Nichi Bei Book Fest


  Introducing the publication of

“A Nikkei Harvest: Reviewing the Japanese American Historical Experience and Its Legacy”

Authors: Arthur A. Hansen with Wayne H. Maeda

Foreword: Kenji G. Taguma

Cover Art: Patricia Wakida
Publisher: Nichi Bei Foundation
Paperback: $24.99
Publication: 2024 Pages: 260



“A Nikkei Harvest” will be sold at the event. Also being sold:



A preview of the Nichi Bei Book Fest and Summer Book Review from the “Nichi Bei Café”

“A Nikkei Harvest: Reviewing the Japanese American Historical Experience and Its Legacy” is authored by Arthur A. Hansen, a pre-eminent scholar of the Japanese American experience, with late scholar Wayne Maeda. More than a collection of their book reviews in the Nichi Bei Weekly and Nichi Bei News over a 14-year span, it intertwines together what University of Pennsylvania History Professor Eiichiro Azuma calls “A must read for both academics and laypersons.” Through his “careful and conscientious reviews of scholarly and literary works,” Azuma says Hansen “tells us a lot about the state of the field of Japanese American studies and key aspects of Nikkei experience. But he also successfully weaves new research findings into narratives of his own to enhance a public understanding of their complex and fascinating history.” Hansen’s work is grouped within nine thematic chapters encompassing the Japanese American past and present. All of these chapters are prefaced by extensive headnotes that provide a means of contextualizing their respective subject area, says Hansen. The reviews themselves, taken collectively, are designed “to simultaneously illuminate and interrogate the Japanese American historical experience and legacy.”

About the Author: Arthur A. Hansen is emeritus professor of history, founding director of the Japanese American Project of the Oral History Program and the Center for Oral and Public History, and founding faculty member of the Asian American Studies Program at California State University, Fullerton. He has been honored as both the Outstanding Teacher and the Outstanding Faculty Member in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at CSUF. He was senior historian at the Japanese American National Museum and received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Asian American Studies in 2007 and the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award from the Manzanar Committee in 2014. He is also the author of Barbed Voices: Oral History, Resistance, and the World War II Japanese American Social Disaster and Manzanar Mosaic: Essays and Oral Histories on America’s First World War II Japanese American Concentration Camp and editor of Nisei Naysayer: The Memoir of Militant Japanese American Journalist Jimmie Omura and Beyond the Betrayal: The Memoir of a World War II Japanese American Draft Resister of Conscience.

At the Book Fest: Author Arthur A. Hansen in discussion with author Frank Abe

Praise for “A Nikkei Harvest”

“… a form of teaching guide to help community members learn about their own history and to interpret the work of other scholars who explored it in print.”
Greg Robinson, professor of history at l’Université du Quebec À Montreal, and co-author with Jonathan von Harmelen of The Unknown Great: Stories of Japanese Americans at the Margins of History

“Divided by subject matter, [A Nikkei Harvest] serves as a guide to readers interested in exploring the profusion of new writings on the Japanese American past.”
Chizu Omori, journalist, activist, and co-producer of the award-winning documentary film Rabbit in the Moon

“A must read for both academics and laypersons.”
Eiichiro Azuma, the Roy F. and Jeanette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of In Search of Our Frontier: Japanese America and Settler Colonialism in the Construction of Japan’s Borderless Empire

“No writer/scholar/oral historian offers more insightful book reviews than a man whose life’s work is sewn into the very fabric of Japanese American history. Not only does Art Hansen know his subject matter better than anyone, his personal interactions with many of its key players result in commentaries replete with intimate revelation, gentle intelligence, and rich history.”
Sharon Yamato, writer/filmmaker of One Fighting Irishman

“For anyone seeking to understand Japanese American life, this marvelous book is truly one-stop shopping.”
Eric Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and author of Lawyer, Jailer, Ally, Foe: Complicity and Conscience in America’s World War II Concentration Camps

“A library in a book! Beloved teacher and compassionate witness, Art Hansen brings a treasure trove of his insightful and incisive reviews of Nikkei literature into the pages of a single book, offering readers a broad and in-depth landscape of Asian America’s past, present, and future.”
Satsuki Ina, emeritus professor at Sacramento State University, poet, psychotherapist, documentary filmmaker, activist, and author of The Poet and the Silk Girl: A Memoir of Love, Imprisonment, and Protest

“More than book reviews, Art Hansen gives us a glimpse into his thinking, relationships, joys and concerns, and avid reading to spotlight books by scholars and organic intellectuals, published by mainstream and independent presses, offering an expansive view of the field, peppered by Hansen’s critique and delightful, humanizing commentary.”
Diane Fujino, professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Nisei Radicals: The Feminist Poetics and Transformative Ministry of Mitsuye Yamada and Michael Yasutake

The Unknown Great: Stories of Japanese Americans at the Margins of History

By Greg Robinson with Jonathan van Harmelen (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2024, 276 pp., $30, paperback)

Description: Through stories of remarkable people in Japanese American history, The Unknown Great illuminates the diversity of the Nikkei experience from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. Acclaimed historian and journalist Greg Robinson delves into a range of themes from race and interracial relationships to sexuality, faith, and national identity. In accessible short essays drawn primarily from his newspaper columns, Robinson examines the longstanding interactions between African Americans and Japanese Americans, the history of LGBTQ+ Japanese Americans, religion in Japanese American life, mixed-race performers and political figures, and more. This collection is sure to entertain and inform readers, bringing fresh perspectives and unfamiliar stories from Japanese American history and centering the lives of unheralded figures who left their mark on American life.

About the authors: Greg Robinson is professor of history at l’Université du Québec à Montréal and author of several books, including The Unsung Great: Stories of Extraordinary Japanese Americans and After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life. Jonathan van Harmelen recently received his Ph.D. in history at UC Santa Cruz, where he wrote his dissertation on the role of Congress in the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

At the Book Fest: Authors Greg Robinson and Jonathan van Harmelen in conversation with Koji Lau-Ozawa, Ph.D., Nichi Bei Foundation board member

The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration

By Frank Abe and Floyd Cheung (New York: Penguin Books, 2024, 314 pp. $20, paperback)

Description: This anthology presents a new vision that recovers and reframes the literature produced by the people targeted by the actions of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress to deny Americans of Japanese ancestry any individual hearings or other due process after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. From nearly seventy selections of fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, and letters emerges a shared story of the struggle to retain personal integrity in the face of increasing dehumanization – all anchored by the key government documents that incite the action. Many of the voices are those of protest. Some are those of accommodation. All are authentic. Together they form an epic narrative with a singular vision of America’s past, one with disturbing resonances with the American present.

About the editors: Frank Abe is an author, journalist and filmmaker known for works on Japanese American incarceration and resistance, including award-winning books, documentaries, and advocacy for redress and remembrance events. Floyd Cheung is a professor of English language and literature and American studies at Smith College. His scholarship focuses on the interpretation and recovery of early Asian American texts, and he has published several articles about and edited multiple volumes by forgotten and lesser-known authors.

At the Book Fest: Author Frank Abe in conversation with Nancy Ukai, Nichi Bei Foundation board chair

Carceral Entanglements: Gendered Public Memories of Japanese American World War II Incarceration

By Wendi Yamashita (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2024, 196 pp., $26.95, paperback)

Description: Japanese Americans have long contended with settler colonization and mass criminalization by the state, most notably during the WWII era when they were forced into incarceration camps. In Carceral Entanglements, Wendi Yamashita asks, how do narratives of worth and success that make Japanese Americans legible to the state come to be? What are the consequences of such narratives? Carceral Entanglements is about the interlocking relationship Japanese American incarceration memories have to the prison industrial complex and the settler colonial logics that at times unknowingly sustain it.

About the author: Wendi Yamashita is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento. She is co-editor of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders: A Historical Community Overview.

At the Book Fest: Author Wendi Yamashita in conversation with Chrissy Yee Lau, Ph.D., San Francisco State University Asian American Studies

Ruth Asawa: An Artist Takes Shape

By Sam Nakahira (Los Angeles: Getty Publications. 2024, 112 pp., $19.95, Hardcover)

Description: Brave, unconventional, and determined, Ruth Asawa let nothing stop her from living a life intertwined with art.

This graphic biography by Sam Nakahira, developed in consultation with Ruth Asawa’s youngest daughter, Addie Lanier, chronicles the genesis of Asawa as an artist—from the horror of Pearl Harbor to her transformative education at Black Mountain College to building her life in San Francisco, where she would further develop and refine her groundbreaking wire sculptures.

Asawa never sought fame, preferring to work on her own terms: for her, art and life were one. Featuring lively illustrations and a dozen photographs of Asawa’s artwork, this graphic retelling of her young adult years demonstrates the transformative power of making art.

About the author: Sam Nakahira is a comic artist and cultural worker from Los Angeles. She makes comics about overlooked histories, the natural world, dreams, and more.

At the Book Fest: Author/illustrator Sam Nakahira in conversation with Wendi Yamashita, Ph.D., California State University, Sacramento Ethnic Studies and Nichi Bei Foundation board member

“The Poet and the Silk Girl: A Memoir of Love, Imprisonment and Protest”

By Satsuki Ina (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday Books, 2024, 312 pp., $35, hardcover)

Description: In 1942 newlyweds Itaru and Shizuko Ina were settling into married life when the United States government upended their world. Born to Itaru and Shizuko during their imprisonment, psychotherapist and activist Satsuki Ina weaves their story together in this moving mosaic. Through diary entries, photographs, clandestine letters, and heart-wrenching haiku, she reveals how this intrepid young couple navigated life, love, loss, and loyalty tests in the welter of World War II-era hysteria.

“The Poet and the Silk Girl” illustrates through one family’s saga the generational struggle of Japanese Americans who resisted racist oppression, fought for the restoration of their rights, and clung to their full humanity in the face of adversity. Lyrical and gripping, this cautionary tale implores us to prevent the repetition of atrocity, pairing healing and protest with galvanizing power.

About the author: Satsuki Ina is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in community trauma, activist and filmmaker. A professor emeritus at California State University, Sacramento, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

At the Book Fest: Author Satsuki Ina in conversation with Koji Lau-Ozawa, Ph.D., Nichi Bei Foundation board member