Naomi Hirahara

Naomi Hirahara is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Kibei Nisei gardener and atomic-bomb survivor who solves crimes, Officer Ellie Rush series, and now the new Leilani Santiago mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, she has written a number of nonfiction books on the Japanese American experience and several 12-part serials for Discover Nikkei.

Updated October 2019

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Historias nikkei de Oshogatsu 2017 - Parte 1

En nuestro boletín electrónico del mes de enero, Discover Nikkei publicó un aviso solicitando historias de Oshogatsu. Habíamos pedido a nuestros lectores nikkei de todo el mundo que nos muestren, a través de fotografías y palabras, cómo dieron la bienvenida al Año Nuevo. Hemos recibido varias historias en inglés, japonés y portugués. Una de ellas, escrita por Justin Inahara (inglés), era tan larga que tuvimos que publicarla de forma separada. El resto de historias están reunidas a continuación para que tengan el placer de leerlas. ¡Disfrútenlas ...

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Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter Two—The Curse of Mottainai – Part 1

While many post-World War II Japanese families were all about discarding old tansu and kimono, my mother closely held to the value of mottainai, that it was a disgrace to throw something away before its time. In other words, as long as an object had not completely disintegrated, she was against throwing it away.

We were from a small town, Minamiawaji, on Awaji island in Hyōgo prefecture. Our family house was an old wood-framed structure that should have been torn down years ago because of termites and its exposure to the elements. But my parents continued to live there, along ...

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Ten Days of Cleanup

Chapter One—The Contract

“Hello, Souji RS. Hiroko speaking.”

I held my cell phone to my ear as I defrosted some natto in the microwave. My 10-year-old daughter Sycamore’s lunch break was in a few minutes and she had 50 minutes before her next Zoom session.

“Are you the cleaning service?” The voice on the other line was male, low without any warmth. He sounded American, which meant he could have been any race or ethnicity.

“Ah, I provide a soul cleansing and past erasing service.” That was the tagline that I had devised after taking a free online branding course.

No response ...

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Silk

Chapter Twelve—A Japanese Girl

For the past two days, Okei’s teeth chattered, all day and all night. It was as if a spirit had entered her body and she had no control over it.

“I don’t want to die here, Sakurai ojisan,” she said to her constant companion, Matsunosuke “Mats” Sakurai.

Both of them had joined the Veerkamp household after the Schnells had disappeared. Since Francis and Louisa had so many young children, Okei was supposed to help lighten the matriarch’s load. As it turned out, Okei fell seriously ill with a high fever, creating an additional burden for the family ...

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Silk

Chapter Eleven—In the Dark Night

The sounds of the explosions seemed to get louder every day. Kintaro felt his whole body shake as the booms seemed close to shattering his ear drums.

His roommate, Makoto, had disappeared in the night. There was no one to retrieve him from his dark thoughts. He was afraid to sleep because he didn’t want to be caught off-guard. That’s what happened in the Boshin War. He had closed his eyes for a few minutes and then—BAM! A projectile tore through the castle walls and killed his sister and his mother.

Who had been responsible for such ...

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