The truth behind religious freedom in Japan

FAKING LIBERTIES: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN AMERICAN-OCCUPIED JAPAN By Jolyon Baraka Thomas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019, 336 pp., $32.50, paperback) Although only an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Jolyon Baraka Thomas has already published one remarkable book, “Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan” (University of […]

Japanese American Citizens League considers apology to Tule Lake resisters

Nearly two decades after passing a resolution addressing its past skeletons, a national Japanese American organization is once again set to confront its controversial actions during the war. The National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League plans to discuss a resolution to apologize to the Tule Lake resisters at the 50th JACL National Convention […]

How a teacher’s letters helped JA inmates

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind By Cynthia Grady, illustrated by Amiko Hirao. (Watertown, Mass.: Charlesbridge, 2018, 32 pp., $16.99, hardcover) This tenderly illustrated book is a thoroughly researched account of the correspondence via postcards between Clara Breed, a children’s librarian in San Diego, and her enthusiastic […]

The causes and consequences of a government ‘scheme’

THE TANGO WAR: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HEARTS, MINDS AND RICHES OF LATIN AMERICA DURING WORLD WAR II By Mary Jo McConahay (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2018, 336 pp., $29.99, hardcover) Some Nichi Bei Weekly readers may well wonder why this book by seasoned Latin American journalist Mary Jo McConahay is being reviewed here […]

Classic haiku poems in beautiful dreamscapes

MY FIRST BOOK OF HAIKU POEMS Translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, illustrated by Tracy Gallup (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2019, 48 pp., $16.99, hardcover) “My First Book of Haiku Poems” introduces children to classic haiku written by Japanese haiku masters such as Basho, Issa and Shiki. Each poem, lyrically translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, a professor […]

Scaring versus sharing

Let’s Scare Bear By Yuko Katakawa (New York: Holiday House, 2019, 40 pp., $17.99, hardcover) “Let’s Scare Bear,” based on a classic Japanese rakugo (comic storytelling) tale, is a funny, entertaining story with a surprise ending and an important lesson for young readers. Mouse, Fox, Spider and Snake love manju, a Japanese sweet. The four […]

Text ‘enrichens’ knowledge of Asian Americans in the South

A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South By Stephanie Hinnershitz (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2017, 296 pp., $39.95, hardcover) In “A Different Shade of Justice,” Stephanie Hinnershitz details the struggles for equality by ethnic Asians in the American South. For more than a century, Asian laborers […]

Bookseller, like Japanese American community, perseveres through challenges

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Women, children, mothers, fathers, families. Some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent were trapped behind barbed wire fences for having a cultural connection to Japan during World War II. In 1970 the Japanese American Curriculum Project, renamed the Asian American Curriculum Project in 1985, began its humble endeavor to educate the public […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: The humble cabbage

Yes, I realize that it’s not the sexiest food or vegetable. And though it’s the main ingredient in coleslaw, when was the last time you had a Pavlovian reaction when someone placed a bowl of coleslaw in front of you? Most of the other Brassica oleracea cultivars have their devoted and dedicated followers, like kale, […]

Sequel leads adoptee from HI to WWII concentration camps in NorCal

By Alan Brennert (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2019, 320 pp., $27.99, hardcover) Daughter of Moloka‘i First and foremost, writer Alan Brennert is a wonderful world builder. It’s not surprising that he has received a glowing review of his latest novel, “Daughter of Moloka‘i,” from Games of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin. They both are […]

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