Book Reviews

A kid-friendly primer on Japan

ALL ABOUT JAPAN: STORIES, SONGS CRAFTS AND GAMES FOR KIDS By Willamarie Moore; Illustrated by Kazumi Wilds (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2017, 64 pp., $14.95, hardcover) Here’s all the information you’d enjoy about Japan, everything from clothing to vocabulary to holidays. Interesting sections include “Introducing Japan,” “Everyday Life,” “Holidays and Celebrations,” plus “Language and […]

A deep dive into the world of tsukemono

JAPANESE PICKLED VEGETABLES: 129 HOMESTYLE RECIPES FOR TRADITIONAL BRINED, VINEGARED AND FERMENTED PICKLES By Machiko Tateno (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2019, 144 pp., $16.99, paperback) There are many reasons why pickles are the “in” food, so it’s with great excitement that I review this new book that is sure to attract the attention of […]

Learning life lessons with Grandma

BA-CHAN THE NINJA GRANDMA: AN ADVENTURE WITH LITTLE KUNOICHI THE NINJA GIRL Authored and illustrated by Sanae Ishida (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2018, 32 pp., $16.99, hardcover) Here’s a ninja tale starring the adventures of little Kunoichi, released in 2018. This one pairs up “Ba-chan,” the “Ninja Grandma,” and her granddaughter. This is the third book […]

Examining the stratification of NYC’s Nikkei

DISTANT ISLANDS: THE JAPANESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN NEW YORK CITY, 1876-1930s By Daniel H. Inouye (University Press of Colorado: Louisville, Colo., 2018, 360 pp., $34.95, paperback; $27.95, Ebook) “Distant Islands: The Japanese American Community in New York City, 1876-1930s” by Daniel H. Inouye is one of the first books to devote in-depth research into this […]

An examination of racism in 1920s Hawai‘i’s society

RACED TO DEATH IN 1920s HAWAI‘I: INJUSTICE AND REVENGE IN THE FUKUNAGA CASE By Jonathan Y. Okamura (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2019, 252 pp., $27.95, paperback; $99, cloth; $14.95, Ebook) A few years ago, I reviewed in these pages Jonathan Okamura’s book “From Race to Ethnicity.” I welcomed the chance to present to […]

Whirlwind tour through history

THE DISCOVERY OF ANIME & MANGA: The Asian Hall of Fame By Phil Amara and Oliver Chin, Illustrated by Juan Calle (San Francisco: Immedium, 2019, 40 pp., $16.95, hardcover) Phil Amara, Oliver Chin and Juan Calle’s third children’s book focuses on the history of Japanese anime and manga. Having previously done a bilingual history of […]

Making sense of JA millennials

Japanese American Millennials: Rethinking Generation, Community, and Diversity Edited by Michael Omi, Dana Y. Nakano and Jeffrey T. Yamashita (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2019, 301 pp., $39.99, paperback) As we welcome the year 2020, it should be abundantly clear that a younger generation known as millennials (for the purposes of this particular book, the editors […]

The Gochiso Gourmet: Get the 4-1-1 on Japan’s alcoholic drinks

When I was first asked to review this book, I thought, “it should be pretty straightforward, as most of the book probably deals with sake,” and I recently studied for the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 1 Award in Sake, so it shouldn’t take a lot of time describing sake production and sake-based […]

The real deal on the first Japanese colony in the U.S.

The Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm and the Creation of Japanese America By Daniel A. Métraux (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & LIttlefield, 2019, 158 pp., $85, hardcover) There are books that I feel all members of the Japanese American community should have in their personal library: Michi Nishiura Weglyn’s “Years of Infamy: The Untold Story […]

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 […]

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