Arts & Entertainment

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 […]

Unearthing one family’s history

TADAIMA! I AM HOME: A TRANSNATIONAL FAMILY HISTORY By Tom Coffman (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018, 176 pp., $17.99, paperback) The volume under review, the most recent of many documentary books by award-winning veteran independent researcher, writer, and producer Tom Coffman, characteristically incorporates historical themes pertaining to Hawai‘i. What makes “Tadaima! I Am Home” […]

‘Respectable’ biography on Norman Mineta falls short of potential

Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II By Andrea Warren (New York: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2019, 224 pp., $22.99, hardcover) When I was in elementary school, I was introduced to the American Revolution through the biography of Johnny Tremain, which may […]

Willow finds her way

PILU OF THE WOODS Written and illustrated by Mai K. Nguyen (Portland, Ore.: Oni Press, 2019, 160 pp., $12.99, paperback) “Pilu of the Woods” is a charming book featuring both a profound message that children will be able to resonate with, and simplistic yet colorful visuals. The plot mostly follows the actions of a girl […]

Netflix’s ‘Always Be My Maybe’ a groundbreaking film for Asian Americans and Hollywood

Sometimes the media revolution hits not with a bang, but in a sweet and subversive romantic comedy. Make no mistake. “Always Be My Maybe,” a recently released Netflix original starring Randall Park and Ali Wong, is one of the most culturally authentic mainstream films yet on Asian Americans. At the same time, “Always Be My […]

BORDER TOWN STORIES: Exploring Okinawa’s multicultural mishmash

A previous recipient of a Fulbright grant to Japan, author Akemi Johnson has written for outlets such as The Nation and National Public Radio, and contributed an essay to volume 2 of “Hapa Japan.” She spoke with Nichi Bei Weekly about her forthcoming book, “Night in the American Village: Women in the Shadows of the […]

Author reveals the story of Japan’s first foreign-born samurai

LONDON — The epic tale of Japan’s first foreign-born samurai is soon to hit bookshelves, giving readers a comprehensive picture of a man who witnessed great moments of history but whose story has largely been overlooked in official accounts. He was an African bodyguard who came to Japan with the Jesuits in 1579 and later […]

Google honors late Nisei artist Ruth Asawa with Doodle

Kicking off the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Google honored the late Japanese American artist Ruth Asawa with its May 1 online Doodle at google.com. The image featured the Google logo rendered in the fashion of Asawa’s iconic wire sculptures, with Asawa working on the sculpture. Accompanying the Doodle, Google published a biographical […]

CAAMFest presents nuanced personal stories

The Center for Asian American Media’s CAAMFest 2019 returns to the Bay Area May 9, and includes venues in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. The following short films screen in San Francisco. ‘Period Girl’Any number of documentaries could be made about Nadya Okamoto. At 21 years old, she’s already co-founded a nonprofit with more than […]

A revisioning of traditional kimono

The silhouette of a kimono on the body is cylindrical. For women, the waistline disappears under layers of wrappings. A long, stiff obi belt — the formal version may be a 14-foot-long length of brocade — is wound tightly around the midsection and secured with a cord. The breasts are flattened to smooth the front […]

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