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

education en

Historian ‘illuminates’ JA history

In Kenji Taguma’s resplendent foreword to this latest of historian Greg Robinson’s cavalcade of exemplary volumes devoted to illuminating the Japanese American experience, he rightly observes that The Great Unknown is a work that “epitomizes the importance of the community press in preserving history.” Of course, had Taguma and his allied supporters within the Nichi Bei Foundation not labored so mightily and resourcefully to keep alive the most venerable of the Japanese American community newspapers, the columns underpinning Robinson’s book in all likelihood would never have been written. Now then, with this backdrop in place, let me ...

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education en

Changing Season: A Father, A Daughter, A Family Farm

In the mid-1980s, while researching the World War II incarceration experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry at the Gila River Relocation Center in south central Arizona, I discovered a brief yet very enlightening 1982 autobiographical volume on this subject by David Mas Masumoto. Entitled Distant Voices: A Sansei’s Journey to Gila River, it was self-published by the 28-year-old author-agriculturalist under the aegis of the Inaka Countryside Press in Del Rey, Calif. (20 miles south of Fresno). Five years later another book by Masumoto, bearing the same imprint, commanded my rapt attention: Country Voices: The Oral History of a Japanese ...

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culture en

An “Immersion” Into Terminal Island Nikkei Lives

As an oral historian, I have always been addicted to reading obituaries, especially those relating to the World War II Japanese American experience. For example, a recent transfixing obituary for me was that devoted to 97-year-old Kazuko Kuwabara (1918–2016) in the December 7, 2016 issue of the Los Angeles Times.

There were two reasons for my interest in this particular death notice. First, it directly pertained to the book under review here, since Kuwabara was a Kibei-Nisei born in Los Angeles, who after being schooled in Wakayama, Japan, returned to Southern California to live out the pre-WWII years with ...

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culture en

A “Powerful” (and “Critical”) Case for the Asian American Movement

In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which prompted the U.S. government to imprison 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry (two-thirds U.S. citizens) in concentration camps, a double-edged protest march was staged on the night of December 7, 2016, in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo community. Among the protestors was 80-year-old Sansei activist Jim Matsuoka, who at age seven was impounded with his family and 10,000 other Japanese Americans at eastern California’s Manzanar, one of 10 War Relocation Authority (WRA)-administered World War II Nikkei concentration camps. Like the other ...

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war en

Author Pays Forward Japanese American Legacy of Resistance

In his essay for a 1999 Mike Mackey-edited anthology, Remembering Heart Mountain, Lane Hirabayashi cautions Japanese American incarceration scholars not to over-generalize about Japanese American “resistance” to oppression within the War Relocation Authority-administered concentration camps. However, he then quickly subdues this prudent warning by declaring: “My reading of the archival record confirms, repeatedly … the frequency and tenacity of resistance on multiple occasions and multiple levels.” Four years earlier, in his edited volume of Richard Nishimoto’s writings pertaining to World War II resistance activity at the Poston detention camp in Arizona, Inside an American Concentration Camp, Hirabayashi explored, extended, and ...

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