TULE LAKE ICON PASSES: Hiroshi Kashiwagi was a noted poet, playwright, author, actor and symbol of wartime resistance

When Hiroshi Kashiwagi was born in a boarding house in Sacramento, Calif. on Nov. 8, 1922, no one imagined that he would become a successful activist, writer, playwright, actor, and a poet of such regard that he would be known as the “Poet Laureate of Tule Lake.” Although his first book, “Swimming in the American: […]

Isao Tanaka, photographer and ‘No-no,’ dies

Isao Tanaka, a so-called “No-no” who resisted the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans and took countless community photographs that were featured in various media, passed away peacefully at his San Francisco home on Oct. 27, 2019. He was 93. He was born the eldest of four children of Satsumi and Sasaichi Tanaka in Santa Maria, […]

Remains found may be Manzanar inmate

Skeletal remains discovered by hikers near Mount Williamson on Oct. 7 could be that of a Manzanar, Calif. concentration camp prisoner who disappeared July 29, 1945, while hiking in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Associated Press reported. In the closing days of World War II, a man from Manzanar had joined other Japanese American […]

Paul Bannai, first Japanese American to serve in California State Legislature, dies at 99

Former California State Assemblyman Paul Takeo Bannai, the first Japanese American elected to serve in the California State Legislature, peacefully passed away in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sept. 14, 2019. He was 99. Bannai was born on July 4, 1920, 180 miles northeast of Denver, in Delta, Colo. He grew up in other towns in […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Classical music behind barbed wires

(Editor’s Note: The following was co-written with Jonathan van Harmelen) In the tragic and difficult conditions faced by Japanese Americans confined in the War Relocation Authority camps during World War II, one imposing arena of achievement was in the arts. In recent years, a number of books and exhibits have highlighted not only the extraordinary […]

Exhibit at JANM celebrates emergence of APA consciousness

LOS ANGELES — “At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America,” a multi-media exhibit celebrating the emergence of a politically defined Asian Pacific American consciousness and identity, is now on display through Oct. 20 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. This co-production of Visual Communications and JANM chronicles the transformation of […]

Hugh Macbeth Jr., advocate of Japanese Americans, dies at 100

Hugh Macbeth Jr, who died Sept. 14, 2019 at the age of 100, was an extraordinary figure, both in who he was and in what he represented. On a personal level, he was a distinguished lawyer and judge — a prime member of a generation of African Americans who achieved mainstream success, despite the formidable […]

ICE profiteers should not use JA incarceration to justify their work

There is a growing movement in the Japanese American community to stop the Trump administration from incarcerating children and families, led by survivors of the World War II camps who grew up as child prisoners. Many of their descendants — including myself — are working to support them. But not everyone in the JA community […]

AMC’s ‘The Terror: Infamy’ weaves a ‘seductive creepiness’ into the WWII incarceration story

AMC’s supernatural television anthology, titled “The Terror: Infamy,” opens with a Japanese woman putting on make up and then sticking a chopstick into her hair. I groaned. Was this going to be another series where cultural appropriation was the norm, I wondered? We never see white people stick forks or spoons in their hair. Then, […]

Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign castigated: Critics concerned about JA private contractor’s oversight of ICE detention centers

The Trump administration’s anti-immigrant campaign has ignited a firestorm of protests from many concerned Americans, who are horrified by the inhumane treatment of the immigrants — especially children — and concerned over the unsatisfactory inspections of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers by a Nikkei-owned for-profit corporation. Carl Takei, a senior staff attorney for the […]

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