Book Reviews

Drawing The True Tokyo Rose: Iva Toguri, an American

TOKYO ROSE — ZERO HOUR By Andre Frattino and illustrated by Kate Kasenow. (North Clarendon, Vt., Tuttle Publishing, 2022, 128 pp., $16.99, hardcover) “Tokyo Rose — Zero Hour” is a graphic novel about Iva Toguri, a Japanese American woman who was trapped in Japan during World War II. Pressured to give up her U.S. citizenship, […]

A feast for JA foodies

TABEMASHO! LET’S EAT! By Gil Asakawa (Albany, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 2022, 216 pp., $18.95, hardcover) On the surface, “Tabemasho! Let’s Eat!” is a book on the history of Japanese food in America. But really, Gil Asakawa has written a book that is part history book, memoir and column all rolled in one. Full of […]

Who are we?

WE ARE HERE: 30 INSPIRING ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS WHO HAVE SHAPED THE UNITED STATES By Naomi Hirahara, illustrated by Illianette Ferandez (New York: Running Press Kids, 2022, 128 pp., $17.99, hardcover) People from Asia and the Pacific arrive on these shores and imagine their lineage still linked to their country of origin. They […]

How and why to cook with a wok

THE WOK, RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES By J. Kenji López-Alt (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2022, 666 pp., $49.50, hardcover) If you have a more-than-casual interest in cooking, or look for recipes with search engine phrases that begin with “the best recipe for,” or “the best way to,” chances are, you have come across […]

‘Charming ghost story’ meets adventure novel

TEMPLE ALLEY SUMMER By Sachiko Kashiwaba, illustrated by Miho Satake, translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa. (New York: Restless Books, 2021, 240 pp., $18, hardcover) Walking down the back streets of the Minami Odori District, traces of a secret past come to life in “Temple Alley Summer,” a captivating modern-day mystery that is both a charming […]

Asian American trailblazers

More Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Citizens who Energized America Written by Phil Amara and Oliver Chin, and illustrated by Juan Calle. (San Francisco: Immedium, 2022, 132 pp., $17.95, paperback). Reading ages 5-14 years  “In 2050 minorities will become the majority in America.” But we still have a long way to go. Here’s a book describing […]

On LA agriculture’s ‘unique triracial hierarchy’

Transborder Los Angeles: An Unknown Transpacific History of Japanese-Mexican Relations By Yu Tokunaga (Oakland, Calif.: University of California Press, 2022, 274 pp., $29.95, paperback) In this work, adapted from a doctoral thesis produced at the University of Southern California, author Yu Tokunaga explores the relations between transnational Japanese and Mexican communities in the Los Angeles […]

‘A heuristic model’ for historians to emulate with other camps

JAPANESE AMERICANS AT HEART MOUNTAIN: Networks, Power, and Everyday Life By Saara Kekki (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2022, 246 pp., $39.95, hardcover) Having read in Saara Kekki’s Acknowledgements within the book under review that its contents had been favorably vetted by three historians of the Japanese American World War II experience that I […]

More than miso soup

JAPANESE SOUPS: 66 NOURISHING BROTHS, STEWS AND HOTPOTS By Keiko Iwasaki (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2021, 128 pp., $16.99, hard cover) When asked to name or identify a Japanese soup, you’ll probably think of miso, but can you think of many more? In her book, “Japanese Soups,” Keiko Iwasaki shares 66 different soups, all […]

‘Brilliant’ work relies on oral histories of JA hibakusha

AMERICAN SURVIVORS: TRANS-PACIFIC MEMORIES OF HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI By Naoko Wake (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021, 408 pp., $29.95, hard cover) In 1974, Betty Mitson and I co-edited a modest and virtually self-published and crudely fabricated book titled “Voices Long Silent: An Oral Inquiry into the Japanese American Evacuation.” It was conceived and developed […]

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