Arts & Entertainment

‘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 […]

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 […]

Sequel leads adoptee from HI to WWII concentration camps in NorCal

By Alan Brennert (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2019, 320 pp., $27.99, hardcover) Daughter of Moloka‘i First and foremost, writer Alan Brennert is a wonderful world builder. It’s not surprising that he has received a glowing review of his latest novel, “Daughter of Moloka‘i,” from Games of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin. They both are […]

Accidental sleuth

ICED IN PARADISE: A Leilani Santiago Hawai’i Mystery By Naomi Hirahara (Altadena, Calif.: Prospect Park Books, 2019, 216 pp., $16, paperback) Stepping into “Iced in Paradise,” author Naomi Hirahara immediately establishes a local vantage point, from behind the counter of Santiago Shave Ice. When a mainlander asks about Waimea Wonder, her grandmother’s signature combination, lead […]

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