17 Essential Titles on the Japanese American Wartime Experience

On this 75th anniversary year of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced evacuation and mass incarceration of Japanese American citizens, join us in highlighting vital books by and about what Japanese American families endured during World War II.

Throughout the new administration’s first 100 days and beyond, we celebrate the voices and legacy of the incarcerated and their families and recognize our distinguished authors of books in American studies and history, critical race and ethnic studies, and social justice. The University of Washington Press is proud to have a history of publishing pathbreaking titles about the Asian American experience and the struggle for civil rights and redress. Together, let us remember American history we can’t afford to forget and continue to fight for equity and justice for all.

Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies:

The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness
By Barbara Johns
Foreword by Roger Daniels
Introduction to the diary by Sandy Kita
Forthcoming May 2017

Sent to detention camps at Puyallup, Washington, and then Minidoka in Idaho, artist Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964) documented his daily experiences in words and art. This richly illustrated book reveals the rare find of a large and heretofore unknown collection of art produced during World War II. The centerpiece of the collection is Fujii’s illustrated diary that historian Roger Daniels called “the most remarkable document created by a Japanese American prisoner during the wartime incarceration.”

Barbara Johns presents the artist’s life story and his achievements within the social and political context of the time. Sandy Kita, the artist’s grandson, provides translations and an introduction to the diary. The Hope of Another Spring is a significant contribution to Asian American studies, American and regional history, and art history.

enduringconviction-bannaiEnduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice
By Lorraine K. Bannai

Bannai brings an insider’s knowledge to the famous legal case of Fred Korematsu, a man interned by the government under Executive Order 9066, but whose conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court decades later. Lorraine Bannai served on the legal team that represented Korematsu in reopening his case in the 1980s.

A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States
By Gordon K. Hirabayashi
With James A. Hirabayashi and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

In 1943, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and mass removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned as a result. In A Principled Stand, Gordon’s brother James and nephew Lane have brought together his prison diaries and voluminous wartime correspondence to tell the story of Hirabayashi v. United States, the Supreme Court case that in 1943 upheld and on appeal in 1987 vacated his conviction. For the first time, the events of the case are told in Gordon’s own words. The result is a compelling and intimate story that reveals what motivated him, how he endured, and how his ideals changed and deepened as he fought discrimination and defended his beliefs.

Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River
By Linda Tamura

“An important book about a shameful era in the history of the Columbia gorge. . . . Tamura uses interviews and newly uncovered documents to tell a shocking story.”—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

This compelling story of courage, community, endurance, and reparation shares the experiences of Japanese Americans (Nisei) from Hood River, Oregon, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and faced The soldiers were from Hood River, Oregon, where their families were landowners and fruit growers. Town leaders, including veterans’ groups, attempted to prevent their return after the war and stripped their names from the local war memorial. All of the soldiers were American citizens, but their parents were Japanese immigrants and had been imprisoned in camps as a consequence of Executive Order 9066. The racist homecoming that the Hood River Japanese American soldiers received was decried across the nation.

Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHMcFdmixLk

Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita
By Barbara Johns
Foreword by Stephen H. Sumida

“A fascinating book that accomplishes more than one purpose. The first part is a biography of Tokita . . . the second is Tokita’s diary from 1941-44. . . . Signs of Home includes plenty of examples that prove his status as an important regional artist.”—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

This beautiful and poignant biography of Issei artist Kamekichi Tokita uses his paintings and wartime diary to vividly illustrate the experiences, uncertainties, joys, and anxieties of Japanese Americans during the World War II internment and the more optimistic times that preceded it.

Classics of Asian American Literature:

Citizen 13660
By Miné Okubo
Introduction by Christine Hong

“This forerunner to the modern graphic memoir is a must read, both for the important—and shameful—period of American history it documents and its poignant beauty.”—The Chicago Tribune

Miné Okubo’s graphic memoir of life in relocation centers in California and Utah illuminates this experience with poignant illustrations and witty, candid text. Now available with a new introduction and in a wide-format artist edition, this graphic novel can reach a new generation of readers and scholars.

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family
By Yoshiko Uchida
Introduction by Traise Yamamoto

“A sensitive, readable account that captures with insight and human warmth the feel of what it was like to be sent by one’s own government into exile in the wilderness. It is a work worthy of an unforgettable experience.”—Pacific Citizen

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, everything changed for Yoshiko Uchida. Desert Exile is the autobiographical account of her life before and during World War II. The book does more than relate the day-to-day experience of living in stalls at the Tanforan Racetrack, the assembly center just south of San Francisco, and in the Topaz, Utah, internment camp. It tells the story of the courage and strength displayed by those who were interned.

Nisei Daughter
By Monica Sone
Introduction by Marie Rose Wong

“Sone reminds us that the anti-Japanese sentiment and threat of war [was] looming over them. . . but it doesn’t stop the family members from going forward with their lives—showing the kind of strength we all wish we had.”—Samantha Pak, Northwest Asian Weekly

With charm, humor, and deep understanding, Monica Sone tells what it was like to grow up Japanese American on Seattle’s waterfront in the 1930s and to be subjected to “relocation” during World War II. Her unique and personal account is a true classic of Asian American literature.

No-No Boy
By John Okada
Foreword by Ruth Ozeki
Introduction by Lawson Fusao Inada and Frank Chin

“Asian American readers will appreciate the sensitivity and integrity with which the late John Okada wrote about his own group. He heralded the beginning of an authentic Japanese American literature.”—Gordon Hirabayashi, Pacific Affairs

Originally published in the 1950s, No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life “no-no boys.” Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.

Yokohama, California
By Toshio Mori
Introduction to the 2015 edition by Xiaojing Zhou

“Mori’s superbly structured short stories are . . . tender, evocative episodes of growing up as a Japanese American prior to World War II.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Yokohama, California, originally released in 1949, is the first published collection of short stories by a Japanese American. Set in a fictional community, these linked stories are alive with the people, gossip, humor, and legends of Japanese America in the 1930s and 1940s.

Also of interest:

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