Esther Newman

Esther Newman recently moved back to her hometown of Encinitas, California. After college and a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she returned to school to study twentieth century American history. While in graduate school, she became interested in her family’s history and now plans to continue independent research on topics affecting the Japanese Diaspora including internment, migration and assimilation.

Updated July 2010

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The Morey Family: A Self-Guided Walking Tour through Little Tokyo History

Four generations of the Morey family have been a part of Little Tokyo’s business community. Three generations of the Morey family have also been a part of the Japanese American National Museum, since its inception nearly thirty years ago. In fact, much of the Morey family history has taken place within a two-block stroll, west, from the Museum plaza.

1. Your tour starts on the broad steps of JANM’s 85,000 square-foot pavilion designed by Gyo Obata who is also principal architect of the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

2. Walk west to the third ...

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Farewell to Manzanar—DVD Introduces Film to a New Generation

An interview with John Korty, director of "Farewell To Manzanar"

          “I was always out to change the world...”

John Korty’s remarkable success in the film industry—an Oscar and two Emmys among numerous film awards—doesn’t mean he’s “gone Hollywood.” The director of Farewell to Manzanar has consistently chosen projects focused on themes of social justice from very early in his career. Anti-war activism, racism, the civil rights movement, and adoption of special needs children are just some of the issues Korty’s examined in film.

Farewell to Manzanar, adapted from the novel by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston, tells the story of a Japanese American ...

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Farewell to Manzanar—DVD Introduces Film to a New Generation

Timeless and Timely

Nearly seventy years have passed since the first busload of Japanese Americans arrived at Manzanar, forced from their coastal California homes to spend the duration of World War II behind barbed wire and beneath the gaze of armed soldiers perched in perimeter guard towers. The incarceration of 120,000 American citizens and residents based solely on their Japanese ancestry is a painful chapter in U.S. history. Even now, it’s a subject about which many don’t know, others don’t want to know, and yet, more than ever, everyone needs to know. That’s what makes the release ...

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Henry and Helen Yasuda: Family Values, Nikkei Values - Part 2

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Only a few days after Henry and Helen’s wedding ceremony, Henry left for Korea where he was stationed for eight months before transfer back to headquarters in Tokyo. Helen joined him there. “The first chance we had,” said Henry, “I took her to Yamaguchi where my parents were still living and introduced her.” Helen drolly remarked, “you know how Japanese mothers size up their son’s wives.” “She took her through the whole village, introducing her,” replied Henry. “She had no other choice!” laughed Helen.

Henry worked in Tokyo for ten years as a Federal Procurement ...

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Henry and Helen Yasuda: Family Values, Nikkei Values - Part 1

Yamato Damashi translates to “Japanese Spirit.” It’s painted in calligraphy on a scroll that hangs in the home of Henry and Helen Yasuda, a reminder of the Japanese cultural values that have sustained them throughout the years—doing one’s best, putting family first, a commitment to education, and expressing gratitude. The Yasudas are among the longest serving volunteers at the Japanese American National Museum, and have shared their knowledge with visitors since the Museum’s grand opening in 1992. Through JANM and organizations such as Nikkei Parents’ Day Coalition which named them Nikkei Parents of the Year in ...

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