There have been many studies on the forced relocation and internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. But An Absent Presence is the first to focus on how popular representations of this unparalleled episode in U.S. history affected the formation of Cold War culture. Caroline Chung Simpson shows how the portrayal of this economic and social disenfranchisement haunted—and even shaped—the expression of American race relations and national identity throughout the middle of the twentieth century. Simpson argues that when popular journals or social theorists engaged the topic of Japanese American history or identity in the Cold War era they did so in a manner that tended to efface or diminish the complexity of their political and historical experience. As a result, the shadowy figuration of Japanese American identity often took on the semblance of an “absent presence.” Individual chapters feature such topics as the case of the alleged Tokyo Rose, the Hiroshima Maidens Project, and Japanese war brides. Drawing on issues of race, gender, and nation, Simpson connects the internment episode to broader themes of postwar American culture, including the atomic bomb, McCarthyism, the crises of racial integration, and the anxiety over middle-class gender roles. By recapturing and reexamining these vital flashpoints in the projection of Japanese American identity, Simpson fills a critical and historical void in a number of fields including Asian American studies, American studies, and Cold War history.
Nearly fifty years after being incarcerated by their own government, Japanese American concentration camp survivors succeeded in obtaining redress for the personal humiliation, family dislocation, and economic ruin caused by their ordeal. An inspiring story of wrongs made right as well as a practical guide to getting legislation through Congress, Achieving the Impossible Dream tells how members of this politically inexperienced minority group organized themselves at the grass-roots level, gathered political support, and succeeded in obtaining a written apology from the president of the United States and monetary compensation in accordance with the provisions of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act.
Duncan Ryūken Williams reveals the little-known story of how, in the darkest hours of World War II when Japanese Americans were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, a community of Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.
A movement for "Americanization" swept the nation during and after World War I, fueled by wartime hysteria over "foreign" ways. Eileen Tamura examines the forms that hysteria took in Hawaii, where the Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) were targets of widespread discrimination.
Tamura analyzes Hawaii's organized effort to force the Nisei to adopt
"American" ways, discussing it within the larger phenomenon of Nisei acculturation. While racism was prevalent in "paradise," the Nisei and their parents also performed as active agents in their own lives, with the older generation attempting to maintain Japanese cultural ways and the younger wishing to become "true Americans." Caucasian "Americanizers," often associated with powerful agricultural interests, wanted labor to remain cheap and manageable; they lobbied for racist laws and territorial policies, portending the treatment of ethnic Japanese on the U.S. mainland during World War II.
Tamura offers a wealth of original source material, using personal accounts as well as statistical data to create an essential resource for students of American ethnic history and U.S. race and class relations.
From 1942 to 1946, as America prepared for war, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly interned in harsh desert camps across the American west.
In Artifacts of Loss, Jane E. Dusselier looks at the lives of these internees through the lens of their art. These camp-made creations included flowers made with tissue paper and shells, wood carvings of pets left behind, furniture made from discarded apple crates, gardens grown next to their housingùanything to help alleviate the visual deprivation and isolation caused by their circumstances. Their crafts were also central in sustaining, re-forming, and inspiring new relationships. Creating, exhibiting, consuming, living with, and thinking about art became embedded in the everyday patterns of camp life and helped provide internees with sustenance for mental, emotional, and psychic survival.
Dusselier urges her readers to consider these often overlooked folk crafts as meaningful political statements which are significant as material forms of protest and as representations of loss. She concludes briefly with a discussion of other displaced people around the globe today and the ways in which personal and group identity is reflected in similar creative ways.
Barbed Voices is an engaging anthology of the most significant published articles written by the well-known and highly respected historian of Japanese American history Arthur Hansen, updated and annotated for contemporary context. Featuring selected inmates and camp groups who spearheaded resistance movements in the ten War Relocation Authority–administered compounds in the United States during World War II, Hansen’s writing provides a basis for understanding why, when, where, and how some of the 120,000 incarcerated Japanese Americans opposed the threats to themselves, their families, their reference groups, and their racial-ethnic community.
What historically was benignly termed the “Japanese American Evacuation” was in fact a social disaster, which, unlike a natural disaster, is man-made. Examining the emotional implications of targeted systemic incarceration, Hansen highlights the psychological traumas that transformed Japanese American identity and culture for generations after the war. While many accounts of Japanese American incarceration rely heavily on government documents and analytic texts, Hansen’s focus on first-person Nikkei testimonies gathered through powerful oral history interviews gives expression to the resistance to this social disaster.
Analyzing the evolving historical memory of the effects of wartime incarceration, Barbed Voices presents a new scholarly framework of enduring value. It will be of interest to students and scholars of oral history, US history, public history, and ethnic studies as well as the general public interested in the WWII experience and civil rights.
By Order of the President
Greg ROBINSON Harvard University Press, 2001 Library of Congress D769.8.A6R63 2001 | Dewey Decimal 940.53089956073
On February 19, 1942, following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a fateful order that allowed for the summary removal of Japanese aliens and American citizens of Japanese descent from their West Coast homes and their incarceration under guard in camps. Amid the numerous histories and memoirs devoted to this shameful event, FDR's contributions have been seen as negligible. Now, using Roosevelt's own writings, his advisors' letters and diaries, and internal government documents, Greg Robinson reveals the president's central role in making and implementing the internment and examines not only what the president did but why.
Camp Nine: A Novel
Vivienne Schiffer University of Arkansas Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3619.C366C36 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the U.S. military to ban anyone from certain areas of the country, with primary focus on the West Coast. Eventually the order was used to imprison 120,000 people of Japanese descent in incarceration camps such as the Rohwer Relocation Center in remote Desha County, Arkansas. This time of fear and prejudice (the U.S. government formally apologized for the relocations in 1982) and the Arkansas Delta are the setting for Camp Nine. The novel's narrator, Chess Morton, lives in tiny Rook Arkansas. Her days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a "relocation" center built for what was, in effect, the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans. Chess's life becomes intertwined with those of two young internees and an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother's past. As Chess watches the struggles and triumphs of these strangers and sees her mother seek justice for the people who briefly and involuntarily came to call the Arkansas Delta their home, she discovers surprising and disturbing truths about her family's painful past.
Two collections by an important Asian American writer -- Camp Notes and Other Poeems and Desert Run: Poems and Stories -- return to print in one volume.
Mitsuye Yamada was born in Kyushu, Japan, and raised in Seattle, Washington, until the outbreak of World War II when her family was removed to a concentration camp in Idaho. Camp Notes and Other Writings recounts this experience.
Yamada's poetry yields a terse blend of emotions and imagery. Her twist of words creates a twist of vision that make her poetry come alive. The weight of her cultural experience-the pain of being perceived as an outsider all of her life-permeates her work.
Yamada's strength as a poet stems from the fact that she has managed to integrate both individual and collective aspects of her background, giving her poems a double impact. Her strong portrayal of individual and collective life experience stands out as a distinct thread in the fabric of contemporary literature by women.
"The core poems of Camp Notes and the title come from the notes I had taken when I was in camp, and it wasn’t published until thirty years after most of it was written. I was simply describing what was happening to me, and my thoughts. But, in retrospect, the collection takes on a kind of expanded meaning about that period in our history. As invariably happens, because Japanese American internment became such an issue in American history, I suppose I will be forever identified as the author of Camp Notes. Of course, I try to show that it’s not the only thing I ever did in my whole life; I did other things besides go to an internment camp during World War II. So, in some ways I keep producing to counteract that one image that gets set in the public mind. At the time that I was writing it, I wasn’t necessarily a political person. Now, when I reread it, even to myself, I think it probably has a greater warning about the dangers of being not aware, not aware of one’s own rights, not aware of helping other people who may be in trouble. I think that it does speak to our present age very acutely." -- Mitsuye Yamada, "You should not be invisible”: An Interview with Mitsuye Yamada, Contemporary Women's Writing, March 2014, Vol. 8 Issue 1
Read the whole interview at: https://academic.oup.com/cww/article/8/1/1/414906/You-should-not-be-invisible-An-Interview-with
Outstanding Book in History and Social Science Award, Association for Asian American Studies, 1992
"Okihiro's account is an important corrective to our understanding of the Japanese American Experience in World War II."
--The Hawaiian Journal of History
Challenging the prevailing view of Hawaii as a mythical "racial paradise," Gary Okihiro presents this history of a systematic anti-Japanese movement in the islands from the time migrant workers were brought to the sugar cane fields until the end of World War II. He demonstrates that the racial discrimination against Japanese Americans that occurred on the West Coast during the second World War closely paralleled the less familiar oppression of Hawaii's Japanese, which evolved from the production needs of the sugar planters to the military's concern over the "menace of alien domination."
Okihiro convincingly argues that those concerns motivated the consolidation of the plantation owners, the Territorial government, and the U.S. military-Hawaii's elite-into a single force that propelled the anti-Japanese movement, while the military devised secret plans for martial law and the removal and detention of Japanese Americans in Hawaii two decades before World War II.
Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).
"Scholars of American race relations will want to read this book. So will anyone interested in Hawaii's history or in the experiences of Japanese or Asian Americans. It will go far in putting to rest any residual notion that the WWII experiences of the Japanese Americans represented 'aberration' or 'hysterical' reaction to wartime exigencies."
--Franklin S. Odo, University of Hawaii at Manoa
"A well-researched and well-written treatment of the subject."
Part I: Years of Migrant Labor, 1986-1909
1. So Much Charity, So Little Democracy
2. Hole Hole Bushi
3. With the Force of Wildfire
Part II: Years of Dependency, 1910-1940
4. Cane Fires
5. In the National Defense
6. Race War
7. Extinguishing the Dawn
8. Dark Designs
Part III: World War II, 1941-1945
9. Into the Cold Night Rain
10. Bivouac Song
11. In Morning Sunlight
About the Author(s)
Gary Y. Okihiro is Associate Professor of History at Cornell University.
Using archival primary material such as photographs, yearbooks, artwork, and first-person written accounts, A Captive Audience gives an inside look at the experiences of young people at the Rohwer and Jerome Relocation Centers in Arkansas during the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many young internees at the camps saw their families lose their homes, businesses, and possessions on the West Coast when the U.S. government rounded up people of Japanese descent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Yet through all the chaos and heartbreak of the internment experience, young people often brought a unique perspective of hope and resiliency.
Intended for young-adult readers, this book explores important dimensions of Arkansas and U.S. history, including human rights and what it means to be an American.
In Claiming the Oriental Gateway, Shelley Sang-Hee Lee explores the various intersections of urbanization, ethnic identity, and internationalism in the experience of Japanese Americans in early twentieth-century Seattle. She examines the development and self-image of the city by documenting how U.S. expansion, Asian trans-Pacific migration, and internationalism were manifested locally—and how these forces affected residents’ relationships with one another and their surroundings.
Lee details the significant role Japanese Americans—both immigrants and U.S. born citizens—played in the social and civic life of the city as a means of becoming American. Seattle embraced the idea of cosmopolitanism and boosted its role as a cultural and commercial "Gateway to the Orient" at the same time as it limited the ways in which Asian Americans could participate in the public schools, local art production, civic celebrations, and sports. She also looks at how Japan encouraged the notion of the "gateway" in its participation in the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and International Potlach.
Claiming the Oriental Gateway thus offers an illuminating study of the "Pacific Era" and trans-Pacific relations in the first four decades of the twentieth century.
The Colonel and The Pacifist
Klancy Clark De Nevers University of Utah Press, 2004 Library of Congress D769.8.A6D44 2004 | Dewey Decimal 940.53089956073
Executive Order 9066. In February 1942, ten weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put his signature to a piece of paper that allowed the forced removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from their West Coast homes, and their incarceration in makeshift camps. Those are the facts. But two faces emerge from behind these facts: Karl R. Bendetsen, the Army major who was promoted to full colonel and placed in charge of the evacuation after formulating the concept of 'military necessity,' and who penned the order Roosevelt signed, and Perry H. Saito, a young college student, future Methodist minister, and former neighbor from Bendetsen’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington who was incarcerated in Tule Lake Relocation Camp.
The Colonel and the Pacifist tells the story of two men caught up in one of the most infamous episodes in American history. While they never met, Bendetsen and Saito’s lives touched tangentially—from their common hometown to their eventual testimony during the 1981 hearings of the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. In weaving together these contrasting stories, Klancy Clark de Nevers not only exposes unknown or little known aspects of World War II history, she also explores larger issues of racism and war that resonate through the years and ring eerily familiar to our post-9/11 ears.
In Colorado's Japanese Americans, renowned journalist and author Bill Hosokawa pens the first history of this significant minority in the Centennial State. From 1886, when the young aristocrat Matsudaira Tadaatsu settled in Denver, to today, when Colorado boasts a population of more than 11,000 people of Japanese ancestry, Japanese Americans have worked to build homes, businesses, families, and friendships in the state.
Hosokawa traces personal histories, such as Bob Sakata's journey from internment in a relocation camp to his founding of a prosperous truck farm; the conviction of three sisters for assisting the escape of German POWs; and the years of initiative and determination behind Toshihiro Kizaki's ownership of Sushi Den, a beloved Denver eatery. In addition to personal stories, the author also relates the larger history of the interweave of cultures in Colorado, from the founding of the Navy's Japanese language school at the University of Colorado to the merging of predominantly white and Japanese American congregations at Arvada's Simpson United Methodist Church.
With the author's long view and sharp eye, Colorado's Japanese Americans creates a storied document of lasting legacy about the Issei and Nisei in Colorado.
Los Angeles's Japanese American National Museum, established in 1992, remains the only museum in the United States expressly dedicated to sharing the story of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The National Museum is a unique institution that operates in collaboration with other institutions, museums, researchers, audiences, and funders. In this collection of seventeen essays, anthropologists, art historians, museum curators, writers, designers, and historians provide case studies exploring collaboration with community-oriented partners in order to document, interpret, and present their histories and experiences and provide a new understanding of what museums can and should be in the United States.
Current scholarship in museum studies is generally limited to interpretations by scholars and curators. Common Ground brings descriptive data to the intellectual canon and illustrates how museum institutions must be transformed and recreated to suit the needs of the twenty-first century.
Without trial and without due process, the United States government locked up nearly all of those citizens and longtime residents who were of Japanese descent during World War II. Ten concentration camps were set up across the country to confine over 120,000 inmates. Almost 20,000 of them were shipped to the only two camps in the segregated South—Jerome and Rohwer in Arkansas—locations that put them right in the heart of a much older, long-festering system of racist oppression. The first history of these Arkansas camps, Concentration Camps on the Home Front is an eye-opening account of the inmates’ experiences and a searing examination of American imperialism and racist hysteria.
While the basic facts of Japanese-American incarceration are well known, John Howard’s extensive research gives voice to those whose stories have been forgotten or ignored. He highlights the roles of women, first-generation immigrants, and those who forcefully resisted their incarceration by speaking out against dangerous working conditions and white racism. In addition to this overlooked history of dissent, Howard also exposes the government’s aggressive campaign to Americanize the inmates and even convert them to Christianity. After the war ended, this movement culminated in the dispersal of the prisoners across the nation in a calculated effort to break up ethnic enclaves.
Howard’s re-creation of life in the camps is powerful, provocative, and disturbing. Concentration Camps on the Home Front rewrites a notorious chapter in American history—a shameful story that nonetheless speaks to the strength of human resilience in the face of even the most grievous injustices.
Freewheeling sexuality and gender experimentation defined the social and moral landscape of 1890s San Francisco. Middle class whites crafting titillating narratives on topics such as high divorce rates, mannish women, and extramarital sex centered Chinese and Japanese immigrants in particular. Amy Sueyoshi draws on everything from newspapers to felony case files to oral histories in order to examine how whites' pursuit of gender and sexual fulfillment gave rise to racial caricatures. As she reveals, white reporters, writers, artists, and others conflated Chinese and Japanese, previously seen as two races, into one. There emerged the Oriental--a single pan-Asian American stereotype weighted with sexual and gender meaning. Sueyoshi bridges feminist, queer, and ethnic studies to show how the white quest to forge new frontiers in gender and sexual freedom reinforced--and spawned--racial inequality through the ever evolving Oriental. Informed and fascinating, Discriminating Sex reconsiders the origins and expression of racial stereotyping in an American city.
Distant Islands is a modern narrative history of the Japanese American community in New York City between America's centennial year and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Often overshadowed in historical literature by the Japanese diaspora on the West Coast, this community, which dates back to the 1870s, has its own fascinating history.
The New York Japanese American community was a composite of several micro communities divided along status, class, geographic, and religious lines. Using a wealth of primary sources—oral histories, memoirs, newspapers, government documents, photographs, and more—Daniel H. Inouye tells the stories of the business and professional elites, mid-sized merchants, small business owners, working-class families, menial laborers, and students that made up these communities. The book presents new knowledge about the history of Japanese immigrants in the United States and makes a novel and persuasive argument about the primacy of class and status stratification and relatively weak ethnic cohesion and solidarity in New York City, compared to the pervading understanding of nikkei on the West Coast. While a few prior studies have identified social stratification in other nikkei communities, this book presents the first full exploration of the subject and additionally draws parallels to divisions in German American communities.
Distant Islands is a unique and nuanced historical account of an American ethnic community that reveals the common humanity of pioneering Japanese New Yorkers despite diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and life stories. It will be of interest to general readers, students, and scholars interested in Asian American studies, immigration and ethnic studies, sociology, and history.
Winner- Honorable Mention, 2018 Immigration and Ethnic History Society First Book Award
Recounting her own field experiences in Japanese-American relocation centers during World War II and later in American Indian communities, Rosalie H. Wax offers advice to help the beginning field worker anticipate and confront the exigencies and accidents of fieldwork with good nature, fortitude, and common sense. Doing Fieldwork is a useful book in many respects: as a guide to participant observation and ethnographic fieldwork; as an analysis of the theoretical presuppositions and history of fieldwork; as a discussion of contemporary issues in social science research; and simply as an entertaining and dramatic story.
Examines relations between peoples of color to offer a compelling new approach to understanding race in America.
Since the Great Migration of the early twentieth century, Chicago has been a cauldron of race relations, symbolizing the tenacity of discrimination and segregation. But as in other cities with significant populations of Latinos and Asians, Arabs and Jews, this image belies complex racial dynamics. In Double Cross, Jacalyn D. Harden provides an essential rethinking of the ways we understand and talk about race, using an examination of the Japanese American community of Chicago's Far North Side to form an innovative new framework for looking at race, identity, and political change.
The Japanese American community in Chicago rapidly expanded between 1940 and 1950 in the aftermath of wartime internment and government relocation programs. Harden tells their story through archival research and interviews with some of the first Japanese Americans who were relocated to Chicago in the 1940s, incorporating her own experiences as an African American scholar who has lived in Japan. The result is a compelling and surprising account of racial interactions, one that clarifies the complex interweaving between black and Asian lives and reclaims a lost history of solidarity between the two groups.
Moving from the Great Migration to the "great relocation" to gentrification, Harden explores the shared history of civil rights struggles that firmly links Japanese and African Americans, most importantly the issue of reparations (for internment during World War II and slavery, respectively). She describes the efforts of Japanese Americans to "double-cross the color line" by building coalitions across race, age, and class boundaries, and their vexed position as sometimes "colored," sometimes white (for example, the Japanese American soldier who was instructed to use the white washrooms at boot camp in Alabama during World War II, while thousands were being relocated to internment camps).
Double Cross is a major contribution to our thought about race relations, challenging orthodoxy and shedding new light on the complex identities, conflicting interests, and external forces that have defined the concept of race in the United States.
"This is a thoroughly researched, well written, and provocative study that adds to our understanding of the complexities of race relations. It situates Japanese Americans within the racial dynamics of the Midwest also highlighting the historic black-white color line. This book is highly recommended as a forward-looking, serious study of race and civil rights." Frank Wu
Jacalyn D. Harden is assistant professor of anthropology at Seattle University.
Extraordinary racial politics rupture out of and reset everyday racial politics. In his cogent book, Fred Lee examines four unusual, episodic, and transformative moments in U.S. history: the 1830s–1840s southeastern Indian removals, the Japanese internment during World War II, the post-war civil rights movement, and the 1960s–1970s racial empowerment movements. Lee helps us connect these extraordinary events to both prior and subsequent everyday conflicts.
Extraordinary Racial Politics brings about an intellectual exchange between ethnic studies, which focuses on quotidian experiences and negotiations, and political theory, which emphasizes historical crises and breaks. In ethnic studies, Lee draws out the extraordinary moments in Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s as well as Charles Mills’s accounts of racial formation. In political theory, Lee considers the strengths and weaknesses of using Carl Schmitt’s and Hannah Arendt’s accounts of public constitution to study racial power.
Lee concludes that extraordinary racial politics represent both the promises of social emancipation and the perils of state power. This promise and peril characterizes our contentious racial present.
One of the Washington Post's Top Nonfiction Titles of 2001
In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of research and personal interviews, Eric L. Muller re-creates the emotions and events that followed the arrival of those draft notices, revealing a dark and complex chapter of America's history.
Continuous expansion of executive power is igniting national debate: Is the administration authorized to detain people without charges or access to counsel, due process, or a fair trial? Is torture acceptable as long as it doesn't happen on U.S. soil? In a new study of the use of plenary power - the doctrine under which U.S. courts have allowed the exercise of U.S. jurisdiction without concomitant constitutional protection - Natsu Taylor Saito puts contemporary policies in historical perspective, illustrating how such extensions of power have been upheld by courts from the 1880s to the present.
From Chinese Exclusion to Guantánamo Bay also provides a larger context for understanding problems resulting from the exercise of plenary power. Saito explains how the rights of individuals and groups deemed Other by virtue of race or national origin have been violated under both the Constitution and international law. The differing treatment of José Padilla and John Walker Lindh - both Americans accused of terrorism - provides an example of such disparate approaches. Such executive actions and their sanction by Congress and the judiciary, Saito argues, undermine not just individual rights but the very foundations of our national security - democracy and the rule of law.
From Chinese Exclusion to Guantánamo Bay will interest readers concerned with the historical background of constitutional protection in times of war and peace and will provide fascinating new material for scholars, teachers, and students of law, history, and ethnic studies
In the aftermath of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the systematic exile and incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans, the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council was born. Created to facilitate the movement of Japanese American college students from concentration camps to colleges away from the West Coast, this privately organized and funded agency helped more than four thousand incarcerated students pursue higher education at more than six hundred schools during WWII.
Allan W. Austin’s From Concentration Camp to Campus examines the Council's work and the challenges it faced in an atmosphere of pervasive wartime racism. Austin also reveals the voices of students as they worked to construct their own meaning for wartime experiences under pressure of forced and total assimilation. Austin argues that the resettled students succeeded in reintegrating themselves into the wider American society without sacrificing their connections to community and their Japanese cultural heritage.
Lily Nakai and her family lived in southern California, where sometimes she and a friend dreamt of climbing the Hollywood sign that lit the night. At age ten, after believing that her family was simply going on a “camping trip,” she found herself living in a tar-papered barrack, nightly gazing out instead at a searchlight. She wondered if anything would ever be normal again.
In this creative memoir, Lily Havey combines storytelling, watercolor, and personal photographs to recount her youth in two Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. In short vignettes snapshots of people, recreated scenes and events a ten-year-old girl develops into a teenager while confined. Vintage photographs reveal the historical, cultural, and familial contexts of that growth and of the Nakais’ dislocation. The paintings and her animated writing together pull us into a turbulent era when America disgracefully incarcerated, without due process, thousands of American citizens because of their race.
These stories of love, loss, and discovery recall a girl balancing precariously between childhood and adolescence. In turn wrenching, funny, touching, and biting but consistently engrossing, they elucidate the daily challenges of life in the camp and the internees’ many adaptations.
Winner of the Evans Biography Award.
Selected by the American Library Association as one the Best of the Best from University Presses.
Finalist in the cover design category in the Southwest Book Design and Production Awards.
In the decades following World War II, municipal leaders and ordinary citizens embraced San Francisco’s identity as the “Gateway to the Pacific,” using it to reimagine and rebuild the city. The city became a cosmopolitan center on account of its newfound celebration of its Japanese and other Asian American residents, its economy linked with Asia, and its favorable location for transpacific partnerships. The most conspicuous testament to San Francisco’s postwar transpacific connections is the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center in the city’s redeveloped Japanese-American enclave.
Focusing on the development of the Center, Meredith Oda shows how this multilayered story was embedded within a larger story of the changing institutions and ideas that were shaping the city. During these formative decades, Oda argues, San Francisco’s relations with and ideas about Japan were being forged within the intimate, local sites of civic and community life. This shift took many forms, including changes in city leadership, new municipal institutions, and especially transformations in the built environment. Newly friendly relations between Japan and the United States also meant that Japanese Americans found fresh, if highly constrained, job and community prospects just as the city’s African Americans struggled against rising barriers. San Francisco’s story is an inherently local one, but it also a broader story of a city collectively, if not cooperatively, reimagining its place in a global economy.
In TheGreat Unknown, award-winning historian and journalist Greg Robinson offers a fascinating and compulsively readable collection of biographical portraits of extraordinary but unheralded figures in Japanese American history: men and women who made remarkable contributions in the arts, literature, law, sports, and other fields. Recovering and celebrating the stories of noteworthy Issei and Nisei and of their supporters, TheGreat Unknown provides powerful evidence of the diverse experiences and substantial cultural, political, and intellectual contributions of Nikkei throughout the country and over multiple decades.
What is more, The Great Unknown reshapes our understanding of the Asian American experience. By focusing attention on exceptional figures who deviated from social norms, Robinson subverts stereotypes of ethnic Japanese and other Asians as conformist or colorless. The collection also highlights a set of recurring themes absent from conventional histories—including the lives of Japanese Americans outside the West Coast, the role of women in shaping community life, encounters between Japanese American and African American communities during the struggle for civil rights, and the evolving status of queer community members.
The place occupied by Japanese Americans within the annals of U.S. history has consisted mainly of a cameo appearance as victims of incarceration after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In this provocative work, David Yoo broadens the scope of Japanese-American history beyond its usual confines to examine how the second generation—the Nisei—has shaped its identity and negotiated its place within American society. Framed by the Immigration Act of 1924, which effectively curtailed migration from Japan to the United States, and the Tokyo Rose treason trial of 1949, Growing Up Nisei traces the emergence of a dynamic Nisei subculture and shows how the foundations laid during the 1920s and 1930s helped many Nisei adjust to the upheaval of the concentration camps. Yoo demonstrates that 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. Rather than a simple choice between two alternatives, identity formation for the Nisei who came of age during the war entailed negotiating multiple meanings related to race, gender, class, generation, the economy, politics, and international relations. A thoughtful consideration of the gray area between accommodation and resistance, Growing Up Nisei attests to a complexity of experience and context that foregoes one-dimensional cardboard figures and moves toward a portrayal of Japanese Americans as fully human.
Even though race influenced how Americans envisioned, represented, and shaped the American West, discussions of its history devalue the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities. In this lyrical history of marginalized peoples in Idaho, Robert T. Hayashi views the West from a different perspective by detailing the ways in which they shaped the western landscape and its meaning.
As an easterner, researcher, angler, and third-generation Japanese American traveling across the contemporary Idaho landscape—where his grandfather died during internment during World War II—Hayashi reconstructs a landscape that lured emigrants of all races at the same time its ruling forces were developing cultured processes that excluded nonwhites. Throughout each convincing and compelling chapter, he searches for the stories of dispossessed minorities as patiently as he searches for trout.
Using a wide range of materials that include memoirs, oral interviews, poetry, legal cases, letters, government documents, and even road signs, Hayashi illustrates how Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian, all-white, and democratic West affected the Gem State’s Nez Perce, Chinese, Shoshone, Mormon, and particularly Japanese residents. Starting at the site of the Corps of Discovery’s journey into Idaho, he details the ideological, aesthetic, and material manifestations of these intertwined notions of race and place. As he ?y-?shes Idaho’s fabled rivers and visits its historical sites and museums, Hayashi reads the contemporary landscape in light of this evolution.
On February 12, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom, Yuri Kochiyama cradled Malcolm X in her arms as he died, but her role as a public servant and activist began much earlier than this pivotal public moment. Heartbeat of Struggle is the first biography of this courageous woman, the most prominent Asian American activist to emerge during the 1960s. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Kochiyama's family, friends, and the subject herself, Diane C. Fujino traces Kochiyama's life from an "all-American" childhood to her achievements as a tireless defender of - and fighter for - human rights. Raised by a Japanese immigrant family in California during the 1920s and 1930s, Kochiyama was active in sports, school, and church. She was both unquestioningly patriotic and largely unconscious of race and racism in the United States. After Pearl Harbor, however, Kochiyama's family was among the thousands of Japanese Americans forcibly removed to internment camps for the duration of the war, a traumatic experience that opened her eyes to the existence of social injustice. After the war, Kochiyama moved to New York. It was in the context of the vibrant Black movement in Harlem in the 1960s that she began her activist career. There, she met Malcolm X, who inspired her radical political development and the ensuing four decades of incessant work for Black liberation, Asian American equality, Puerto Rican independence, and political prisoner defense. Kochiyama is widely respected for her work in forging unity among diverse communities, especially between Asian and African Americans. Fujino, a scholar and activist, offers an in-depth examination of Kochiyama's political awakening, rich life, and impressive achievements with particular attention to how her public role so often defied gender, racial, and cultural norms. Heartbeat of Struggle is a source of inspiration and guidance for anyone committed to social change.
Originally published in 1932, Kathleen Tamagawa’s pioneering Asian American memoir is a sensitive and thoughtful look at the personal and social complexities of growing up racially mixed during the early twentieth century. Born in 1893 to an Irish American mother and a Japanese father and raised in Chicago and Japan, Tamagawa reflects on the difficulty she experienced fitting into either parent’s native culture.
She describes how, in America, her every personal quirk and quality was seen as quintessentially Japanese and how she was met unpredictably with admiration or fear—perceived as a “Japanese doll” or “the yellow menace.” When her family later moved to Japan, she was viewed there as a “Yankee,” and remained an outsider in that country as well. As an adult she came back to the United States as an American diplomat’s wife, but had trouble feeling at home in any place.
This edition, which also includes Tamagawa’s recently rediscovered short story, “A Fit in Japan,” and a critical introduction, will challenge readers to reconsider how complex ethnic identities are negotiated and how feelings of alienation limit human identification in any society.
In 1915, Jukichi and Ken Harada purchased a house on Lemon Street in Riverside, California. Close to their restaurant, church, and children's school, the house should have been a safe and healthy family home. Before the purchase, white neighbors objected because of the Haradas' Japanese ancestry, and the California Alien Land Law denied them real-estate ownership because they were not citizens. To bypass the law Mr. Harada bought the house in the names of his three youngest children, who were American-born citizens. Neighbors protested again, and the first Japanese American court test of the California Alien Land Law of 1913-The People of California v. Jukichi Harada-was the result.
Bringing this little-known story to light, The House on Lemon Street details the Haradas' decision to fight for the American dream. Chronicling their experiences from their immigration to the United States through their legal battle over their home, their incarceration during World War II, and their lives after the war, this book tells the story of the family's participation in the struggle for human and civil rights, social justice, property and legal rights, and fair treatment of immigrants in the United States.
The Harada family's quest for acceptance illuminates the deep underpinnings of anti-Asian animus, which set the stage for Executive Order 9066, and recognizes fundamental elements of our nation's anti-immigrant history that continue to shape the American story. It will be worthwhile for anyone interested in the Japanese American experience in the twentieth century, immigration history, public history, and law.
This publication was made possible with the support of Naomi, Kathleen, Ken, and Paul Harada, who donated funds in memory of their father, Harold Shigetaka Harada, honoring his quest for justice and civil rights. Additional support for this publication was also provided, in part, by UCLA's Aratani Endowed Chair as well as Wallace T. Kido, Joel B. Klein, Elizabeth A. Uno, and Rosalind K. Uno.
Toyo Suyemoto is known informally by literary scholars and the media as "Japanese America's poet laureate." But Suyemoto has always described herself in much more humble terms. A first-generation Japanese American, she has identified herself as a storyteller, a teacher, a mother whose only child died from illness, and an internment camp survivor. Before Suyemoto passed away in 2003, she wrote a moving and illuminating memoir of her internment camp experiences with her family and infant son at Tanforan Race Track and, later, at the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah, from 1942 to 1945.
A uniquely poetic contribution to the small body of internment memoirs, Suyemoto's account includes information about policies and wartime decisions that are not widely known, and recounts in detail the way in which internees adjusted their notions of selfhood and citizenship, lending insight to the complicated and controversial questions of citizenship, accountability, and resistance of first- and second-generation Japanese Americans.
Suyemoto's poems, many written during internment, are interwoven throughout the text and serve as counterpoints to the contextualizing narrative. Suyemoto's poems, many written during internment, are interwoven throughout the text and serve as counterpoints to the contextualizing narrative. A small collection of poems written in the years following her incarceration further reveal the psychological effects of her experience.
As a leading dissident in the World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans, the controversial figure Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara stands out as an icon of Japanese American resistance. In emotional, often inflammatory speeches, Kurihara attacked the U.S. government for its treatment of innocent citizens and immigrants. Because he articulated what other inmates dared not voice openly, he became a spokesperson for camp inmates.
In this astute biography, Kurihara's life provides a window into the history of Japanese Americans during the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Hawai'i to Japanese parents who immigrated to work on the sugar plantations, Kurihara worked throughout his youth and early adult life to make a place for himself as an American: seeking quality education, embracing Christianity, and serving as a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Though he bore the brunt of anti-Japanese hostility in the decades before World War II, he remained adamantly positive about the prospects of his own life in America. The U.S. entry into World War II and the forced removal and incarceration of ethnic Japanese destroyed that perspective and transformed Kurihara.
As an inmate at Manzanar in California, Kurihara became one of the leaders of a dissident group within the camp and was implicated in "the Manzanar incident," a serious civil disturbance that erupted on December 6, 1942. In 1945, after three years and seven months of incarceration, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and boarded a ship for Japan, where he had never been before. He never returned to the United States.
Kurihara's personal story illuminates the tragedy of the forced removal and incarceration of U.S. citizens among the West Coast Nikkei, even as it dramatizes the heroic resistance to that injustice. Shedding light on the turmoil within the camps as well as the sensitive and formerly unspoken issue of citizenship renunciation among Japanese Americans, In Defense of Justice explores one man's struggles with the complexities of loyalty and resistance.
Whereas most scholarship on Japanese Americans looks at historical case studies or the 1.5 generation assimilating, this pioneering anthology, Japanese American Millennials, captures theexperiences, perspectives, and aspirations of Asian Americans born between 1980 and 2000. The editors and contributors present multiple perspectives on who Japanese Americans are, how they think about notions of community and culture, and how they engage and negotiate multiple social identities.
The essays by scholars both in the United States and Japan draw upon the Japanese American millennial experience to examine how they find self-expression in Youth Basketball Leagues or Christian youth camps as well as how they grapple with being mixed-race, bicultural, or queer. Featuring compelling interviews and observations, Japanese American Millennials dislodges the dominant generational framework toaddress absences in the current literature and suggests how we might alternatively study Japanese Americans as a whole.
Photographs by Hikaru C. IwasakiForeword by the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta
In Japanese American Resettlement through the Lens, Lane Ryo Hirabayashi gathers a unique collection of photographs by War Relocation Authority photographer Hikaru Iwasaki, the only full-time WRA photographer from the period still living.
With substantive focus on resettlement - and in particular Iwasaki's photos of Japanese Americans following their release from WRA camps from 1943 to 1945 - Hirabayashi explores the WRA's use of photography in its mission not only to encourage "loyal" Japanese Americans to return to society at large as quickly as possible but also to convince Euro-Americans this was safe and advantageous. Hirabayashi also assesses the relative success of the WRA project, as well as the multiple uses of the photographs over time, first by the WRA and then by students, scholars, and community members in the present day.
Although the photos have been used to illustrate a number of publications, this book is the first sustained treatment addressing questions directly related to official WRA photographs. How and under what conditions were they taken? Where were they developed, selected, and stored? How were they used during the 1940s? What impact did they have during and following the war?
By focusing on the WRA's Photographic Section, Japanese American Resettlement through the Lens makes a unique contribution to the body of literature on Japanese Americans during World War II.
Since 1855, nearly a half a million Japanese immigrants have settled in the United States, the majority arriving between 1890 and 1924 during the great wave of immigration to Hawai'i and the mainland. Today, more than one million Americans claim Japanese ancestry. They came to study and to work, and found jobs as farm laborers, cannery workers, and railroad workers. Many settled permanently, formed communities, and sent for family members in Japan. While they worked hard, established credit associations and other networks, and repeatedly distinguished themselves as entrepreneurs, they also encountered harsh discrimination. Nowhere was this more evident than on the West coast during World War II, when virtually the entire population of Japanese Americans was forced into internment camps solely on the basis of their ethnicity.
In this concise history, Paul Spickard traces the struggles and achievements of Japanese Americans in claiming their place in American society. He outlines three forces shaping ethnic groups in general: shared interests, shared institutions, and shared culture, and chronicles the Japanese American experience within this framework, showing how these factors created and nurtured solidarity.
Japanese and Chinese immigrants in the United States have traditionally been characterized as hard workers who are hesitant to involve themselves in labor disputes or radical activism. How then does one explain the labor and Communist organizations in the Asian immigrant communities that existed from coast to coast between 1919 and 1933? Their organizers and members have been, until now, largely absent from the history of the American Communist movement. In Japanese and Chinese Immigrant Activists, Josephine Fowler brings us the first in-depth account of Japanese and Chinese immigrant radicalism inside the United States and across the Pacific.
Drawing on multilingual correspondence between left-wing and party members and other primary sources, such as records from branches of the Japanese Workers Association and the Chinese Nationalist Party, Fowler shows how pressures from the Comintern for various sub-groups of the party to unite as an “American” working class were met with resistance. The book also challenges longstanding stereotypes about the relationships among the Communist Party in the United States, the Comintern, and the Soviet Party.
When the American government began impounding Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor, photography became a battleground. The control of the means of representation affected nearly every aspect of the incarceration, from the mug shots criminalizing Japanese Americans to the prohibition of cameras in the hands of inmates. The government also hired photographers to make an extensive record of the forced removal and incarceration. In this insightful study, Jasmine Alinder explores the photographic record of the imprisonment in war relocation centers such as Manzanar, Tule Lake, Jerome, and others. She investigates why photographs were made, how they were meant to function, and how they have been reproduced and interpreted subsequently by the popular press and museums in constructing versions of public history.
Alinder provides calibrated readings of the photographs from this period, including works by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Manzanar camp inmate Toyo Miyatake (who constructed his own camera to document the complicated realities of camp life), and contemporary artists Patrick Nagatani and Masumi Hayashi. Illustrated with more than forty photographs, Moving Images reveals the significance of the camera in the process of incarceration as well as the construction of race, citizenship, and patriotism in this complex historical moment.
Eric Walz's Nikkei in the Interior West tells the story of more than twelve thousand Japanese immigrants who settled in the interior West--Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah. They came inland not as fugitives forced to relocate after Pearl Harbor but arrived decades before World War II as workers searching for a job or as picture brides looking to join husbands they had never met.
Despite being isolated from their native country and the support of larger settlements on the West Coast, these immigrants formed ethnic associations, language schools, and religious institutions. They also experienced persecution and discrimination during World War II in dramatically different ways than the often-studied immigrants living along the Pacific Coast. Even though they struggled with discrimination, these interior communities grew both in size and in permanence to become an integral part of the American West.
Using oral histories, journal entries, newspaper accounts, organization records, and local histories, Nikkei in the Interior West explores the conditions in Japan that led to emigration, the immigration process, the factors that drew immigrants to the interior, the cultural negotiation that led to ethnic development, and the effects of World War II. Examining not only the formation and impact of these Japanese communities but also their interaction with others in the region, Walz demonstrates how these communities connect with the broader Japanese diaspora.
Hailed at the time of its publication in 1969, Bill Hosokawa's Nisei remains an inspiring account of the original Japanese immigrants and their role in the development of the West. Hosokawa recounts the ordeals faced by the immigrant generation and their American-born offspring, the Nisei; the ill-advised government decisions that led to their uprooting during World War II; how they withstood harsh camp life; and their courageous efforts to prove their loyalty to the United States.
As Hosokawa additionally demonstrates, since World War II, Japanese Americans have achieved exceptional social, economic, and political progress. Their efforts led to apologies by four U.S. presidents for wartime injustices and redress through the landmark Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Brought up-to-date in this newly revised edition, Nisei details the transformation of these "quiet Americans" from despised security risks to respected citizens.
When bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese American college students were among the many young men enrolled in ROTC and immediately called upon to defend the Hawaiian islands against invasion. In a few weeks, however, the military government questioned their loyalty and disarmed them. In No Sword to Bury, Franklin Odo places the largely untold story of the wartime experience of these young men in the context of the community created by their immigrant families and its relationship to the larger, white-dominated society. At the heart of the book are vivid oral histories that recall their service on the home front in the Varsity Victory Volunteers, a non-military group dedicated to public works, as well as in the segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Illuminating a critical moment in ethnic identity formation among this first generation of Americans of Japanese descent (the nisei), Odo shows how the war-time service and the post-war success of these men contributed to the simplistic view of Japanese Americans as a model minority in Hawai`i.
Offering a window into a critical era in Japanese American life, Pacific Citizens collects key writings of Larry S. Tajiri, a multitalented journalist, essayist, and popular culture maven. He and his wife, Guyo, who worked by his side, became leading figures in Nisei political life as the central purveyors of news for and about Japanese Americans during World War II, both those confined in government camps and others outside.
The Tajiris made the community newspaper the Pacific Citizen a forum for liberal and progressive views on politics, civil rights, and democracy, insightfully addressing issues of assimilation, multiracialism, and U.S. foreign relations. Through his editorship of the Pacific Citizen as well as in articles and columns in outside media, Larry Tajiri became the Japanese American community's most visible spokesperson, articulating a broad vision of Nisei identity to a varied audience.
In this thoughtfully framed and annotated volume, Greg Robinson interprets and examines the contributions of the Tajiris through a selection of writings, columns, editorials, and correspondence from before, during, and after the war. Pacific Citizens contextualizes the Tajiris' output, providing a telling portrait of these two dedicated journalists and serving as a reminder of the public value of the ethnic community press.
Shipwrecked sailors, samurai seeking a material and sometimes spiritual education, and laborers seeking to better their economic situation: these early Japanese travelers to the West occupy a little-known corner of Asian American studies. Pacific Pioneers profiles the first Japanese who resided in the United States or the Kingdom of Hawaii for a substantial period of time and the Westerners who influenced their experiences.
Although Japanese immigrants did not start arriving in substantial numbers in the West until after 1880, in the previous thirty years a handful of key encounters helped shape relations between Japan and the United States. John E. Van Sant explores the motivations and accomplishments of these resourceful, sometimes visionary individuals who made important inroads into a culture quite different from their own and paved the way for the Issei and Nisei.
Pacific Pioneers presents detailed biographical sketches of Japanese such as Joseph Heco, Niijima Jo, and the converts to the Brotherhood of the New Life and introduces the American benefactors, such as William Griffis, David Murray, and Thomas Lake Harris, who built relationships with their foreign visitors. Van Sant also examines the uneasy relations between Japanese laborers and sugar cane plantation magnates in Hawaii during this period and the shortlived Wakamatsu colony of Japanese tea and silk producers in California.
A valuable addition to the literature, Pacific Pioneers brings to life a cast of colorful, long-forgotten characters while forging a critical link between Asian and Asian American studies.
In 1912, Shoki Kayamori and his box camera arrived in a small Tlingit village in southeast Alaska. At a time when Asian immigrants were forbidden to own property and faced intense racial pressure, the Japanese-born Kayamori put down roots and became part of the Yakutat community. For three decades he photographed daily life in the village, turning his lens on locals and migrants alike, and gaining the nickname “Picture Man.” But as World War II drew near, his passion for photography turned dangerous, as government officials called out Kayamori as a potential spy. Despondent, Kayamori committed suicide, leaving behind an enigmatic photographic legacy.
In Picture Man, Margaret Thomas views Kayamori’s life through multiple lenses. Using Kayamori’s original photos, she explores the economic and political realities that sent Kayamori and thousands like him out of Japan toward opportunity and adventure in the United States, especially the Pacific Northwest. She reveals the tensions around Asian immigrants on the West Coast and the racism that sent many young men north to work in the canneries of Alaska. And she illuminates the intersecting—and at times conflicting—lives of villagers and migrants in a time of enormous change. Part history, part biography, part photographic showcase, Picture Man offers a fascinating new view of Alaska history.
During World War II, over thirty American anthropologists participated in empirical and applied research on more than 110,000 Japanese Americans subjected to mass removal and incarceration by the federal government. While that experience has been widely discussed, what has received little critical attention are the experiences of the Japanese and Japanese American field assistants who conducted extensive research within the camps. How did these field researchers carry out data collection in American-style concentration camps? What kinds of constraints and pressures did they face? How did they respond to practical, ethical, and political challenges?
In addressing these questions, author Lane Hirabayashi examines the case of the late Dr. Tamie Tsuchiyama. At the time an advanced doctoral student in anthropology, Tsuchiyama was hired in 1942 to conduct ethnographic fieldwork for the University of California at Berkeley's Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study. Drawing from personal letters, ethnographic fieldnotes, reports, interviews, and other archival sources, The Politics of Fieldwork describes Tsuchiyama's experiences as a researcher at Poston, Arizona—a.k.a. the Colorado River Relocation Center. The book relates the daily life, fieldwork methodology, and politics of the residents and researchers at the Poston camp, as well as providing insight into the pressures that led to Tsuchiyama's ultimate resignation, in protest, from the JERS project in 1945.
Facilitating the critical analysis of Tsuchiyama's role in the JERS research are questions regarding the relationships between Japanese American research and the nature of "colonial science" that merit discussion in contemporary field research. A multidisciplinary synthesis of anthropological, historical, and ethnic studies perspectives, The Politics of Fieldwork is rich with lessons about the ethics and politics of ethnographic fieldwork.
Prisons and Patriots provides a detailed account of forty-one Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans), known as the Tucsonians, who were imprisoned for resisting the draft during WWII. Cherstin Lyon parallels their courage as resisters with that of civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi, well known for his legal battle against curfew and internment, who also resisted the draft. These dual stories highlight the intrinsic relationship between the rights and the obligations of citizenship, particularly salient in times of war.
Lyon considers how wartime civil disobedience has been remembered through history—how soldiers have been celebrated for their valor while resisters have been demonized as unpatriotic. Using archival research and interviews, she presents a complex picture of loyalty and conflict among first-generation Issei and Nisei. Lyon contends that the success of the redress movement has made room for a narrative that neither reduces the wartime confinement to a source of shame nor proffers an uncritical account of heroic individuals.
With a low rate of immigration and a high rate of interracial marriage, Japanese Americans today compose the Asian ethnic group with the largest proportion of mixed-race members. Within Japanese American communities, increased participation by mixed-race members, along with concerns about overassimilation, has led to a search for cultural authenticity, giving new answers to the question, Who is Japanese American? In Pure Beauty, Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain tackles this question by studying a cultural institution: Japanese American community beauty pageants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Honolulu. King-O’Riain employs rich ethnographic fieldwork to discover how these pageants seek to maintain racial and ethnic purity amid shifting notions of cultural identity. She uses revealing in-depth interviews with candidates, queens, and community members, her experiences as a pageant committee member, and archival research—including Japanese and English newspapers, museum collections, private photo albums, and mementos—to establish both the importance and impossibility of racial purity. King-O’Riain examines racial eligibility rules and tests, which encompass not only ancestry but also residency, community service, and culture, and traces the history of pageants throughout the United States. Pure Beauty shows how racial and gendered meanings are enacted through the pageants, and reveals their impact on Japanese American men, women, and children. King-O’Riain concludes that the mixed-race challenge to racial understandings of Japanese Americanness does not necessarily mean an end to race as we know it and asserts that race is work—created and re-created in a social context. Ultimately, she determines that the concept of race, fragile though it may be, is still one of the categories by which Japanese Americans are judged.Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain is lecturer in sociology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
On September 18, 1928, Myles Yutaka Fukunaga kidnapped and brutally murdered ten-year-old George Gill Jamieson in Waikîkî. Fukunaga, a nineteen-year-old nisei, or second-generation Japanese American, confessed to the crime. Within three weeks, authorities had convicted him and sentenced him to hang, despite questions about Fukunaga's sanity and a deeply flawed defense by his court-appointed attorneys. Jonathan Y. Okamura argues that officials "raced" Fukunaga to death—first viewing the accused only as Japanese despite the law supposedly being colorblind, and then hurrying to satisfy the Haole (white) community's demand for revenge. Okamura sets the case against an analysis of the racial hierarchy that undergirded Hawai‘ian society, which was dominated by Haoles who saw themselves most threatened by the islands' sizable Japanese American community. The Fukunaga case and others like it in the 1920s reinforced Haole supremacy and maintained the racial boundary that separated Haoles from non-Haoles, particularly through racial injustice. As Okamura challenges the representation of Hawai i as a racial paradise, he reveals the ways Haoles usurped the criminal justice system and reevaluates the tense history of anti-Japanese racism in Hawai i.
The Red Kimono: A Novel
Jan Morrill University of Arkansas Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3613.O75545R43 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
In 1941, racial tensions are rising in the California community where nineyear-old Sachiko Kimura and her seventeen-year-old brother, Nobu, live. Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor, people are angry, and one night, Sachiko and Nobu witness three teenage boys taunting and beating their father in the park. Sachiko especially remembers Terrence Harris, the boy with dark skin and hazel eyes, and Nobu cannot believe the boys capable of such violence toward his father are actually his friends. What Sachiko and Nobu do not know is that Terrence's family had received a telegram that morning with news that Terrence's father was killed at Pearl Harbor. Desperate to escape his pain, Terrence rushes from his home and runs into two high-school friends who convince him to find a Japanese man and get revenge. They do not know the man they attacked is Sachiko and Nobu's father. In the months that follow, Terrence is convicted of his crime and Sachiko and Nobu are sent to an internment camp in Arkansas, a fictionalized version of the two camps that actually existed in Arkansas during the war. While behind bars and barbed wire, each of the three young people will go through dramatic changes. One will learn acceptance. One will remain imprisoned by resentment, and one will seek a path to forgiveness.
There is a rich body of literature on the experience of Japanese immigrants in the United States, and there are also numerous accounts of the cultural dislocation felt by American expats in Japan. But what happens when Japanese Americans, born and raised in the United States, are the ones living abroad in Japan?
Redefining Japaneseness chronicles how Japanese American migrants to Japan navigate and complicate the categories of Japanese and “foreigner.” Drawing from extensive interviews and fieldwork in the Tokyo area, Jane H. Yamashiro tracks the multiple ways these migrants strategically negotiate and interpret their daily interactions. Following a diverse group of subjects—some of only Japanese ancestry and others of mixed heritage, some fluent in Japanese and others struggling with the language, some from Hawaii and others from the US continent—her study reveals wide variations in how Japanese Americans perceive both Japaneseness and Americanness.
Making an important contribution to both Asian American studies and scholarship on transnational migration, Redefining Japaneseness critically interrogates the common assumption that people of Japanese ancestry identify as members of a global diaspora. Furthermore, through its close examination of subjects who migrate from one highly-industrialized nation to another, it dramatically expands our picture of the migrant experience.
Relocating Authority examines the ways Japanese Americans have continually used writing to respond to the circumstances of their community’s mass imprisonment during World War II. Using both Nikkei cultural frameworks and community-specific history for methodological inspiration and guidance, Mira Shimabukuro shows how writing was used privately and publicly to individually survive and collectively resist the conditions of incarceration.
Examining a wide range of diverse texts and literacy practices such as diary entries, note-taking, manifestos, and multiple drafts of single documents, Relocating Authority draws upon community archives, visual histories, and Asian American history and theory to reveal the ways writing has served as a critical tool for incarcerees and their descendants. Incarcerees not only used writing to redress the “internment” in the moment but also created pieces of text that enabled and inspired further redress long after the camps had closed.
Relocating Authority highlights literacy’s enduring potential to participate in social change and assist an imprisoned people in relocating authority away from their captors and back to their community and themselves. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of ethnic and Asian American rhetorics, American studies, and anyone interested in the relationship between literacy and social justice.
The Emergency Detention Act, Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950, is the only law in American history to legalize preventive detention. It restricted the freedom of a certain individual or a group of individuals based on actions that may be taken that would threaten the security of a nation or of a particular area. Yet the Act was never enforced before it was repealed in 1971.
Masumi Izumi links the Emergency Detention Act with Japanese American wartime incarceration in her cogent study, The Rise and Fall of America’s Concentration Camp Law. She dissects the entangled discourses of race, national security, and civil liberties between 1941 and 1971 by examining how this historical precedent generated “the concentration camp law” and expanded a ubiquitous regime of surveillance in McCarthyist America.
Izumi also shows how political radicalism grew as a result of these laws. Japanese Americas were instrumental in forming grassroots social movements that worked to repeal Title II. The Rise and Fall of America’s Concentration Camp Law is a timely study in this age of insecurity where issues of immigration, race, and exclusion persist.
Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories brings together nineteen stories that span Hisaye Yamamoto's forty-year career. It was her first book to be published in the United States. Yamamoto's themes include the cultural conflicts between the first generation, the Issei, and their children, the Nisei; coping with prejudice; and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
In addition to the contents of the original volume, this edition brings back into print the following works:
- Death Rides the Rails to Poston
- A Fire in Fontana
- Florentine Gardens
Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories brings together fifteen stories that span Hisaye Yamamoto's forty-year career. It was her first book to be published in the United States. Yamamoto's themes include the cultural conflicts between the first generation, the Issei and their children, the Nisei; coping with prejudice; and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
Hisaye Yamamoto's often reprinted tale of a naive American daughter and her Japanese mother captures the essence the cultural and generational conflicts so common among immigrants and their American-born children. On the surface, "Seventeen Syllables" is the story of Rosie and her preoccupation with adolescent life. Between the lines, however, lurks the tragedy of her mother, who is trapped in a marriage of desperation. Tome's deep absorption in writing haiku causes a rift with her husband, which escalates to a tragic event that changes Rosie's life forever.
Yamamoto's disarming style matches the verbal economy of haiku, in which all meaning is contained within seventeen syllables. Her deft characterizations and her delineations of sexuality create a haunting story of a young girl's transformation from innocence to adulthood.
This casebook includes an introduction and an essay by the editor, an interview with the author, a chronology, authoritative texts of "Seventeen Syllables" (1949) and "Yoneko's Earthquake" (1951), critical essays, and a bibliography. The contributors are Charles L. Crow, Donald C. Goellnicht, Elaine H. Kim, Dorothy Ritsuko McDonald, Zenobia Baxter Mistri, Katharine Newman, Robert M. Payne, Robert T. Rolf, and Stan Yogi.
Debates have swirled around the question of national forgiveness for the past fifty years. Using two examples—the land claims of the Oneida Indians and the claims for reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II—Brian Weiner suggests a way of thinking about national misdeeds. Arguing beyond collective "innocence" or "guilt," Sins of the Parents offers a model of collective responsibility to deal with past wrongs in such a way as to reinvigorate our notion of citizenship. Drawing upon the writings of Abraham Lincoln and Hannah Arendt, Weiner offers a definition of political responsibility that at once defines citizenship and sidesteps the familial, racial, and ethnic questions that often ensnare debates about national apologies. An original contribution to political theory and practice, Sins of the Parents will become a much discussed contribution in the debate about what it is to be an American.
A memoir in short stories, Starting from Loomis chronicles the life of accomplished writer, playwright, poet, and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi. In this dynamic portrait of an aging writer trying to remember himself as a younger man, Kashiwagi recalls and reflects upon the moments, people, forces, mysteries, and choices—the things in his life that he cannot forget—that have made him who he is.
Central to this collection are Kashiwagi’s confinement at Tule Lake during World War II, his choice to answer “no” and “no” to questions 27 and 28 on the official government loyalty questionnaire, and the resulting lifelong stigma of being labeled a “No-No Boy” after his years of incarceration. His nonlinear, multifaceted writing not only reflects the fragmentations of memory induced by traumas of racism, forced removal, and imprisonment but also can be read as a bold personal response to the impossible conditions he and other Nisei faced throughout their lifetimes.
Crafted from George Hoshida’s diary and memoir, as well as letters faithfully exchanged with his wife Tamae, Taken from the Paradise Isle is an intimate account of the anger, resignation, philosophy, optimism, and love with which the Hoshida family endured their separation and incarceration during World War II.
George and Tamae Hoshida and their children were a Japanese American family who lived in Hawai‘i. In 1942, George was arrested as a “potentially dangerous alien” and interned in a series of camps over the next two years. Meanwhile, forced to leave her handicapped eldest daughter behind in a nursing home in Hawai‘i, Tamae and three daughters, including a newborn, were incarcerated at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas. George and Tamae regularly exchanged letters during this time, and George maintained a diary including personal thoughts, watercolors, and sketches. In Taken from the Paradise Isle these sources are bolstered by extensive archival documents and editor Heidi Kim’s historical contextualization, providing a new and important perspective on the tragedy of the incarceration as it affected Japanese American families in Hawai‘i.
This personal narrative of the Japanese American experience adds to the growing testimony of memoirs and oral histories that illuminate the emotional, psychological, physical, and economic toll suffered by Nikkei as the result of the violation of their civil rights during World War II.
For nearly one hundred years, basketball has been an important part of Japanese American life. Women’s basketball holds a special place in the contemporary scene of highly organized and expansive Japanese American leagues in California, in part because these leagues have produced numerous talented female players. Using data from interviews and observations, Nicole Willms explores the interplay of social forces and community dynamics that have shaped this unique context of female athletic empowerment. As Japanese American women have excelled in mainstream basketball, they have emerged as local stars who have passed on the torch by becoming role models and building networks for others.