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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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 tempestuous period of World War II when Japanese was an enemy language.” She then proceeds to say that particularly the “No-No’s” within the Kibei population, owing to prejudice, have been silenced, and follows up this shrewd observation with a ringing declaration: “The stories of these men must not remain ...

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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 this book touches a (wo)man.” A resident of Orange County’s Huntington Beach and a passionate advocate of historic preservation, the perfervid desire of Urashima to preserve significant historical structures and sites derives not from her being a fusty antiquarian, but rather from her envisioning preservation as a progressive ...

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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 slumbering in his seat on a political campaign plane flying from Las Vegas to Los Angeles when a fellow passenger, Republican vice presidential candidate Spiro Agnew, gestured toward him and inquired, “What’s the matter with the fat Jap?”

Charged with insensitivity, Agnew responded that he had long known Oishi ...

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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 famed crops,” primarily orchard fruits and berries (p. 13). Clearly, and thankfully, Tsu’s scholarship for her first book did not materialize within a socio-cultural vacuum; rather, it was deeply rooted in and nurtured by her personal, family, and community experience.

When in the 1980s Tsu and her Asian American ...

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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 at a September 1987 conference held at the University of California, Berkeley, to reassess the World War II work of the (Japanese American) Evacuation and Resettlement Study; and the oral history interview I transacted with Kikuchi in Rhode Island at his family’s Block Island vacation home in August 1988 ...

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