Graphic novel documents acts of resistance

WE HEREBY REFUSE: JAPANESE AMERICAN RESISTANCE TO WARTIME INCARCERATION By Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, illustrated by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki (Seattle: Chin Music Press/Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, 2021, 160 pp., $19.95, paperback) The graphic novel, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” focuses on the real life experiences of Jim Akutsu, a Minidoka War Relocation Authority camp draft resister; Mitsuye Endo, a Topaz (Central Utah) WRA inmate who challenged the incarceration through a habeas corpus petition; and Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a Tule Lake […]

Minding and mining the gaps of one family’s trauma

FORCED OUT: A NIKKEI WOMAN’S SEARCH FOR A HOME IN AMERICA By Judy Y. Kawamoto (Louisville, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2020, 202 pp., $29.95, hardcover) I immensely enjoyed and was greatly enlightened by Sansei psychotherapist Judy Kawamoto’s singular book. I would classify its genre as a meditative memoir. As she succinctly notes, “psychotherapy is […]

Book on Heart Mountain football team achieves brilliance

THE EAGLES OF HEART MOUNTAIN: A TRUE STORY OF FOOTBALL, INCARCERATION, AND RESISTANCE IN WORLD WAR II AMERICA By Bradford Pearson (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2021, 400 pp., $28, hard cover) For a number of years I have been working on a sports and society book treating the social and cultural transformation of Southern California in the early Cold War period through the lens of prep football as epitomized by a Dec. 14, 1956, California Interscholastic Federation championship game between Downey High School […]

A digestible telling of familiar snippets of JA WWII history

FACING THE MOUNTAIN: A TRUE STORY OF JAPANESE AMERICAN HEROES IN WORLD WAR II By Daniel James Brown (New York: Viking Books, 2021, 560 pp., $30, hard cover)  Daniel James Brown’s “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” recounts the narrative of the Japanese American wartime experience by focusing on the individual histories of Gordon Hirabayashi, Katsugo “Kats” Miho, Fred Shiosaki and Rudy Tokiwa. Hirabayashi famously contested Executive Order 9066 in the courts, […]

Why Tule Lake matters

In this post-Trump, post-Stephen Miller era where social media has brought to the fore the systemic racism that permeates U.S. society, it is time to see Tule Lake for what it was. Tule Lake had nothing to do with loyalty or disloyalty. That’s just government propaganda, perpetuated by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). What […]

Japanese American Museum of Oregon says ‘Tadaima’

On May 5, 1942, more than 2,400 members of Oregon’s Japanese American community were forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated in the Portland Assembly Center, the first stop on their way to the Minidoka concentration camp in southern Idaho. On May 6, 1942, General John DeWitt declared Portland the first major city on the […]

Manzanar’s ‘unexpected’ land defenders

Like many Sansei, Ann Kaneko grew up hearing about “camp” from her parents’ dinnertime conversations, but it wasn’t until she was asked to talk about her family’s World War II incarceration in the fourth grade that she realized that what they had experienced was far from a “fun camp where they had been for a […]

Down from mountain, Japanese American incarceree’s remains return home

When Giichi Matsumura arrived at his final resting place in December, the people who knew him best already were there. His wife, Ito, who had mourned his passing for 60 years before her death in 2005, was buried in the same plot, as was his daughter, Kazue, who died in 2018. His father, Katsuzo, who […]

eBay auction of Japanese American incarceration art pulled after protest

LOS ANGELES — The auction of a series of sketches purportedly drawn by an artist at the Japanese American concentration camp at Manzanar was canceled April 6 after groups protested it was offensive and immoral to profit off the misery of incarcerated people. The auction was halted by eBay hours before it was to conclude […]

CONTINUING TRADITIONS: The evolution of koto artist Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto is literally in the middle of three generations of a family of koto teachers. Rising through the ranks over the years, she was awarded her Dai Shihan master’s degree from the Chikushi Kai Koto School in Fukuoka, Japan in 2000, and was inducted into the Hokka Nichibei Kai Bunka (Japanese Culture) Hall […]

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