Nikkei History Meets Multi-generational Family Memoir


Although its publisher markets Looking after Minidoka as a “memoir,” this volume can lay equal claim to being a “history.” It is, in fact, the superlative fusion of these two genres that accounts for the most fundamental value and utility of this richly documented, exquisitely composed, and diversely illustrated work ...

‘Masterpiece’ Traces Battles Nikkei Fought for Justice


On the dust jacket of this volume, I am quoted as pronouncing it to be “a substantial contribution to Japanese American historiography and collective memory.” That reserved opinion was based upon my reading of the penultimate manuscript draft that University of Hawai‘i Professor Eileen Tamura revised into In Defense ...

Viewing Seattle's Nikkei Community through Multiple Lenses


During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Seattle was the West Coast’s most populated Japanese American city. However, in the subsequent years prior to World War II, both Japanese San Francisco and Japanese Los Angeles not only surpassed the then-nicknamed Queen City in numbers, but also overshadowed ...

Memories of a Colleague and Friend: Karin Higa


On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 30, 2013, four current Japanese American National Museum (JANM) staff members and one past staffer emailed me about the death on the previous day of 47-year-old Karin Higa, the museum’s longtime and highly esteemed former senior curator.

A Stirring Memoir of Adolescent Manzanar Stories Weaved With Senior Hiking Adventures


My first trip of many to the World War II Manzanar concentration camp site occurred in the spring of 1972. On that occasion I accompanied my California State University, Fullerton, Nisei colleague, Kinji Yada, on his personal pilgrimage to the place in eastern California’s Owens Valley where, as a ...

A Historical Anthology on Redress


In the 2011 PAN-JAPAN special issue NEGLECTED LEGACIES: Japanese American Women and the Redress/Reparations Movement, guest editor Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, an Asian American studies professor at UCLA (where he is also the George & Sakaye Aratani chair in Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community), acknowledges that in (resourcefully) editing the ...

Asian American Movement Study Showcases U.S. Cultural Radicalism’s Robust Tradition


At California State University, Fullerton, I taught history, Asian American studies and American studies courses. My favorite was an American studies offering developed in the mid-1970s: “American Cultural Radicalism.” If now teaching it, I assuredly would assign Daryl Maeda’s Chains of Babylon. The best study on the Asian American ...

Foreword to Nurse of Manzanar - Part 3 of 3


Read Part 2 >> As a historian who has spent the better part of the last four decades researching, teaching, and doing fieldwork and writing on the World War II Japanese American story, I also find Nurse of Manzanar to possess social value in regards to how it helps to fill ...

Foreword to Nurse of Manzanar - Part 2 of 3


Read Part 1 >> I would like to enter one final comment about the intrinsic merit of Toshiko Eto Nakamura’s manuscript before changing gears to consider its social value. It can be plausibly argued that the memoir is too narrowly focused in its chronological scope. To be sure, the author ...

Foreword to Nurse of Manzanar - Part 1 of 3


Whenever I encounter a memoir such as that at the heart of Nurse of Manzanar: A Japanese American’s World War II Journey, I instinctively assay its strengths and shortcomings by viewing it through a flexible template composed of two basic questions: 1) Does the author create an interesting and ...

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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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