‘Brilliant’ work relies on oral histories of JA hibakusha

AMERICAN SURVIVORS: TRANS-PACIFIC MEMORIES OF HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI By Naoko Wake (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021, 408 pp., $29.95, hard cover) In 1974, Betty Mitson and I co-edited a modest and virtually self-published and crudely fabricated book titled “Voices Long Silent: An Oral Inquiry into the Japanese American Evacuation.” It was conceived and developed […]

Bento-making 101

Ultimate Bento: Healthy, Delicious and Affordable 85 Mix-and-Match Bento Box Recipes By Marc Matsumoto and Maki Ogawa (North Clarendon, Vt: Tuttle Publishing, 2020, 168 pp., $19.99, hard cover) As a mother who currently has to make lunch five days a week for a child, I saw the cover of this book and was immediately ready […]

An extensive and accessible approach to Japanese food

Japan: The Cookbook By Nancy Singleton Hachisu (London and New York: Phaidon, 2019, 464 pp., $49.95, hard cover) The first thing you will note about this cookbook is its sheer size. The recipes Nancy Singleton Hachisu has compiled through her time in Japan spans regions, time periods and occasions, and is extensive. This cookbook includes […]

Documenting activism as ‘a form of radical care and love’

CONTEMPORARY ASIAN AMERICAN ACTIVISM: BUILDING MOVEMENTS FOR LIBERATION Edited by Diane C. Fujino and Robyn Magalit Rodriguez (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2022, 336 pp., $30, paperback) “Contemporary Asian American Activism: Building Movements for Liberation” is an important anthology, the first of its kind, to examine contemporary Asian American activism that focuses on praxis through […]

The untold story of a South Dakota Nisei veteran

A Place for Harvest: The Story of Kenny Higashi By Lauren R. Harris, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino (Pierre, S.D.: South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2022, 32 pp., $19.95, hard cover) Many of us are familiar with Executive Order 9066. More than 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast were forced to leave their […]

The sound of redemption

THE PERFECT SOUND: A Memoir in Stereo By Garrett Hongo (New York: Pantheon Books, 2022, 544 pp., $30, hard cover) The poet, Garrett Hongo, recounts his life in “The Perfect Sound,” a lengthy, detailed and beautifully written tome that follows his journey as a barefoot boy born in Hawai‘i, to his tenured faculty position at […]

A ‘vibrant,’ non-linear approach to Asian America’s histories

ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORIES OF THE UNITED STATES By Catherine Ceniza Choy (Boston: Beacon Press, 2022, 206 pp. $26.95, hard cover) In the mid-1990s, while teaching history classes at California State University, Fullerton, I was asked to join a professor from the Education Department in designing an academic minor curriculum for the university’s new Asian American […]

Interrogating the memoir of a resister

BEYOND THE BETRAYAL: The Memoir of a World War II Japanese American Draft Resister of Conscience By Yoshito Kuromiya, edited by Arthur A. Hansen (Louisville, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2022, 234 pp. $34.95 hard cover) Be sure to read the Endnotes to Yosh Kuromiya’s new posthumous memoir. They’re half the fun of reading this […]

Bio of Issei journo shines

A REBEL’S OUTCRY: BIOGRAPHY OF ISSEI CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER SEI FUJII (1882-1954) By Kenichi Sato (Los Angeles: Little Tokyo Historical Society, 2021, 231 pp., $60, hard cover) Prior to reading this book, my knowledge about prominent Issei lawyer/journalist Sei Fujii derived from two starkly contrasting experiences. The first of these was co-authoring with Ronald Larson […]

The gift of a smile

The Smile Shop Written and illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Atlanta, Ga.: Peachtree Publishing Company, Inc., 2021, 32 pp., $17.99, hard cover) A young boy stands on the sidewalk staring at his pocket money. He plans to buy himself something special. As he walks through the bustling marketplace, he is close to a food stall with […]

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