The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history (part II)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an ongoing series. Monika Kehoe’s experience with Japanese Americans served as a foundation for her later career, which involved working as an administrator and teaching English to diverse international populations (a point that will be discussed in depth later on). As she noted in the introduction to […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Queer non-Nikkei figures in Japanese American history

Editor’s Note: This is the first part in an ongoing series. Ever since I began writing “The Great Unknown” in 2007, I have had the pleasure of contributing an annual queer heritage column, which explores the nature of sexuality and the experience of lesbians and gays in Japanese American history. This year’s installment recounts the […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Advertising executive and market researcher Arthur Hirose’s surprisingly successful career

This is the second half of a two-part series on the Hirose family, a pair of exceptional hapa brothers who grew up in New York at the turn of the 20th century. While older brother George Hirose (see the Nov. 7, 2013 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly), as mentioned, became a clerk at a […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Nisei literary artists in NY made their mark post-WWII

Throughout much of the 20th century, a unique feature of the West Coast Nikkei community press was the New Year’s supplement. These special holiday issues contained several additional pages in both English and Japanese. Most of the contents, at least in the English sections, were made up of advertisements from local businesses and columns of […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: The conflicted and self-destructive life of Tim Osato

Amid all the joys of working on the historical sketches of “The Great Unknown,” one of my favorite pleasures is hearing from readers. I am gratified to see that my recent article on the dancer/activist Sono Osato attracted some positive attention. In gratitude, I am inspired to present another Osato “great unknown” — the unsung […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Japanese Canadian redress and its worldwide impact

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in Nikkei Voice’s October 2013 issue. On August 10, 1988, following almost two decades of political organizing, lawsuits and lobbying by Japanese Americans and their supporters for reparations (in what they dubbed the Campaign for Redress), the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was enacted. It granted an official […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Hapa baritone George Hirose’s theatrical story

One of the pleasures of working on “The Great Unknown” is the joy of running across unfamiliar names, looking into their stories, and uncovering information that not only is interesting, but makes the history we study richer and more complex. A case in point is that of George and Arthur Hirose, a pair of hapa […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: The Takamine family’s three generations of marvels in health science

It is a great privilege to contribute to the Nichi Bei Weekly’s special issue on health and wellness. One extraordinary American saga in this area is that of chemist Jokichi Takamine Sr. and his family. Takamine was arguably the most famous Nikkei in the United States, if not in the Western world, at the time […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Rest of New York: Nikkei adventures as resettlers

This is the second installment of a series on Japanese Americans in what I have dubbed the “Rest of New York,” that is, the various parts of the state that lie outside of the five boroughs of New York City. I noted in the May 2, 2013 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly that Nikkei […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: A salute to Sono Osato’s pursuit of the arts and good citizenship

In this week’s column I diverge from my usual practice of not featuring living people in order to salute dancer/actress Sono Osato on the occasion of her recent 94th birthday. Osato was not just a uniquely visible Japanese American face in 1940s America, but an exemplar of progressive politics and good citizenship, Born in Omaha, […]

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