A window into the resistance at Granada (Amache)

FINDING SOLACE IN THE SOIL: AN ARCHEOLOGY OF GARDENS AND GARDENERS AT AMACHE By Bonnie J. Clark (Louisville, Colo: University Press of Colorado, 2020, 224 pp., $58, hard cover) This new book, as its title suggests, explores the archaeological digs directed by author Bonnie J. Clark on the grounds of the wartime Japanese American confinement […]

A ‘community study’ of Minidoka

AN EYE FOR INJUSTICE: ROBERT C. SIMS AND MINIDOKA Edited by Susan M. Stacy (Pullman, Wash.: Washington State University Press, 2020, 246 pp., $21.95, paperback) During the May 1995 symposium that Mike Mackey organized in Powell, Wyo. on the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans at the nearby Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Mackey toured Bob Sims […]

Ambitious, emotionally raw novel on camp

WE ARE NOT FREE By Traci Chee (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020, 400 pp., $17.99, hardcover) Yonsei author Traci Chee’s ambitious new novel, “We Are Not Free,” weaves 13 devastating stories of San Francisco Japantown Nisei reeling in the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Immediate, personal and pulsing with drama, the book takes […]

Inmates’ historical narratives for the layperson

REMEMBERING OUR GRANDFATHERS’ EXILE: US IMPRISONMENT OF HAWAI‘I’S JAPANESE IN WORLD WAR II By Gail Y. Okawa (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2020, 272 pp., $26, paperback) Back in 1980, very little had been written about the World War II imprisonment experience of more than 5,500 Japanese American aliens (Issei) within the hodgepodge of 24 […]

Objects make stories come alive for families

From dolls to furniture, objects from the unjust incarceration of some 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II are present in collections across the United States. Nancy Ukai, writer and researcher of the Japanese American diaspora, is focusing on the intangible stories behind the objects. As part of the “50 Objects/Stories: The American […]

Lane Hirabayashi, scholar of Japanese American history, dies

Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, a prolific scholar whose work expanded the research of the Japanese American experience, died earlier this month in Southern California after a bout with cancer. He was 67. His lifelong commitment to Japanese American history followed “in the footsteps of his uncle Gordon Hirabayashi who defied curfew and evacuations orders during World […]

The ins and outs of redress

REDRESS: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN FOR JAPANESE AMERICAN REPARATIONS By John Tateishi (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday, 2020, 384 pp., $28, hard cover) The topic of the Japanese American Redress Movement has been abundantly rewarded by its parade of prominent chroniclers. Those authored or edited volumes which I have been privileged to read, and […]

Nisei is propelled to share firsthand accounts of camp

BLINDSIDED: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAM MIHARA By Sam Mihara, as told to Alexander Villarreal (Self-published, 2019, 2nd Ed., 121 pp., $20, paperback) In 2019, Paramount released the biopic feature film on British rock singer Elton John entitled “Rocketman.” Sam Mihara’s slender and well-written autobiographical book, “Blindsided,” also showcases the life of a rocket […]

Film uncovers little-known story of music in camp by incarcerated Nikkei

“For Joy,” a film by Julian Saporiti and the No-No Boy project, tells the little-known story of a Nikkei teenager who sang with a jazz band formed in the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain, Wyo. The story also sheds light on a hidden history — the music played during […]

Japanese American concentration camp survivors call for closure of immigrant detention centers on 78th anniversary of wartime incarceration

Members of San Francisco’s Japanese American community on Feb. 7 spoke about their experiences being incarcerated in camps during World War II, while standing in solidarity with present-day immigrants being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. Speaking at the National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco’s Japantown to commemorate the incarceration of Japanese Americans in […]

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