Japantown, African American voices come together in volume

STANDING STRONG! FILLMORE & JAPANTOWN Voices from Write Now! Fillmore and Write Now! Japantown Edited by Shizue Seigel (San Francisco: Pease Press, 2016. 140 pp. $17.95, paperback) To order, visit: http://www.peasepress.com/standingstrong “Standing Strong! Fillmore & Japantown” is a compendium of short pieces authored by Japanese American and African American residents of the Japantown and Fillmore […]

‘Monumental’ research on Manzanar

REFLECTING ON WWII, MANZANAR, AND THE WRA By Arthur L. Williams (Victoria, B.C.: FriesenPress, 2014, 256 pp., $17.99, paperback) Manzanar occupies a special place in my consciousness and conscience. I was first introduced to this eastern California site in 1972 by a California State University, Fullerton History nizpartment colleague and close friend who was a […]

The Fukuhara family caught between two sides

MIDNIGHT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds By Pamela Rotner Sakamoto (New York: Harper, 2016, 464 pp., $29.99, hardback) At our vacation residence in the small San Luis Obispo County community of Los Osos, Calif., my wife and I have a delightful neighbor who is genuinely a “voracious reader.” By […]

Survivor’s painful past informs ‘purpose-driven life’

Keiko’s Journey: A World War II Memoir By Kay Hirai (Seattle: Chin Music Press, 2015, 97 pp., $17.95, paperback) Here is the personal story of a young girl born in Japan who survived the difficult war years before relocating to the United States with her Nisei mother at the age of 11. Keiko’s story begins […]

A bear-y fun journey around S.F.

A Wish from San Francisco Written and illustrated by Tomoko Maruyama (Shenzhen, China: TMK Design LLC, 2015, 48 pp., $17.99, hard cover) This cheerful picture book, illustrated in pastels and yellow poppies, celebrates the birthday of Maya the Bear. Set in San Francisco, Luke the Bear gathers Maya’s friends all around the city. Leaving his […]

Prewar Nikkei life depicted

YOKOHAMA, CALIFORNIA By Toshio Mori, introduction to the 2015 edition by Xiaojing Zhou (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015, 201 pp., $19.95, paperback) The new edition of Toshio Mori’s short story anthology “Yokohama, California” forms part of the new University of Washington Press reprint series of Asian American classics, joining such titles as Miné Okubo’s […]

‘Powerful’ telling of U.S. camp history

INFAMY: THE SHOCKING STORY OF THE JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT IN WORLD WAR II By Richard Reeves (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2015, 368 pp., $32, hardcover, $18, paperback, $16.99, e-book) “I had wanted to write this book for a long time for the simplest of reasons: to answer the question, ‘How could this have happened […]

‘Consequential’ and ‘transformative’ study of Crystal City’s WWII incarceration

THE TRAIN TO CRYSTAL CITY: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp during World War II By Jan Jarboe Russell (New York: Scribner, 2015, 416 pp., $30, hardcover, $14.99 e-book) During World War II there existed eight Department of Justice-administered internment camps. Three states had a single facility: Montana (Fort Missoula […]

‘Mashi’ Murakami’s ‘meteoric rise’ in Japan and the U.S. in the mid-century

MASHI: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer By Robert Fitts (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 2015, 256 pp., $28.95, hardcover) The San Francisco Giants’ Japanese Heritage Night at AT&T Park in late May of this year honored Norichika Aoki and Travis Ishikawa, two Japanese and Japanese American baseball […]

A taste of home

JAPANESE SOUL COOKING: RAMEN, TONKATSU, TEMPURA, AND MORE FROM THE STREETS AND KITCHENS OF TOKYO AND BEYOND By Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat (Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 2013, 256 pp., $27.50, hardcover) Even if you didn’t grow up eating okonomiyaki (pancake) or omu (omelette) rice, the savory, robust flavors in “Japanese Soul Cooking” will […]

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