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 ...

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


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 ...

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.

Stimulating an Appreciation of America’s Diverse History and Cultures Through Preservation


The most fitting way I can think of to begin this review of Mary Adams Urashima’s Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, is to appropriate and slightly modify what the great American poet Walt Whitman said in relation to his most notable poetic volume, Leaves of Grass (1855): “Whoever touches ...

Exploring the Wartime Kibei-Nisei Struggles


“What I have attempted to introduce in (Show Me the Way Home),” writes Takako Day in the preface to her brilliant, bold, highly significant, if rather sprawling book, “are the lives and the struggles of Japanese-speaking Japanese Americans (known as ‘Kibei Nisei,’ a minority within a minority) who survived the ...

A Young Nisei’s Life, Reimagined


I knew of Gene Oishi, the Nisei author of Fox Drum Bebop, well before I actually met him. This was because in 1968 he became implicated in a national (even international) cause célèbre for his victimization in a high-profile racist episode. Then a Baltimore Sun reporter, Oishi was ...

The Fruits of Santa Clara Valley’s Asian Laborers


As Cecilia Tsu tells readers in her cogent introduction, its underlying purpose is “recovering the intertwined history of the Santa Clara Valley (in California) when it was known as the Garden of the World (1880-1940) along with the history of the Asian immigrants (Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) who farmed its ...

An Intimate Look at the Life of ‘An American with a Japanese Face’


It is rare that I find myself reviewing a book on a friend of mine authored by still another friend, but that is the case with Matt Briones’ Charles Kikuchi-centered cultural history Jim and Jap Crow. My friendship with Kikuchi revolved around two events: our participation on a controversial panel ...

Nisei Revisits Her Wartime Past Through Watercolors


Through a sophisticated blend of artwork, prose, and photographic images, plus an assortment of other useful illustrative materials, Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey has crafted in Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp what is assuredly among the very most exquisite, insightful, and candid memoirs of the World War II Japanese American ...

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Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he retired in 2008 as the director of the Center for Oral and Public History. Between 2001 and 2005, he served as Senior Historian at the Japanese American National Museum.


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