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

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Hiroyuki Matsugen Matsumoto — Preserving the stories of Nikkei in Hawaii

Movie producer Hiroyuki Matsugen Matsumoto’s 2021 documentary, Okagesama de - Hawaii Nikkei Women’s Trajectory is his latest effort to preserve and tell the stories of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. This follows Go for Broke! Memories of Hawaii Japanese Nisei which was completed in 2012. These two films describe the journey of Japanese immigrants from hardship and triumph to their lasting influence on Hawaiian and American culture.

Interviewed via email, Matsumoto wrote that he was born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1964 and raised in Gifu Prefecture, where he worked as a copywriter, TV commercial planner, and video producer for an advertising …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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