American nightmare turned into American Dream

“Moving Walls” by Sharon Yamato recounts the Japanese American experience at the Heart Mountain, Wyo. concentration camp during World War II, and also discloses what happened after the war to the 457 barracks that had housed more than 10,700 ethnic Japanese from 1942-45. The film describes how young veterans (including one Nisei, Tak Ogawa) seeking […]

‘Never Give Up!’ focuses on civil rights icon Minoru Yasui’s legacy

“Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” by Holly Yasui and Will Doolittle, highlights the life of Minoru Yasui, who during World War II intentionally violated Executive Order 9066, the presidential orders that resulted in the incarceration of more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in United States concentration camps. Minoru Yasui, […]

Addressing the silence

Following World War II, Japanese Americans returned home to the West Coast from various concentration camps. The experience, traumatic and humiliating for many former inmates, became a taboo subject for numerous families. Often times, their children would not learn about their incarceration until years later. Marlene Shigekawa, a filmmaker based in Lafayette, Calif., explores that […]

And then they stood up for them

Japanese Americans held a candlelight vigil in San Francisco’s Japantown in November 2016, following the election of President Donald Trump. Abby Ginzberg’s “And Then They Came For Us” opens with this scene as Asian Americans and the Muslim community expressed solidarity following a presidential campaign fraught with xenophobia, homophobia and Islamophobia. The year-long campaign by […]

Taking a Stand: Despite battling cancer, Sen. Hirono shines in national spotlight

Editor’s Note: Mazie Hirono made history in 2012, when she became the first elected female senator from Hawai‘i, the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, the first U.S. senator born in Japan, and the nation’s first Buddhist senator. In the middle of a turbulent political year, she announced in May 2017 that […]

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders shine on screen amid political turmoil

In a year characterized by countless horrors unfolding across the globe, the realm of Asian American entertainment media offers a surprising — and as such, somewhat disorienting — bright spot. From mainstream film and television to digitally distributed indie films and prestige TV, there’s plenty to celebrate in 2017. In terms of personal enjoyment, I […]

Hope amid hardship

THE HOPE OF ANOTHER SPRING: TAKUICHI FUJII, ARTIST AND WARTIME WITNESS By Barbara Johns (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017, 352 pp., $39.95, hardback) This altogether beautiful book by noted Seattle-based art historian and curator Barbara Johns strikingly testifies to the oft-stated judgment that a picture is worth a thousand words. The core of “The […]

Late poet’s grace shines through tragedies

ARE YOU AN ECHO? THE LOST POETRY OF MISUZU KANEKO Test and translation by David Jacobson, Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi; illustrations by Toshikado Hajiri (Seattle: Chin Music Press, 2016, 64 pp., $19.50, hardcover) This is a sad and lovely story about a young poet and the legacy of her work. A poet named Setsuo […]

A flavorful take on ramen

SIMPLY RAMEN: A COMPLETE COURSE IN PREPARING RAMEN MEALS AT HOME By Amy Kimoto-Kahn (New York: Race Point Publishing, 2016, 176 pp., hardcover, $22.95 ) With the recent surge of ramen’s popularity, this book will interest any ramen fiend or foodie that’s ready to take on homemade (non-instant) ramen. In the words of a chapter […]

The art of sushi

SUSHI ART COOKBOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO KAZARI SUSHI By Ken Kawasumi (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2017, 128 pp., hardcover, $18.95) If you are a serious foodie interested in food art or sushi, this book might be for you. But this book is definitely for you if you’re a chef or aspiring chef, or […]

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