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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The History and Legacy of “Ragtag” Plantation Kids Who Became National Champion Swimmers

My favorite southern California bookstore is in Santa Barbara. Although located in a commonplace strip mall on the outskirts of this picturesque, Spanish-themed resort community, Chaucer’s Bookstore is an enchanted place. This is in part owing to its employees, who are not only lovers of people and books, but also dedicated to nurturing a fruitful relationship between them. But this independent bookstore’s enchantment is due as well to the cosmopolitan makeup of its stock, which goes well beyond the standard-issue best-selling fiction and non-fiction books typifying most chain bookstores. Consequently, I rarely visit Chaucer’s without going home ...

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San Jose Japantown ‘Stand(s) on Giants’ Shoulders

While perusing this beautiful and bountiful 470-page tome affording its lucky readers a temporal, spatial, and sociocultural journey relative to San Jose’s Japantown, I reflected upon my personal journey regarding this historic place. It was secured by my reading of Stephen Misawa, ed., Beginnings: Japanese Americans in San Jose (1981) and Timothy J. Lukes and Gary Y. Okihiro, Japanese Legacy: Farming and Community Life in California’s Santa Clara Valley (1985). It was humanized by my oral history fieldwork with Kibei Harry Ueno, major dissenter in the Manzanar Revolt of December 5-6, 1942; Kibei Yuriko Amemiya Kikuchi, celebrated dancer ...

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‘Consequential’ and ‘Transformative’ Study of Crystal City’s WWII Incarceration

During World War II there existed eight Department of Justice-administered internment camps. Three states had a single facility: Montana (Fort Missoula Internment Camp); North Dakota (Fort Lincoln Internment Camp); and Idaho (Kooskia Internment Camp). Each are represented by a book: Carol Van Valkenburg, An Alien Place: The Fort Missoula, Montana, Detention Camp 1941-1944 (1996); John Christgau, Enemies: World War II Alien Internment (1985); and Priscilla Wegars, Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp (2010).

One state, New Mexico, housed two DOJ camps: the Santa Fe Internment Camp and the Fort Stanton Internment ...

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HATSUMI: One Grandmother’s Journey through the Japanese Canadian Internment

The World War II exclusion and detention experience of Japanese Americans is now fairly widely familiar, at least in general terms, to many within the United States. Their knowledge of this particular subject has been broadened and deepened progressively since the 1970s through a veritable media avalanche of historical representations served up by writers, filmmakers, dramatists, artists, oral historians, bloggers, and many others. However, it is quite apparent that this development has not occurred―even for Japanese Americans―with respect to the parallel yet somewhat different (and arguably more dire) WWII wartime experience of Canadians of Japanese descent.

When compared ...

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The ‘Invented Fiction’ of the Model Minority and the Controversy Behind the JA Creed

These books by Ellen Wu and Kristin Hass both assess a contested facet of Japanese American studies from a comparative perspective; and both are judiciously conceptualized, skillfully organized, soundly argued, lucidly written, and bountifully documented.

Fortuitously, their chronological spans (Wu, 1940s–1960s; Hass, 1982–2004) are sufficiently contiguous to warrant reviewing them jointly. Moreover, by jettisoning their non-Japanese American sections (in Wu, the Chinese American model minority experience; in Hass, three of the four war memorials built in the past three decades on the National Mall in Washington), this review can concentrate on connecting Wu’s analysis of the Japanese ...

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