Nichi Bei Weekly

The Nichi Bei Weekly, published by the Nichi Bei Foundation, rose out of the ashes of the historic legacy of the Nichi Bei Shimbun (1899-1942) and Nichi Bei Times (1946-2009) as the first nonprofit ethnic community newspaper of its kind in the country. It has been published in San Francisco’s Japantown since September of 2009.

Updated April 2018

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Deconstructing intersections of Asian America

Up until 2004, I was a mere (and rather unreflective) spectator to taiko drumming. However, that year I fortuitously became involved as an oral historian in a Japanese American National Museum-sponsored project that culminated in a 2005-2006 exhibition at JANM titled Big Drum: Taiko in the U.S. Curated by Sojin Kim, it featured a new documentary DVD of the same name that included parts of the exhibition media installations as well performances by various taiko groups and videotaped interviews with key taiko leaders and practitioners.

The exhibition’s July 13, 2005, opening, according to a June 2006 Masumi Izumi ...

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A ‘Family-themed Inquiry’ into the ‘Wages of War’

This book by Matthew Elms is a heart-rending Japanese American family-themed inquiry into the dismaying “wages of war.” It is published by the American Battle Monuments Commission, a national government agency charged with the maintenance of 27 cemeteries worldwide that honor more than 200,000 Americans who lost their lives in the military service of their country during World War I and World War II. Consistent with the ABMC’s mission, Elms wrote When the Akimotos Went to War “to highlight the true story of one Japanese American family for young adults” (p. 146).

As a teacher in the commission ...

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Heart and Courage: A Nisei Veteran’s Story

As a visit to almost any American new or used bookstore will quickly confirm, military history is an exceedingly popular genre of literature. This is particularly the case as it pertains to World War II, including that of the heroic role played by Japanese American troops. For the most part, the particular role that has commanded primary attention in this connection has been the exploits of the segregated 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the 552nd Field Artillery Battalion in the European Theater. More recently, however, long overdue notice is increasingly being accorded the valorous efforts of ...

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The Irony of Nikkei Citizenship During Mass Incarceration

Each spring semester, my wife, a professor in the online Information School at San José State University, team-teaches a course entitled “History of the Book.” One class assignment has students produce a historical paper about a local library of their choice. Since many of the students are from West Coast areas, often these papers deal with libraries serving communities whose Japanese American residents were uprooted and incarcerated during World War II. Had one of my wife’s past students opted to focus on the Redwood City Public Library, this person likely would have devoted some space to discussing its Karl ...

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Reconceptualizing the narrative of American art

I have always been intrigued by the titles authors select to represent their books, and most especially if they are as deftly apt as that ShiPu Wang has devised for the volume under review. Whereas the designation American moderns has customarily been used to depict such canonical white artists as Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and John Marin (1870-1953), Wang devotes his critical attention to four American moderns of Japanese ancestry: Frank Matsura (1873-1913), Eitaro Ishigaki (1893-1958), Hideo Noda (1908-1939) and Miki Hayakawa (1899-1953). He resourcefully and strategically uses this quartet of “forgotten” minority artists ...

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