Little Tokyo supporters wary of rail construction, gentrification

LOS ANGELES — The Metro Regional Connector rail line, slated to run through Little Tokyo upon completion in 2021, has raised concerns among people who care about the ethnic Japanese enclave’s survival and want to protect the 134-year-old neighborhood from the negative effects of gentrification. Metro’s project, now under construction, will bring three new underground […]

Deconstructing intersections of Asian America

DRUMMING ASIAN AMERICA: TAIKO, PERFORMANCE, AND CULTURAL POLITICS By Angela K. Ahlgren (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018, 198 pp., $34.95, paperback) Up until 2004, I was a mere (and rather unreflective) spectator to taiko drumming. However, that year I fortuitously became involved as an oral historian in a Japanese American National Museum-sponsored project that […]

Histories of loss and leaving

SKY COUNTRY By Christine Kitano (Rochester, N.Y.: BOA Editions Ltd., 2017, 104 pp., paperback) Ithaca College professor Christine Kitano’s “Sky Country” is a thought-provoking collection of poems that speak to Kitano’s mixed Korean-Japanese background. She organizes her book of poetry thematically into five sections each interwoven with the personal and collective histories of Korean and […]

Unpacking Okinawa’s complexities

RETHINKING POSTWAR OKINAWA: BEYOND AMERICAN OCCUPATION Edited by Pedro Iacobelli and Hiroko Matsuda (Latham, Md: Lexington Books, 2017, 212 pp., $90, hardcover) If you remember the movies “Teahouse of the August Moon” or “The Karate Kid Part II,” then be prepared for a very different “Okinawa” in “Okinawa in Rethinking Postwar Okinawa: Beyond American Occupation.” […]

The sexual and moral landscape of 1890s S.F.

DISCRIMINATING SEX: White Leisure and the Making of the American ‘Oriental’ By Amy Sueyoshi (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2018, 228 pp., $99, cloth; $26, paperback) Amy Sueyoshi, professor and administrator at San Francisco State University, has long been a pioneer in tracing the intersection of Asian American studies and sexuality studies. Her first […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: New Year’s cards (Nengajo)

In Japan, sending New Year’s greetings cards (nengajo) is a big deal. It’s much like the American tradition of sending Christmas cards, except in Japan there is $820 million dollars in postage sent on the one day. History of New Year’s cards Giving New Year’s greetings cards has been a tradition in Japan since ancient […]

New exhibit on WWII incarceration taking shape at M.I.S. Historic Learning Center

The National Japanese American Historical Society recently announced the completion of a new simulated horse stall barrack at its “Dislocation and Divergence: Real Stories of E. O. 9066” permanent installation at the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center, located at Crissy Field in the Presidio of San Francisco. Following the signing of Executive Order 9066 […]

Kansas stops issuing license plates with offensive term for Japanese

LOS ANGELES — The Kansas Department of Revenue has ceased issuing vehicle license plates that contain the letters “JAP” after a Californian man complained about a plate carrying the word, which was popularized as a derogatory term for Japanese during and after World War II. “The Division of Vehicles is restricting the use of ‘J […]

A nationwide movement for justice

In celebration of the publication of “NCRR: The Grassroots Struggle for Japanese American Redress and Reparations,” members of Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress, along with activists from the Redress Movement in the San Francisco Bay Area, held a series of book parties in the Bay Area Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. During the Oct. […]

Preserving family histories for the future: Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage

Although Japanese Americans now thrive across the United States, approximately 85,000 of them first stepped foot on the U.S. mainland after stopping at the U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island. In an effort to reclaim that part of Nikkei history, the Nichi Bei Foundation held its fourth Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage Oct. 13 on the […]

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