII incarceration story

AMC’s supernatural television anthology, titled “The Terror: Infamy,” opens with a Japanese woman putting on make up and then sticking a chopstick into her hair. I groaned. Was this going to be another series where cultural appropriation was the norm, I wondered? We never see white people stick forks or spoons in their hair. Then, […]

‘Kikan — The Homecoming’ retraces a San Francisco Nikkei tale

Japanese American filmmaker Kerwin Berk plans to premiere his latest film “Kikan – the Homecoming” Aug. 18 in San Francisco’s Japantown. Set in the 1940s, Berk tells the story of Jimmy Ibata (Ryan Takemiya), a Japanese American soldier returning to America after fighting in Europe with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. “Kikan” features a multi-generational cast of Japanese Americans directed by the director of “The Virtues of Corned Beef Hash” and “Infinity & Chashu Ramen,” two films predominantly set in the ethnic enclave. The Nichi Bei Weekly interviewed Berk, a Sansei, about his latest film.

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 […]

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 […]

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