‘Snow Falling on Cedars’ skillfully explores wartime prejudice

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The Japanese American concentration camps of World War II provide a compelling backdrop for the excellent theatrical production of “Snow Falling on Cedars.” Based on David Guterson’s 1994 best-selling novel, the play offers a potent mix of romance and whodunit, as well as an exploration of the issue of prejudice against […]

Weeping for Baachan

My mom’s been gone nearly two years now but over the past two weeks, I’ve been grateful that she wasn’t alive to have her heart broken every day. To see the devastation and suffering in the Japanese country of her birth would have slowly killed her. Although I sense her presence daily, it has been […]

NJAHS honors those who made ‘transformative’ contributions

The National Japanese American Historical Society’s (NJAHS) mission statement has changed since it began in 1981. In celebrating its 30th anniversary, NJAHS honored both the people it says have transformed the Japanese American cultural landscape, as well as the transformations the organization itself has experienced during the last three decades. NJAHS originated with a mission […]

‘Mourning Breath’: On Historical Amnesia, D.O.R., Love & Revolution

Just a little over two weeks ago, I celebrated the 25th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday becoming a national holiday. I did so by accompanying a group of high school youth to Youth Speaks’ “Bringin’ the Noise for Dr. King,” event in San Francisco, California. The clarity with which the young poets (ranging […]

Unmasking the Yonsei: 4th Generation Japanese Americans & Our Relationship/s to Racism & White Supremacy, Part 2

Part 2: Removing the Mask Relatively small though we are, as a Nikkei community, our growing acceptance into dominant white, middle-class culture is something I do not take lightly (particularly as a Japanese American with European ancestry). I have come to notice that false binaries (i.e. “Republicans vs. Democrats”) have and continue to play a […]

Unmasking the Yonsei: 4th Generation Japanese Americans and Our Relationship/s to Racism & White Supremacy, Part 1

Part 1: Identifying the Mask James Baldwin once wrote, “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” When it comes to issues of love and sustainability, from the 442nd and Patsy Mink, to Yuri Kochiyama and Richard Aoki, Americans of Nikkei heritage have shown undeniable brilliance […]

Away game

THE LUCKY BASEBALL: My Story in a Japanese-American Internment Camp By Suzanne Lieurance (Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2009, 160 pp., $14.95, paperback) Twelve-year-old Harry Yakamoto lives for baseball. Growing up in Cedar Grove, a small town in Central California with only a handful of Japanese Americans, his peers do not allow Harry and […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: The tragic and engaging activist Sam Hohri

Like many other people, I was saddened by the news of William Minoru Hohri’s passing. I greatly respected his achievements in organizing the forces for Japanese American redress, and his various other contributions to racial justice in the United States. I was interested to read the various memorial tributes. One element that seemed absent from […]

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