The place occupied by Japanese Americans within the annals of United States history often begins and ends with their cameo appearance as victims of incarceration after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In this provocative work, David K. Yoo broadens the scope of Japanese American history to examine how the second generation—the Nisei—shaped its identity and negotiated its place within American society.
Tracing the emergence of a dynamic Nisei subculture, Yoo shows how the foundations laid during the 1920s and 1930s helped many Nisei adjust to the upheaval of the concentration camps. Schools, racial-ethnic churches, and the immigrant press served not merely as waystations to assimilation but as tools by which Nisei affirmed their identity in connection with both Japanese and American culture. The Nisei who came of age during World War II formed identities while negotiating complexities of race, gender, class, generation, economics, politics, and international relations.
A thoughtful consideration of the gray area between accommodation and resistance, Growing Up Nisei reveals the struggles and humanity of a forgotten generation of Japanese Americans.