Arts & Entertainment

Claudia Kishi is the coolest girl in the club

I was 17 when I moved to Oakland, Calif. to attend college. Since I needed to supplement my work-study income, I went to check out the career center job bulletin board, which was shingled with index cards and Xeroxed fliers fringed with phone numbers to call. By pure stroke of luck, I was hired by […]

Miyuki’s lesson in mindfulness

Thank You, Miyuki Written by Roxane Marie Galliez, illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2020, 32 pp., $17.95, hard cover) “Thank You, Miyuki” is the third story in a series about ebullient Miyuki and her kind, caring grandfather. In this tale, Miyuki sees her grandpa doing tai chi and seated meditation. […]

A history book for our times

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States By Erika Lee (New York: Basic Books, 2019, 432 pp., $32, hard cover) Erika Lee’s new book, “America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States,” is one that speaks to our times. Well-respected among academics, Lee is among the foundational historians […]

Picture book about a beloved S.F. artist and arts activist

A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa Written and illustrated by Andrea D’Aquino (Hudson, N.Y.: 2019, 40 pp., $17.95, hard cover) Andrea D’Aquino, artist and author, introduces young children to Ruth Asawa, a San Francisco institution. The author focuses on the influences that shaped and inspired Asawa’s unique artistry. It begins with […]

A visionary’s life intertwined with art

Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa By Marilyn Chase (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2020, 224 pp., $29.95, hard cover) Ruth Aiko Asawa, one of the most original and prolific artists of the American 20th century, left behind a stunning legacy when she died at age 87 in 2013. “Everything She Touched: The Life […]

A ‘dissatisfied’ artist’s life

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist By Adrian Tomine (Montreal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2020, 168 pp., $29.95, hard cover) Cartoonist Adrian Tomine started writing, drawing and self-publishing his mini-comic, “Optic Nerve,” when he was still a teenager. Despite the odds, this fourth-generation Japanese American (his parents, who divorced when he was 2, are retired professor […]

The ABCs of cooking California-style Japanese food

Japanese Cookbook for Beginners: Classic and Modern Recipes Made Easy By Azusa Oda (Emeryville, Calif.: Rockridge Press, 2020, 146 pp., $16.99, paperback) With “Japanese Cookbook for Beginners: Classic and Modern Recipes Made Easy,” genius home cook and designer Azusa Oda has embraced the traditional Japanese flavors and dishes that she grew up with and recalibrated […]

Precious moments

OJIICHAN’S GIFT Written by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Genevieve Simms (Boston: Kids Can Press, 2019, 32 pp., $16.99, hard cover) For those of us who are lucky enough to have an ojiichan (grandfather) or memories of one, this is a sentimental story. Young Mayumi recalls past summer visits with her grandfather halfway around the world […]

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 […]

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 […]

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