More than miso soup

JAPANESE SOUPS: 66 NOURISHING BROTHS, STEWS AND HOTPOTS By Keiko Iwasaki (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2021, 128 pp., $16.99, hard cover) When asked to name or identify a Japanese soup, you’ll probably think of miso, but can you think of many more? In her book, “Japanese Soups,” Keiko Iwasaki shares 66 different soups, all […]

‘Brilliant’ work relies on oral histories of JA hibakusha

AMERICAN SURVIVORS: TRANS-PACIFIC MEMORIES OF HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI By Naoko Wake (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021, 408 pp., $29.95, hard cover) In 1974, Betty Mitson and I co-edited a modest and virtually self-published and crudely fabricated book titled “Voices Long Silent: An Oral Inquiry into the Japanese American Evacuation.” It was conceived and developed […]

Bento-making 101

Ultimate Bento: Healthy, Delicious and Affordable 85 Mix-and-Match Bento Box Recipes By Marc Matsumoto and Maki Ogawa (North Clarendon, Vt: Tuttle Publishing, 2020, 168 pp., $19.99, hard cover) As a mother who currently has to make lunch five days a week for a child, I saw the cover of this book and was immediately ready […]

The untold story of a South Dakota Nisei veteran

A Place for Harvest: The Story of Kenny Higashi By Lauren R. Harris, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino (Pierre, S.D.: South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2022, 32 pp., $19.95, hard cover) Many of us are familiar with Executive Order 9066. More than 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast were forced to leave their […]

The sound of redemption

THE PERFECT SOUND: A Memoir in Stereo By Garrett Hongo (New York: Pantheon Books, 2022, 544 pp., $30, hard cover) The poet, Garrett Hongo, recounts his life in “The Perfect Sound,” a lengthy, detailed and beautifully written tome that follows his journey as a barefoot boy born in Hawai‘i, to his tenured faculty position at […]

A ‘vibrant,’ non-linear approach to Asian America’s histories

ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORIES OF THE UNITED STATES By Catherine Ceniza Choy (Boston: Beacon Press, 2022, 206 pp. $26.95, hard cover) In the mid-1990s, while teaching history classes at California State University, Fullerton, I was asked to join a professor from the Education Department in designing an academic minor curriculum for the university’s new Asian American […]

Interrogating the memoir of a resister

BEYOND THE BETRAYAL: The Memoir of a World War II Japanese American Draft Resister of Conscience By Yoshito Kuromiya, edited by Arthur A. Hansen (Louisville, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2022, 234 pp. $34.95 hard cover) Be sure to read the Endnotes to Yosh Kuromiya’s new posthumous memoir. They’re half the fun of reading this […]

The gift of a smile

The Smile Shop Written and illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Atlanta, Ga.: Peachtree Publishing Company, Inc., 2021, 32 pp., $17.99, hard cover) A young boy stands on the sidewalk staring at his pocket money. He plans to buy himself something special. As he walks through the bustling marketplace, he is close to a food stall with […]

Life in the Tule Lake Stockade

TULE LAKE STOCKADE DIARY: NOVEMBER 13, 1943-FEBRUARY 14, 1944 By Tatsuo Ryusei Inouye (Los Angeles: Nancy Oda Publishing, 2020, 256 pp., $40, hard cover) There now exists a richly diverse number of publications devoted to the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans generically called Tule Lake. This penal facility was initially known as […]

Shining inspirations

I Am Able to Shine By Korey Watari, illustrated by Mike Wu (Two Lions, 2022, 40 pp., $10.29, hard cover) This book was written about a Japanese American girl named Keiko who is very self-confident. She is determined to shine. “Her generous heart fills her with strength and purpose.” Her mother inspires her and Keiko […]

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