A centenarian gets his wings

A Nisei pilot could have been a World War II ace, but racism kept him grounded. Virgil Nishimura Westdale graduated top of his class in the War Training Service — he said he had a knack for acrobatic flying — and was well on his way to be a pilot for the U.S. Army Air […]

L.A. Day of Remembrance speaker urges Nikkei to resist hate-mongering

LOS ANGELES — Stand up to resist the hate-mongering and violence targeting immigrants and Muslims, was the message activist Alan Nishio delivered to the 300-plus people attending the 2018 Day of Remembrance Feb. 17 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. The annual Day of Remembrance event commemorates President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing […]

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 […]

Asian American Orchestra to celebrate Black History Month, commemorate DOR with new work

Anthony Brown, who is of African and Japanese heritage, will commemorate the intersection of his biracial identity as part of a 20-year retrospective of his Grammy-nominated Asian American Orchestra Feb. 18 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, celebrating Black History Month and observing the Day of Remembrance. The Day of Remembrance reflects upon the 76th […]

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 […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Sueo and Ikuo Serisawa’s lifelong dedication to the arts

In my Jan. 1, 2018 Nichi Bei Weekly article on prewar Nisei films, I discussed the 1935 film “Nisei Parade,” produced by the brothers Ikuo and Sueo Serisawa. Publication of the article has brought on the question of what happened afterward to the young filmmakers, notably to Sueo Serisawa. In fact, Serisawa’s work on the […]

Little Tokyo senbei and arare maker Umeya closes business

LOS ANGELES — There will be no more senbei and arare from Umeya. The longtime manufacturer and distributor of Japanese rice cakes and cookies closed down its operations on Dec. 31, 2017. Umeya was founded in Los Angeles by Yasuo Hamano, who was born in 1902 and immigrated to the United States in 1918 from […]

SEEKING PERSONAL JUSTICE: The little-known role of Aiko and Jack Herzig after the Redress Bill was passed

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga is best known for her work during the Japanese American Redress Movement on the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians; the class action lawsuit filed by the National Council on Japanese American Redress; and the coram nobis cases of Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu and Minoru Yasui. Lesser known is the critical […]

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