Book Reviews

‘Finding wellness in one’s roots’

Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit By Candice Kumai (New York: Harper Wave, 2018, 336 pp., $29.99 hardcover) Candice Kumai is a well known wellness writer, chef, and content creator who has written a book that is a mixture of memoir, self-help and cookbook. Her recognized contributions to national wellness […]

Deconstructing intersections of Asian America

DRUMMING ASIAN AMERICA: TAIKO, PERFORMANCE, AND CULTURAL POLITICS By Angela K. Ahlgren (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018, 198 pp., $34.95, paperback) Up until 2004, I was a mere (and rather unreflective) spectator to taiko drumming. However, that year I fortuitously became involved as an oral historian in a Japanese American National Museum-sponsored project that […]

The postwar shadow looms

LIFE AFTER MANZANAR By Naomi Hirahara and Heather C. Lindquist (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday, 2018, 208 pp., $28, hardcover) In their new book, “Life After Manzanar,” Naomi Hirahara and Heather C. Lindquist throw new light on the lives of Japanese Americans in the postwar era, tracing the experience of the former camp inmates through resettlement, the […]

Seeking a revolution

ASIAN AMERICAN MATTERS: A NEW YORK ANTHOLOGY Edited By Russell C. Leong (New York: Asian American and Asian Research Institute, The City University of New York, 2017, 256 pp., $25, paperback) “Asian American Matters: A New York Anthology” is a commemorative assembling of new, revised, and selected work from CUNY Forum, a journal established in […]

Rediscovering Honouliuli and preserving former camp sites

A RESILIENT SPIRIT: THE VOICE OF HAWAI‘I’S INTERNEES Edited by Claire Sato and Violet Harada (Honolulu: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, 2018, 100 pp., $25, paperback) Having previously read with enjoyment and edification a trio of books published by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i — “Life behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment […]

Histories of loss and leaving

SKY COUNTRY By Christine Kitano (Rochester, N.Y.: BOA Editions Ltd., 2017, 104 pp., paperback) Ithaca College professor Christine Kitano’s “Sky Country” is a thought-provoking collection of poems that speak to Kitano’s mixed Korean-Japanese background. She organizes her book of poetry thematically into five sections each interwoven with the personal and collective histories of Korean and […]

Unpacking Okinawa’s complexities

RETHINKING POSTWAR OKINAWA: BEYOND AMERICAN OCCUPATION Edited by Pedro Iacobelli and Hiroko Matsuda (Latham, Md: Lexington Books, 2017, 212 pp., $90, hardcover) If you remember the movies “Teahouse of the August Moon” or “The Karate Kid Part II,” then be prepared for a very different “Okinawa” in “Okinawa in Rethinking Postwar Okinawa: Beyond American Occupation.” […]

The sexual and moral landscape of 1890s S.F.

DISCRIMINATING SEX: White Leisure and the Making of the American ‘Oriental’ By Amy Sueyoshi (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2018, 228 pp., $99, cloth; $26, paperback) Amy Sueyoshi, professor and administrator at San Francisco State University, has long been a pioneer in tracing the intersection of Asian American studies and sexuality studies. Her first […]

A song becomes a book

JELLYFISH By Lesli Takasugi (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, 48 pp., $15.99, paperback) “Jellyfish” was originally a song written and performed by Lesli Takasugi, an artist, songwriter and teacher. When her daughter Mukti was born, it inspired her to turn the song into a book. Just inside the front cover, the book begins with beautiful […]

A ‘family-themed inquiry’ into the ‘wages of war’

WHEN THE AKIMOTOS WENT TO WAR: AN UNTOLD STORY OF FAMILY, PATRIOTISM, AND SACRIFICE DURING WORLD WAR IIBy Matthew Elms (Arlington, Va.: American Battle Monuments Commission, 2015, 146 pp., $15, paperback) This book by Matthew Elms is a heart-rending Japanese American family-themed inquiry into the dismaying “wages of war.” It is published by the American […]

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