THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Poet, writer Mary Oyama Mittwer championed literary and intellectual exchanges

One astounding aspect of Japanese American life is the number of accomplished families — clans that gave birth to multiple members who made names for themselves in different fields of endeavor. I recently had the occasion to work on the Tajiri family, which produced in one generation the journalists Larry and Yoshiko Tajiri, the photographer […]

Japanese Ambassador tours United Tribes; visit yields linguistic clarity

BISMARCK, N.D. — After 67 years, telltale signs of the Japanese interment can still be found at the former site of a government detention camp. The Japanese Ambassador to the United States helped shed some light on one fading piece of evidence during a visit to United Tribes Technical College. Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki toured United […]

LGBT rights activist, Tak Yamamoto, dies

LOS ANGELES — Long-time Manzanar Committee leader Takenori “Tak” Yamamoto, of Los Angeles, died on Nov. 9, 2012, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced in a statement issued Nov. 16. Yamamoto, 74, died of natural causes, according to long-time partner Karl Fish. Yamamoto’s family was among the some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly […]

No-nos, renunciants speak out about stigma over wartime actions

TORRANCE, Calif. — The “No-No Boys” and renunciants, Nikkei prisoners who protested the injustice of having to answer a “loyalty questionnaire” while incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II, were the focus of a forum held on Oct. 27 at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Community Room in Torrance. Although 70 years […]

Longtime Yorozu gift store owner, Eugene Hirohisa Okada passes on, leaves legacy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eugene Okada at the Yorozu store on Riverside. Okada died Sept. 21. He was 93. Okada was the last owner of the Yorozu, which has been family owned and operated for almost 100 years. The longtime owner of the Yorozu Japanese gift store on Riverside Boulevard, Eugene Hirohisa Okada, died in his […]

Setting the record straight on ‘Allegiance’

The play “Allegiance” attempts to promote sympathy for those who answered no to loyalty questionnaire questions or refused induction into the U.S. Army (aka “resisters”) by seeking to taint the reputation of those who volunteered to serve in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), a segregated Japanese American combat unit formed in the U.S. Army […]

‘Allegiance’ musical a lyrical interpretation of Japanese American history

Just think about it, a musical based on the incarceration experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. It struck me as an idea so far out that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like. But that’s the nature of creativity, isn’t it? Something we lesser mortals can’t imagine turns out to be something […]

Pledging ‘Allegiance’: New musical doesn’t hide from controversy

A chance encounter in a New York theater between actor George Takei and producer Lorenzo Thione — who was with composer Jay Kuo — led to the development and production of a new musical, “Allegiance,” now playing at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Takei spoke about his experiences during World War II as […]

Open letter about ‘Allegiance’

The play “Allegiance” opened in San Diego, Calif. on Sept. 19. The producers of the play have received criticism about a pre-opening version of the play and they may have made some changes before opening. However, we understand that they do not intend to change the play’s characterization of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), […]

THE KAERU KID: Manzanar and more in Lone Pine

The annual pilgrimage to the Manzanar National Historic Site takes place during the last weekend of April. This coincides with the opening of trout season that so many Nikkei look forward to, and this year was predicted to be the best opening in years as far as the weather and the chance to catch a […]

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