Takako Day

Takako Day, originally from Kobe, Japan, is an award-winning freelance writer and independent researcher who has published seven books and hundreds of articles in the Japanese and English languages. Her latest book, SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME: The Moral Dilemma of Kibei No No Boys in World War Two Incarceration Camps is her first book in English. 

Relocating from Japan to Berkeley in 1986 and working as a reporter at the Nichibei Times in San Francisco first opened Day’s eyes to social and cultural issues in multicultural America. Since then, she has written from the perspective of a cultural minority for more than 30 years on such subjects as Japanese and Asian American issues in San Francisco, Native American issues in South Dakota (where she lived for seven years) and most recently (since 1999), the history of little known Japanese Americans in pre-war Chicago. Her piece on Michitaro Ongawa is born of her love of Chicago.

Updated December 2016

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Hiroichiro Maedako’s Chicago - Part 2

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3. Suicidal temptations and rebirth

By June 1909, having lost hope and with no meaning to his life, Maedako attempted to commit suicide four times.1 Ten years later, he reported that the experience was like being a gecko on the walls of hell, given six dollars a week, hanging upside down with his tail in the air, and staring into the depths of the abyss.2 He bought a pistol and looked into trying to shoot himself but could not do it. Then he went to Gary, Indiana, and rented a boat to row out onto ...

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Hiroichiro Maedako’s Chicago - Part 1

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, once proclaimed “America’s most influential proletarian novel,”1 was translated into the Japanese language by proletariat writer Hiroichiro Maedako and published for the first time in Japan in 1925. In a letter dated October 12, 1925 that appeared in the book, Sinclair told Maedako: “I shall be very glad indeed to give you the right to translate and publish The Jungle in Japan, for the period of five years.” According to the letter, Sinclair had previously given permission to translate and publish the novel to a man named Yasotaro Morri at Kokusai News Agency ...

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The Chicago Shoyu Story—Shinsaku Nagano and the Japanese Entrepreneurs - Part 3

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6. Shoyu forever

In August 1907, the year that the Takeda store came to Chicago, the Japanese YMCA, which was later directed by Rev. Misaki Shimazu, opened a dormitory for Japanese students at 3036 Groveland Avenue.1 Komataro Katataye, another minister who was educated at the University of Chicago like Shimazu, had converted his home at 2938 Prairie to a lodging called the Japanese Mission Home for Japanese students in 1906. The Japanese Mission Home later grew to become the Japanese Christian Association at 4352 Cottage Grove, which was run by Shigeji Tani and had lodging facilities ...

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The Chicago Shoyu Story—Shinsaku Nagano and the Japanese Entrepreneurs - Part 2

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3. Shoyu manufacturers in Chicago: Shinsaku Nagano 

Hiroichiro Maedako, a socialist writer who lived in Chicago from 1907 to 1915, described Japanese production of shoyu in Chicago in his novel, Dai Bohu-U Jidai as follows. “Do you know that guy, Kimura? He has an office downtown and is in the food business. Kimura says he has good news and asks me, ‘don’t you want in on this?’ A lot of Japanese shoyu is now being sold in the US, but he says that shoyu can easily be made without using soybeans. To make a long story ...

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The Chicago Shoyu Story—Shinsaku Nagano and the Japanese Entrepreneurs - Part 1

1. Introduction

In a short story titled “On January First” in his book, American Story, Kafu Nagai depicted a Japanese immigrant in New York who declined to eat a Japanese feast with his countrymen. His reason for declining was that Japanese food reminded him of his poor mother who had died in misery. How painful it is to imagine the depth of sorrow of a person who had to distance himself from his family history by abandoning Japanese food.

Did he mean to reject even “comfort taste” such as shoyu? Shoyu has the magical power to change the taste of ...

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