Accidental sleuth

ICED IN PARADISE: A Leilani Santiago Hawai’i Mystery By Naomi Hirahara (Altadena, Calif.: Prospect Park Books, 2019, 216 pp., $16, paperback) Stepping into “Iced in Paradise,” author Naomi Hirahara immediately establishes a local vantage point, from behind the counter of Santiago Shave Ice. When a mainlander asks about Waimea Wonder, her grandmother’s signature combination, lead […]

Unearthing one family’s history

TADAIMA! I AM HOME: A TRANSNATIONAL FAMILY HISTORY By Tom Coffman (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018, 176 pp., $17.99, paperback) The volume under review, the most recent of many documentary books by award-winning veteran independent researcher, writer, and producer Tom Coffman, characteristically incorporates historical themes pertaining to Hawai‘i. What makes “Tadaima! I Am Home” […]

‘Respectable’ biography on Norman Mineta falls short of potential

Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II By Andrea Warren (New York: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2019, 224 pp., $22.99, hardcover) When I was in elementary school, I was introduced to the American Revolution through the biography of Johnny Tremain, which may […]

Willow finds her way

PILU OF THE WOODS Written and illustrated by Mai K. Nguyen (Portland, Ore.: Oni Press, 2019, 160 pp., $12.99, paperback) “Pilu of the Woods” is a charming book featuring both a profound message that children will be able to resonate with, and simplistic yet colorful visuals. The plot mostly follows the actions of a girl […]

150 years later, Wakamatsu colony comes back to life

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — The sun-burnt foothills of Gold Hill outside Placerville came alive June 8 with silk spinners, tea makers, flute players, priests and even a prince from Aizu Wakamatsu. They joined hundreds of history buffs from Japan, California and beyond to celebrate the 150th anniversary of America’s first Japanese outpost, the short-lived but much-revered […]

Japanese Americans, others protest immigration detention at former WWII prison camp

LAWTON, Okla. — On June 22, Japanese Americans, Native Americans and immigrant rights advocates joined together to protest immigration detention at Fort Sill, the former site of a World War II prison camp for people of Japanese ancestry. Groups organized in response to the news that the Trump administration plans to incarcerate 1,400 migrant children […]

Washington selects Hachimura 9th in NBA draft

NEW YORK (Kyodo) — Rui Hachimura became the first Japanese player selected in the opening round of the NBA draft when the Washington Wizards claimed him with the ninth pick June 20 in New York. The 21-year-old Hachimura played three seasons at Gonzaga University before being drafted. He now will join a Washington team that had […]

LET’S TALK … About gratitude

Obon festivals in Japanese American communities across the country signal the heart of summer and the gathering of families and friends for Bon Odori, festive lanterns, taiko drums, and our favorite local food booths. In the Buddhist tradition, Obon is a time that marks the return of deceased ancestors to Earth with special consideration of […]

Summer is fun time for Southern California Bon Odori junkies

LOS ANGELES — Summer is a joyful season for many thousands of Southern California Nikkei as they participate in numerous traditional Buddhist Obon observances — as well as non-Buddhist summer festivities — and most include some Japanese dancing. Obon is a traditional event to honor and thank one’s ancestors for the gift of life. Most […]

Bon Odori is a tradition even far from the West Coast

Japanese Americans who don’t live on the West Coast joke that you can go to a different Bon Odori every weekend in California, and dance away your summer. Not so in the geographically isolated Rocky Mountain region, where a few cities such as Denver, Salt Lake City and some other smaller towns host Obon festivals […]

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