New Year's Edition

Our annual New Year's editions include an extra helping of original feature stories, a Winter Book Review, a piece on Preserving Our Japantowns, as well as contributions from all our columnists. Our 2011 issue includes the first annual Nikkei of the Year award, which went to Olympian Apolo Anton Ono. Also inside, an interview with Korean American actor Tim Kang and an update on LA's Little Tokyo.

Complicat(i)ng the ‘mosaic’ of history

THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY Edited by David K. Yoo and Eiichiro Azuma (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 544 pp., $150, hardcover) This impressive volume, published at the semi-centennial of Asian American studies, serves admirably as an authoritative marker of Asian American history’s coming of age. Edited by two stalwarts in the […]

Sakura Grove to bloom in Sacramento’s Southside Park

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Hanami, or flower viewing, is the Japanese tradition of gathering under sakura (cherry blossom) trees to enjoy the annual spring blossoms with friends and family. In Japan, people travel from all across the country to experience hanami in various regions. Cherry blossom trees can be viewed in a few places in the […]

In pursuit of a ‘whole and free’ society

FREEDOM WITHOUT JUSTICE: THE PRISON MEMOIRS OF CHOL SOO LEE Edited by Richard S. Kim (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2017, 323 pp., $19.99, paperback) I grew up in a law-and-order family. There was no contradiction between my parents’ experience of the Japanese American incarceration, and their fundamental respect for the U.S. criminal justice system. […]

San Francisco’s Japantown plans for preservation

San Francisco’s Japantown experienced several notable changes in 2017 and aims to implement and secure resources for the continuity of one of the nation’s last three historical Japantowns. As the ethnic enclave moves forward into 2018, several organizations based in the neighborhood must seriously consider their mission and focus for the coming years. New Organization […]

A case study of Heart Mountain’s draft resisters and military service

WYOMING SAMURAI: THE WORLD WAR II WARRIORS OF HEART MOUNTAIN By Mike Mackey (Cody, Wyo.: Western History Publications, 2015, 181 pp., $18.95, paperback) This is Mike Mackey’s fifth and, apparently, final book centered on the World War II experience of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in northwest Wyoming. Mackey, who has made his home in […]

Nikkei must speak out against police brutality

The other day, I received a petition in an e-mail asking me to tell PepsiCo, which makes Doritos,to stop buying the palm oil it uses to make the chips. “That sound when you bite down on Doritos … is the sound of rainforests being ‘crunched’ … for massive palm oil plantations ….” It seems that […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: FDR’s acts of diplomacy through his friendships with Japanese

A central figure in Japanese American history is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In my first book, “By Order of the President” (2001), I looked at Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the mass incarceration of some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent in American concentration camps. One of my book’s main arguments was […]

Baseball as a symbol of hope

BARBED WIRE BASEBALL By Marissa Moss, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu (New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013, 48 pp., $18.95, hardcover) What made baseball so compelling for Japanese American World War II inmates? “Barbed Wire Baseball” gives us a glimpse of one man’s yearning for the sport from Gila River, Ariz.’s desert concentration camp. […]

Connecting in the aftermath of the tsunami

A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING  By Ruth Ozeki (New York: Penguin Books, 2013, 432 pp., $28.95, hardcover) From a French Maid Café in Akihabara, the electronic district in Tokyo, the fast-clip banter of a 16-year-old girl initiates a spirited candor and yearning as she proposes to share her last rites in her diary. She […]

‘An atrocity: The hostility and terrorism’ Nisei vets faced

NISEI SOLDIERS BREAK THEIR SILENCE: COMING HOME TO HOOD RIVER By Linda Tamura (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012, 360 pp, $24.95, paperback)   Linda Tamura’s “Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence” may not be a military history, despite its title, but it is indeed the story of an atrocity: the hostility and terrorism that greeted […]

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