Esther Newman

Esther Newman recently moved back to her hometown of Encinitas, California. After college and a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she returned to school to study twentieth century American history. While in graduate school, she became interested in her family’s history and now plans to continue independent research on topics affecting the Japanese Diaspora including internment, migration and assimilation.

Updated July 2010

culture en

Artistry in Armor: An Interview with Darin S. Furukawa, Artist, Educator, and Samurai Arts Specialist

Darin S. Furukawa and Mike Yamasaki are co-curators Japanese American National Museum’s new exhibit for the  month of August, Jidai: Timeless Works of Samurai Art. Together, they are preserving and passing along an appreciation for traditional Japanese culture. 

Responding to emailed questions, Darin shared his perspectives on the exhibit.

1) How did you gain expertise in Japanese swords? A brief bio, please.

I am actually more familiar with samurai armor than swords, but I consider myself still very much a student of both. I graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Art History, with a significant amount …

Read more

culture en

Paying Culture Forward: Passing on the Traditions of Japanese Art Swords

What separates a Japanese art sword from any manufactured metal-bladed weapon? An extraordinary level of craftsmanship, artistry, and specific techniques that are carefully passed along from generation to generation—in other words, tradition.

Mike Yamasaki has made it his life’s work to transmit the understanding of and appreciation for traditional Japanese art swords. He’s a world renowned expert and master appraiser of samurai swords, which requires a sharp eye and broad knowledge of Japanese history and culture. In fact, Mike is the only non-Japanese citizen to ever win the appraisal competition at a Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozonkai (NBTHK, Society for the …

Read more

culture en

My Grandfather’s Lasting Legacy: A New Chapter for Museo Amano and the Nikkei Community in Lima, Peru

My grandfather, led an exceptional life that has been detailed in numerous publications including several multi-part articles and video interviews here at

Born in Japan in 1898, he was a businessman, scientist, inventor, world traveler, and “enemy alien,” imprisoned without charge on December 7, 1941, as a Japanese civilian living near the Panama Canal. He published an account of his ordeal after repatriation to Japan in 1942 when he was reunited with his four children and his sister. For most people, family life, writing, and managing several businesses would provide more than enough material to build a lasting …

Read more

war en

Japanese American National Museum Store Online

After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics - Dr. Greg Robinson

The wartime roundup and removal from the West Coast of 120,000 American citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry has generated an enormous literature, including important contributions from Dr. Greg Robinson. But the postwar period of resettlement and renewal of Japanese American communities, largely unstudied, is also compelling and deserving of attention. Robinson, Professor of History at l’Université du Québec À Montréal, has just published the first in-depth look at this period in After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics.


Through a series of essays grouped into five broad thematic sections, After Camp examines the …

Read more

media en ja

Farewell to Manzanar—DVD Introduces Film to a New Generation

The Actors’ Perspective

Farewell to Manzanar, adapted from the memoir that Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston penned with her husband, James D. Houston, tells the story of the injustice suffered by 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II by focusing on a single family, the Wakatsukis, as seen through the eyes of seven year old Jeanne. It was directed by Oscar and Emmy award winning director, John Korty, and featured an almost entirely Japanese American cast and crew.

Farewell to Manzanar had a profound impact on viewers when it was originally telecast on NBC in 1976 but the movie also had lasting effects on …

Read more