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.

A foreigner in everyone’s eyes

GAIJIN: AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR By Matt Faulkner (New York: Disney • Hyperion Books, 2014, 144 pp., $19.99, hardcover)   People of Japanese descent on the West Coast were, without regard to nationality, rounded up and placed in American concentration camps during World War II. The story is well known. Perhaps lesser known are the […]

A complex, seamy account of 20th century Nikkei

VOICES FROM THE CANEFIELDS: FOLK SONGS FROM JAPANESE IMMIGRANT WORKERS IN HAWAI’I By Franklin Odo (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, 272 pp., $55, hardcover) In his most recent book, Franklin Odo, the former director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, historically charts the role of holehole bushi, Japanese folk songs on the sugar […]

NIKKEI ANGEL ISLAND CHRONICLES: Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans on Angel Island

The Oct. 4, 2014 Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage — presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation in partnership with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and National Japanese American Historical Society — sparked a lot of interest among Japanese Americans in their potential Angel Island roots, either immigrant ancestors or those who may have been briefly […]

The ‘invented fiction’ of the model minority and the controversy behind the JA Creed

THE COLOR OF SUCCESS: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority By Ellen D. Wu (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2014, 376 pp., $39.50, hard cover) SACRIFICING SOLDIERS ON THE NATIONAL MALL By Kristin Ann Hass (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013, 262 pp., $29.95, paperback)  These books by Ellen Wu and […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Beautiful heart

Happy new year! I would like to talk about a “beautiful heart.” 美しい (utsukushii) means “beautiful or attractive,” which consists of two parts. The top part represents the form of a beautiful ram and the bottom part is a person who is standing. Together, utsukushii is a beautiful or attractive person. 心 (kokoro) means “heart,” […]

Recovering a community’s rich history and identity

Japanese American Baseball in California : A History  By Kerry Yo Nakagawa (Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2014, 224 pp., $21.99, paperback)  One of the real pleasures of studying Japanese American history is a capacity for being endlessly surprised by the richness of the subject — I love discovering the unexpected paths that Nikkei communities and […]

Shig’s Journey: Incarceration through an astute observer’s eyes

A BOY OF HEART MOUNTAIN: Based on and inspired by the experiences of Shigeru Yabu By Barbara Bazaldua, illustrated by Willie Ito (Camarillo, Calif.: Yabitoon Books, 2010, 145 pp., $19.95, paperback) Travel back to the Japanese American community of the 1940s and absorb the history of internment camps while reading what feels like a novel. […]

On mystical wings

THE BOY IN THE GARDEN   By Allen Say (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children, 2010, 32 pp., $17.99, hardcover)   Reviewed By Twila Tomita, Nichi Bei Weekly Contributor   If you are a fan of Allen Say, you’ll be happy to know that he has a new book, “The Boy in the […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: ‘99 Nen no Ai’ – A popular Japanese drama about Japanese Americans

Any Japanese American would immediately understand what you meant if you said 442nd, E.O. 9066, or camp. But how many Japanese people living in Japan would know? Before November, not that many. However, in November, Tokyo Broadcasting System aired a drama in Japan called “99 Nen no Ai ~Japanese Americans~.” The drama was about the […]

C(API)TOL CORRESPONDENT: APIs make history in elections

Without question, the dominating ethnic story of the 2010 elections was how Nicky Diaz and Latino voters handed billionaire Meg Whitman a stunning loss in the gubernatorial race. The less obvious but significantly interesting back story is about the continued rise of Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) in politics. APIs represent the second largest ethnic voter […]