Returning to Manzanar

Manzanar Mosaic: Essays and Oral Histories on America’s First World War II Japanese American Concentration Camp By Arthur A. Hansen (Denver: University Press of Colorado, 2023, 336 pp., $42; $29.95, hard cover; paperback) In the field of Japanese American studies, there is no denying the impact of Dr. Arthur A. Hansen’s work. His essays and […]

An in-depth examination of the WRA’s legal system

LAWYER, JAILER, ALLY, FOE: Complicity and Conscience in America’s World War II Concentration Camps By Eric L. Muller (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2023, 283 pp., $30, hardcover) As someone who has taught both history and literature classes, I recently had my curiosity aroused by an article in The New Yorker magazine […]

EO9066’s ‘coerced prison work(ers)’

JAPANESE AMERICAN INCARCERATION: The Camps and Coerced Labor During World War II By Stephanie Hinnershitz (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021, 309 pp., $39.95, hardcover) Although certainly not an American labor historian per se, I am profoundly abashed that, notwithstanding my having been researching, writing, and teaching about the unjust Japanese American World War II […]

An inquiry into the Kibei-Nisei ‘diasporic experiences’

CITIZENS, IMMIGRANTS, AND THE STATELESS: A Japanese American Diaspora in the Pacific By Michael R. Jin (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2022, 223 pp., $30, paperback) I feel a close kinship with this remarkable book by Michael R. Jin. In 2013, I was privileged to read his pioneering UC Santa Cruz dissertation, which he completed […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Events honor James Wakasa, inmate who was killed at Topaz, but questions remain about future of his memorial

Editor’s Note: Chizu Omori is a Wakasa Memorial Committee member. James Hatsuaki Wakasa probably would have been astonished by the recognition and appreciation events attendees bestowed upon him in April in San Francisco and Delta, Utah. Wakasa was murdered at age 63 by a soldier in a watch tower at the Topaz (Central Utah) concentration […]

Ninth Circuit affirms dismissal of Tule Lake Committee v. FAA, et al.

Earlier this month, the Tule Lake Committee lost its appeal in Tule Lake Committee v. FAA, et al. The U.S. Ninth Circuit in San Francisco affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the Committee’s lawsuit that sought to assert a Japanese American voice to preserve a site sacred to our community. The dismissal was a setback […]

Wakasa remembered in Utah, 80 years after fatal shot in concentration camp

 TOPAZ, Utah — A set of solemn and respectful ceremonies permeated through the Central Utah breeze April 22 under dotted clouds over the former Topaz concentration camp and the Topaz Museum in Delta, Utah. They served as a contrast to the sudden and violent death of Japanese immigrant James Hatsuaki Wakasa 80 years ago, […]

Canadian filmmaker explores a gap in family history

Filmmaker Natalie Murao contemplates the conversation she never got to have with her grandfather in “Blue Garden” (2022, 5 minutes). The hybrid-doc-animation tells the story of Murao’s grandfather, a Japanese Canadian fisherman who was incarcerated during World War II. The Vancouver-based filmmaker first thought about creating the film in 2020 after she returned home at […]

S.F.: 21-Gun salute, flyovers commemorate 81st anniversary of Bataan Death March

A 21-gun salute rang out and planes roared over the Presidio in a ceremony April 15 commemorating the 81st anniversary of the Bataan Death March. Organized by the Bay Area-based Bataan Legacy Historical Society, the event was held in remembrance of the infamous World War II massacre in the Philippines. The Bataan Death March was […]

Odori ‘rock star’ Fujima Kansuma dies at 104

LOS ANGELES — Fujima Kansuma, the legendary Japanese dancer who taught thousands of students in a career that spanned nearly eight decades, died on Feb. 22 at 104. Miyako Tachibana, Kansuma’s daughter, who took over her mother’s teaching duties, stated via e-mail that when her father died when Tachibana was 12 years old, “my mother […]