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Silk

Chapter Ten—Lost Samurai

Naomi Hirahara


Silk

Chapter Nine—Pickles and the Promised Land

Naomi Hirahara

Matsugoro Ohto wiped the sweat off of his forehead as he and his fellow carpenter, Kuninosuke “Kuni” Masumizu, took a break from their woodworking project inside the Veerkamp family’s barn on Gold Hill. Led by the family’s German patriarch, Francis, the Veerkamps were plentiful. By last count, Matsugoro thought that …

Silk

Chapter Eight—Death of the Mulberry Tree

Naomi Hirahara

Keiko Shinshi hadn’t been feeling well for days. 

Silk

Chapter Seven—A Night in San Francisco

Naomi Hirahara

Among the Japan-born Wakamatsu colonists, Makoto and Kuni were the strongest English speakers. As a result, when the colony’s founder, John Henry Schnell, announced that he would be taking a trip to San Francisco to meet with some Japanese envoys, as well as do research into future agricultural exhibitions, he …

Silk

Chapter Six—Okei: Star Stories

Naomi Hirahara

Okei Ito hated mosquitos. In the California inaka, they seemed to swarm everywhere, breeding in water collected in surrounding ditches. In these same ditches, old miners, still fueled by the twenty-year-old dream of striking it rich, spent hours panning for gold.

Silk

Chapter Five—Kuninosuke Masumizu: Lightning in a Bottle

Naomi Hirahara

“Kuni, place your bet,” the miner said, first in English and then in his native Portuguese.

Silk

Chapter Four—Kintaro and the Magic Koi

Naomi Hirahara

Serve the shogun with single-minded devotion. 

Silk

Chapter Three—Neko-chan

Naomi Hirahara

Nozomi chased her black cat through the fields of Wakamatsu Colony in Gold Hill. She still was not allowed to bring the cat inside of their home. “Kitanai,” her mother said, pushing Neko-chan out with the ends of a straw broom.

Silk

Chapter Two—Wheelbarrow Wars

Naomi Hirahara

Shinshi-san went into her second bedroom, the one filled with mulberry leaves, and checked on the status of her silkworms. Hundreds of white skinny caterpillars, thinner than her pinkie finger, had devoured thick layers of leaves that she had laid out last night. It amazed her that these creatures could …

Silk

Chapter One—Jou Schnell: Keeping House

Naomi Hirahara

Jou Schnell looked out her window of her small four-room, wood-framed house on Gold Hill. Through the walnut trees, dappled light streamed onto the dew-covered grass, a common sight during the last days of summer in California.

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About

Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award-winning author of two mystery series set in Los Angeles. Her Mas Arai series, which features a Hiroshima survivor and gardener, has been translated into Japanese, Korean and French. Her first Mas Arai novel, SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI, is currently being developed into an independent film. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper and curator of historical exhibitions, she has also published noir short stories, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction books, including TERMINAL ISLAND: LOST COMMUNITIES OF LOS ANGELES and two biographies for the Japanese American National Museum, including AN AMERICAN SON: THE STORY OF GEORGE ARATANI, FOUNDER OF MIKASA AND KENWOOD. Co-written with Heather Lindquist, a book on the struggles of Japanese Americans after being released from Manzanar concentration camp (LIFE AFTER MANZANAR) was published by Heyday Books in 2018. Her seventh and final Mas Arai mystery, HIROSHIMA BOY, was released the same year. Set to be released in September 2019, her new mystery, ICED IN PARADISE, will follow the adventures of Leilani Santiago, who operates her family’s shave ice business in Kaua’i. She received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns
  • language

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