Rabbit Ramblings

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Culture and history collide in wartime family drama

“I have been thinking about this subject for a long time,” said Luis Valdez in a phone conversation. Valdez, who is a world renown playwright and writer, was referring to his new play, “Valley of the Heart,” which he calls a “kabuki (classical Japanese dance and drama) corrido.” First performed in San Juan Bautista, Calif. […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: A ‘phantasmagoric, dreamy depiction’ of one man’s post-camp life

For a long time, I have thought of the incarceration experience as full of possibilities for drama, fiction and other forms of creative expression. So much happened in the camps. Those were times that tried men’s (and women’s) souls, so to speak, and all were punished for the accident of their ancestry. Circumstances forced hard […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Fighting for just ideals

We’ve had such a flurry of mentions of camp history in the last several months that obviously there’s renewed interest about what happened to us during World War II. We did have national attention when the Rago auction was taking place, and then that mayor of Roanoke, Va. brought it up apropos the question of […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Who gets to tell the Japanese American incarceration story?

What are the meanings to be found in our camp experience? And why am I puzzling over such a deep question, and why now? It’s because I am involved in an inquiry about the contents that are to be placed in the Topaz Museum. As many of you know, there has been a multi-year effort […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Human nature, incarceration and intimidation

I recently saw “Stanford Prison Experiment,” a feature film based on an experiment conducted by Stanford University professor Philip Zimbardo in 1971. This is a famous study, one that is apparently cited in many psychology classes and I had heard of it. It was to study human behavior in a prison setting and a group […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Grassroots movement halts auction of WWII incarceration artifacts

Editor’s Note: Chizu Omori is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose the Sale of Japanese American Historical Artifacts. I have been witness to an amazing event. In case you haven’t heard about it, please check out the Facebook page, “Japanese American History: NOT For Sale.” The page and a petition accompanying it […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Will Day of Remembrance events disappear?

Another Day of Remembrance has come and gone and another commemoration was presented in San Francisco’s J-Town, an observance of that Day of Infamy and the day President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This year’s theme, “Out of the Shadows of Infamy: Resistance Behind Barbed Wire,” was especially welcome, as it highlighted a subject […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: New works bring JA stories to light

I have spent the last few days immersed in “Perfidia,” a new novel by James Ellroy. Covering the days between Dec. 6 and Dec. 29 in 1941 in L.A., Ellroy uses the murders of a Japanese American family, the Watanabes, as the main thread in a story of a city preparing for war. In an […]

Nikkei must speak out against police brutality

The other day, I received a petition in an e-mail asking me to tell PepsiCo, which makes Doritos,to stop buying the palm oil it uses to make the chips. “That sound when you bite down on Doritos … is the sound of rainforests being ‘crunched’ … for massive palm oil plantations ….” It seems that […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Documentary on Roosevelts glosses over wartime injustice

It was with great anticipation that I watched Ken Burns’ new documentary called “The Roosevelts, a Personal History.” Burns has become the TV chronicler of American history, the one who has tackled so many of the big themes of our country’s existence. I remember being enthralled with his series on the Civil War, and looked […]

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