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, […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Dear JAVA, where is your sense of compassion and understanding?

Some of you probably know that the Japanese American Citizens League made a historic move at their last convention, which was held earlier this summer. They presented a resolution of apology to the Tule Lake resisters, which was passed overwhelmingly, by over 80 percent of the delegates, an indication of the sentiments of most of […]

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 […]

Hiroshima survivor trees planted at S.F.’s Japanese Tea Garden

Two saplings, descendants of ginkgo biloba trees that survived the 1945 nuclear blast over Hiroshima, were planted Sept. 20 at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. The trees were planted during a ceremony that also honored former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Dame Charlotte Malliard Shultz for their advocacy around nuclear […]

Glendale, Calif. ‘comfort woman’ statue vandalized again

LOS ANGELES — A controversial statue in Southern California depicting a hanbok-wearing Korean girl who symbolizes the so-called “comfort women” forced to serve in brothels during Japanese colonization has been defaced for the second time this summer, according to police. A suspect vandalized the copper statue using a black marker and knocked over surrounding potted […]

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 […]

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