David Mas Masumoto

David Mas Masumoto is the owner of Masumoto Family Farms, an organic farm in Fresno, California, and the author of several books. He has won several awards in business and for his writing. He is currently a board member of the James Irvine Foundation and was appointed a member of the National Council on the Arts by President Obama in 2013.

Updated July 2013 

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A Bitter Harvest: Inside Japanese American Internment Camps During World War II

*This article originally appeared on Modern Farmer on October 13, 2015.

The summer of 1942 was hot, like most summers in central California. But that year the politics of war had boiled over into fear, hatred, and racism. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in December 1941, hysteria ran rampant, as people panicked about a perceived invasion, and authorities warned of “the enemy within.” The easy targets were Americans of Japanese ancestry, including tens of thousands born in the United States whose parents had immigrated decades earlier. Like my family.

The Masumotos labored as hired hands, then went home to ...

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Mixed Marriages

My wife and I were married almost 30 years ago. Her family was white, from solid Wisconsin German stock. I was a Japanese American from California. I didn’t think of our marriage as being that much out of the ordinary, but according to a Pew Research Center study, we were part of only 6.7% of new marriages that were interracial in the 1980s.

Flash forward to today. One in seven new marriages is interracial. The rate has more than doubled to 14.6% of new marriages. And more importantly, attitudes are changing.

Just 15 years before I was ...

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'Sukiyaki'—My American song

The summer of ‘63. Fundamental political and social changes swept across our nation. Civil rights battles overflowed into the streets. Confrontations and killings sparked racial unrest. A Baptist church was bombed in Alabama, killing four young girls. At the March on Washington rally, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled school-sponsored prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. The Viet Cong claimed their first battle victory over South Vietnamese and American forces.

And the top musical hit that summer was sung in a foreign language. Not in Spanish. Richie Valens’ “La ...

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