Category Archives: Current Events

April 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Seattle Magazine features director Nicole Mitchell and the University of Washington Press in a Spotlight piece: “The University of Washington Press is making a big noise in publishing circles. . . . Whether you’re an academic looking to wow undergrads with a reading list or a general reader aiming to wow yourself, the century-old press has a must-read book for you and an undeniable dynamism.”—Florangela Davila

Indian Blood by Andrew J. Jolivette is a finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award (“Lammy”) in LGBTQ Studies. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on June 12, 2017 in New York City. Congratulations to the author and all involved!

Reviews and Interviews

KOMO Radio “Midday News” interviews David B. Williams about Seattle WalksThe National Association of Science Writers (NASW) news and features includes an interview with the author.


Alaska Dispatch News/We Alaskans reviews Menadelook edited by Eileen Norbert: “The story of Menadelook’s life is fascinating and well told and would be a worthy book even without the photographs, but to have the pictures as well makes this volume a treasure. . . . Much like the Menadelook we meet in these pages, this book is modest on the surface, but its contribution to Alaska is profound. It presents a world that would be completely vanished but for the presence of one man and his camera.”—David A. James

NBC Asian America picks Troubling Borders edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Miriam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen as one of its “Six Asian-American Memoirs to Read for Women’s History Month”: “The wide variety of stories told dispel stereotypes and take on the complex challenges of colonialism, militarization, love, resistance, family, migration, and more. They reveal the intersectional and multilayered experiences of Southeast Asian women in the diaspora.”


Seattle Weekly/Seattle Review of Books reviews Kevin Craft’s Vagrants & Accidentals: “The University of Washington Press’ Pacific Northwest Poetry Series has shepherded a gorgeous new collection of Craft’s poetry into being: Vagrants & Accidentals, which feels like a book that’s been bottled up for a decade, just waiting to be introduced to an unsuspecting world. The poetry in Vagrants is eager and obsessed with big ideas like evolution and the act of becoming. . . . Craft argues that without the eyes to see and the lips to speak and the fingers to write, the world may as well not have existed at all. On that same wavelength, a Seattle without Craft’s poetry in it would be a forgettable dot on a map. He breathes life into our world, as an editor, a publisher, and most definitely as a poet.”—Paul Constant

NPR.org’s The Salt blog interviews Puer Tea author Jinghong Zhang in a post about the sought-after fermented tea.


Pacific NW Magazine features an excerpt from Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard.


Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog features Reclaimers by Ana Maria Spagna in a round-up of OR’s favorite women’s adventure books: “The most influential book I’ve read recently. . . . It’s not a typical story of adventure, but I found it absolutely motivating to get out and learn about our wild places, cherish them, and listen to the stories of people who call them home. It also makes very clear that adventure is not just found high up on a rock face or in a deep snowy couloir – the world is full of places to take risks and dive deep into, to be curious and ambitious and wild and bold.”—Jenny Abegg

“Interfaith Voices” interviews Sanctuary and Asylum author Linda Rabben in an episode about “Welcoming the Stranger.”


KEXP’s “Mind Over Matters Sustainability Segment” interviews Native Seattle author Coll Thrush.


A KUOW interview with Dismembered coauthor David E. Wilkins about the NookSack Tribe aired on “All Things Considered.”


Anchorage Press reviews The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes: “In a lyrically intoxicating style, Ernestine Hayes crafts a . . . mesmerizing story-telling, an alternative world, that reveals as much, if not more, about how our society works, or does not work, for today’s Alaskan Native citizen. . . . Her bold study marries the tragedies of her life with the greater horrors perpetrated upon Alaskan Natives. . . . Hayes manages to wrangle a promising, optimistic tinged message as she closes out her autopsy of what has gone awry. In her inimitable, metaphorical style she voices cause for hope – a prayer that all is not forsaken.”—David Fox


KUOW’s “Speakers Forum” aired a talk by Looking for Betty MacDonald author Paula Becker in celebration of Betty MacDonald’s 110th birthday on March 26.

New Books

A Year Right Here: Adventures with Food and Family in the Great Nearby
By Jess Thomson

Armed with “The Here List” and a Type-A personality, Seattle-based writer and cookbook author Jess Thomson sets out to spend a year exploring the food of the Pacific Northwest with her family. Planning to revel in the culinary riches of the region and hoping to break her son, Graham, of his childhood pickiness, the adventures into the great nearby include building a backyard chicken coop, truffle hunting in Oregon, and razor clamming on the Washington coast. With touching, funny, sometimes devastating stories that we all can relate to, Jess pulls the reader in as she abandons “The Here List” and learns that letting go can be just as important as holding on.

Join us for these author events:

March 30 at 7 p.m., University Book Store, Seattle, WA

April 17 at 7 p.m., Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 20 at 7 p.m., Village Books, Bellingham, WA

April 22 at 7 p.m., Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

April 23 at 7 p.m., Powell’s City of Books in conversation with Diane Morgan, Portland, OR

May 8 at 6:30 p.m., Book Larder, Seattle, WA

The Propeller under the Bed: A Personal History of Homebuilt Aircraft
By Eileen A. Bjorkman

On July 25, 2010, Arnold Ebneter (82) flew across the country in a plane he designed and built himself, setting an aviation world record for aircraft of its class. Pilot and aeronautical engineer Bjorkman frames her father’s journey from teen plane enthusiast to Air Force pilot and Boeing engineer in the context of the rise, near extermination, and ongoing interest in homebuilt aircraft in the United States, and gives us a glimpse into life growing up in a “flying family.”

Idle Talk under the Bean Arbor: A Seventeenth-Century Chinese Story Collection
By Aina the Layman
With Ziran the Eccentric Wanderer
Edited by Robert E. Hegel

This landmark collection of twelve short stories from the early Qing (Doupeng xianhua) uses the seemingly innocuous setting of neighbors swapping yarns on hot summer days to create a series of stories that embody deep disillusionment with traditional values. The tales, ostensibly told by different narrators, parody heroic legends and explore issues that contributed to the fall of the Ming dynasty a couple of decades before. These stories speak to all troubled times, demanding that readers confront the pretense that may lurk behind moralistic stances. This collection presents all twelve stories in English translation along with notes from the original commentator, as well as a helpful introduction and analysis of individual stories.

The Nature of Whiteness: Race, Animals, and Nation in Zimbabwe
By Yuka Suzuki

This vivid ethnography explores the intertwining of race and nature in postindependence Zimbabwe. Nature and environment have played prominent roles in white Zimbabwean identity, and when the political tide turned against white farmers after independence, nature was the most powerful resource they had at their disposal. Suzuki provides a balanced study of whiteness, the conservation of nature, and contested belonging in twenty-first century southern Africa. The Nature of Whiteness is a fascinating account of human-animal relations and the interplay among categories of race and nature in this embattled landscape.

Book of the Month Giveaways

Enter to win one of this month’s picks! (Open to US residents only.)

  1. A Year Right Here by Jess Thomson (Entry form)
  2. Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman (Entry form)

The giveaways will close on on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The giveaway winners will be notified by Monday, April 10, 2017.

Events

APRIL

April 5 at 6:30 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Omnivore Books, San Francisco, CA

April 5 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 6 at 6 p.m., Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley, Free Boy, Performance of Free Boy, the musical, MOHAI Free First Thursday, Free performance of Free Boy, the musical, by 5th Avenue Theatre’s Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company, Seattle, WA

April 6 at 7 p.m., Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, Black Women in Sequence, African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA

April 7 at 5 p.m., Judy Bentley, Hiking Washington’s History, Words, Writers, and West Seattle, Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, Seattle, WA

April 8 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

April 15 at 2 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Neverending Bookshop, Bothell, WA

April 17 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 22 at 6:30 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

April 20 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

April 22-23, 2017, Darren Speece, Defending Giants, Nonfiction: Nature & Politics, Conversation 1095, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (University of Southern California), Los Angeles, CA

April 22 at 10:30 a.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Tacoma Public Library, Kobetich branch, with King’s Books

April 22 at 2 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Tacoma Public Library, Wheelock branch, with King’s Books

April 22 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

April 23 at 2 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, Everett Public Library, Everett, WA

April 23 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR; in conversation with Diane Morgan

April 27 at 7 p.m., Linda Rabben, Sanctuary and Asylum, Annapolis Bookstore, Annapolis, MD (Monthly Book Club selection)

April 29 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Larder, signing for Independent Bookstore Day, Seattle, WA

April 30 at 4 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA

MAY

May 2 at 7:30 p.m., Carolyne Wright, Kathya Alexander, Laura Da’, Jana Harris, and Holly J. Hughes, Raising Lilly Ledbetter (Lost Horse Press), Town Hall Seattle, Seattle, WA (Tickets $5)

May 3, 2017 at 6 p.m., 12th Annual Literary Voices, Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots; Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald; Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed; Moon-ho Jung, The Rising Tide of Color; Tom Reese & Eric Wagner, Once and Future River; Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here; Thaisa Way, The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag; Margaret Willson, Seawomen of Iceland; North Ballroom at the HUB. Tickets: $150 per person; $1,500 per table, register online

May 5 – 6, Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Dani Cornejo and Nicole Yanes on Opata language and culture revival, “The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ“ Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

May 6 at 11 a.m., Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Book signing and fly-in at Harvey Field, Snohomish, WA

May 7 at 7 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

May 8 at 6:30 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Larder, Seattle, WA

May 11 at 6 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Darvill’s Bookstore, Orcas Island, WA

May 12 – 13, Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan, translated by Stephen Durrant, Wai-Yee Li, and David Schaberg, UCLA International Institute Asia Pacific Center, Taiwan Studies Lectureship Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA

March 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Our job posting for the 2017-2018 Mellon Diversity Fellow is now live and we are accepting applications through March 15. If you know of excellent candidates, please send them our way!

Reviews and Interviews


The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog features No-No Boy by John Okada: “Reading No-No Boy, this week, it no longer seemed bound to its past; it felt like a prophecy, a cosmic tragedy, a message in a bottle that arrives a half century later.”—Hua Hsu


A collaborative piece with PRI’s Global Nation Education and Densho mentions Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660 in an article about activists working to keep the story of Executive Order 9066 alive today. Bustle also features the book in a round-up of “10 Graphic Novels Written by Activists That You Need to Read Now More Than Ever”: “Heartbreaking, candid. . . . Okubo recounts her experience with poignancy and a surprising amount of humor.”—Charlotte Ahlin

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Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary Events: #NeverAgainIsNow

The annual Day of Remembrance commemorates the day in 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the authorization leading to the mass incarceration of around 120,000 Japanese American citizens in concentration camps during World War II, without due process of law. For this 75th anniversary year, our authors, publishing partners, and our campus, regional, and national communities are remembering and teaching about this important history and discussing the connections between Japanese American incarceration, the Holocaust, and civil rights and racism today.

The Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary event tomorrow presented by the Nisei Veterans Committee, the Holocaust Center for Humanity, the UW Department of American Ethnic Studies, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle features Lorraine K. Bannai (author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice), Tetsuden Kashima (author of Judgment without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment During World War II), and Dee Simon, Baral Family Executive Director of the Holocaust Center for Humanity. It is the first of three planned events in a Holocaust and Japanese American Connections series. For Sunday’s Day of Remembrance event, Never Again, Densho, CAIR-WA, and ACLU of Washington examine how this vital history relates to the struggle for civil rights today and explores how to prevent harassment and discrimination of American Muslims.

We hope you will join for these and other important events and discussions around the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the Day of Remembrance. Remembering is resistance!

Events

FEBRUARY

February 18 at 1 p.m., Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary, “How Could Concentration Camps Happen?” with Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, Tetsuden Kashima, Judgment without Trial, and Dee Simon, University of Washington, Kane Hall 120, Seattle, WA (Reception follows at 3:30 p.m. in the Walker-Ames Room of Kane Hall)

February 19 at 2 p.m., Never Again: 75th Anniversary of EO 9066, Presented by Densho in partnership with CAIR-Washington State and ACLU of Washington, hosted by The Seattle Public Library at Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA (Livestream available; #NeverAgainIsNow)

February 27 at 6 p.m., Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, High Desert Museum, Bend, OR

MARCH

March 3 at 5 p.m., Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, Words, Writers, and West Seattle, Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, Seattle, WA

March 7 at 6 p.m., Noriko Kawamura, Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War, Pritzker Military Museum & Library lecture and livestream (Turbulence in the Pacific: Japanese-U.S. Relations During World War I), Chicago, IL ($10; Free for members)

March 15 at 7 p.m., Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, with Sydney Blaine, Jack Sheppard, Joan & Dorothy Laurance, Sense of Place lecture series, Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River, OR

March 27 at 7 p.m., Linda Tamura, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, McMenamins History, Oregon Historical Society, and Holy Names Heritage Center, History Pub, Kennedy School, Portland, OR

February 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

We are pleased to announce that Catherine Cocks is joining our acquisitions team as Senior Acquisition Editor, starting February 15. She started her career in academic publishing at SAR Press, the publishing arm of the School for Advanced Research, where she established the cutting-edge series in Global Indigenous Politics, among other accomplishments. She worked most recently at the University of Iowa Press, where she is currently Editorial Director. Please join us in welcoming Catherine to the press!

The University of Washington Press has five selected entries in the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) 2017 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. Congratulations to the designers, our Editorial, Design, and Production department, and all involved!

Nine University of Washington Press authors will be participating in the 12th Annual Literary Voices event on May 3, 2017. Annie Proulx is this year’s keynote speaker.

Reviews and Interviews

The Times Literary Supplement reviews Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard: “Engelhard has an apt and unusual background for a book such as this. . . . Among the strengths of Ice Bear is its grasp of the rituals by which humans have always aspired to draw the strength of the polar bear into themselves.”—Mark Abley

The Spectator also reviews the book: “[A] beautifully illustrated, hugely engaging book. . . . For all its nightmare-haunting power, however, the aspect of the polar bear that really makes it an icon of the age is its vulnerability . . . . Another merit of the book is the author’s willingness to track these themes to their origins.”—Mark Cocker

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2017 International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In November 2005 the United Nations General Assembly officially designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to honor the victims of the Holocaust and learn from the past in order to prevent future acts of genocide.

We remember the millions of Jews and countless other minorities that were killed during the Holocaust under the Nazi regime—and recognize that genocide and crimes against humanity start with words. There has never been a more important time to remember what happens if we stay silent in the face of hate speech and propaganda.

Below we feature a few of our most recent titles in Holocaust studies:

Losing Trust in the World: Holocaust Scholars Confront Torture
Edited by Leonard Grob and John K. Roth

The contributors to this volume use their expertise in Holocaust studies to reflect on ethical, religious, and legal aspects of torture then and now. Their inquiry grapples with the euphemistic language often used to disguise torture and with the question of whether torture ever constitutes a “necessary evil.” Differences of opinion reverberate, raising deeper questions: Can trust be restored? What steps can we as individuals and as a society take to move closer to a world in which torture is unthinkable?

Facing Death: Confronting Mortality in the Holocaust and Ourselves
Edited by Sarah K. Pinnock

What do we learn about death from the Holocaust and how does it impact our responses to mortality today?This volume brings together the work of eleven Holocaust and genocide scholars who address these difficult questions, convinced of the urgency of further reflection on the Holocaust as the last survivors pass away.

 

Also of interest:

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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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Remembering Pearl Harbor 75 years later: Excerpt from “Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War” by Noriko Kawamura

Wedemperorhirohito-kawamuranesday, December 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that thrust the United States into World War II. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with US president Barack Obama later this month, making Abe the first Japanese leader to visit the site of the attack since 1941 (Washington Post). This excerpt from Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War by Noriko Kawamura explores the decision by Japan to go to war with the United States.

The final decision to commence war with the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands was made at the imperial conference on December 1. The nearly two-hour-long meeting simply formalized the decision for war that had already been made a month earlier, and “His Majesty, ever the silent spectator of the scene,” as Robert Butow puts it, “left the chamber.”  It is not too difficult to document the emperor’s personal agony and hesitation to sanction the final decision for war. Deputy Grand Chamberlain Kanroji Osanaga recalled in his memoir,

The anguish he [the emperor] suffered on the eve of war with America was extreme. . . . At such times the emperor would be in his room alone. . . . But we could hear him pacing the floor, sometimes muttering to himself, and we knew that something had happened again, and was worrying him, but it was not our place to ask what. The pacing would continue for a long time, each step resounding painfully in our minds, so that we wished to stop up our ears.

On November 26, the emperor suggested to Tojo that the jushin attend the imperial conference to deliberate the war question, but the prime minister did not accept that idea.  Instead, the emperor invited eight jushin to a luncheon on November 29 and listened to their opinions for about an hour afterward. Although recognizing the grave situation Japan was facing in the wake of the failed negotiations with the United States, most of the jushin expressed doubts or hesitation about making a hasty decision for war, but without directly saying that it was not the right time to go to war.  If the emperor was looking for a strong voice against war from the jushin, he must have been disappointed. Later he recalled, “The opinions of those who were against war were abstract, but the cabinet argued for war by providing numbers to back up its case, and therefore, to my regret, I did not have power to curb the argument in favor of war.”

On November 30, the day before an imperial conference was to be convened to endorse a final war decision, the emperor briefly withheld his order to convene the meeting, after being told by his brother, Prince Takamatsu, that the navy still had lingering doubts about going to war with the United States. Neither the emperor nor his brother was able to get rid of worries that Japan might not be able to win the war. The emperor consulted with Kido, who in turn advised him to summon Navy Minister Shimada and Chief of the Naval General Staff Nagano and ask for their candid opinions.

According to Navy Minister Shimada’s November 30 diary entry, the two admirals had an audience with the emperor for twenty-five minutes in the evening. The emperor asked them, “The time is getting pressed: an arrow is about to leave a bow. Once an arrow is fired, it will become a long-drawnout war, but are you ready to carry it out as planned?” Admiral Nagano expressed the navy’s firm resolve to carry out an attack, upon receiving an imperial mandate (taimei ), and told the emperor, “The task force will arrive 1,800 ri  [4,392 miles] west of Oahu by tomorrow.” The emperor turned to Admiral Shimada and asked, “As navy minister, are you prepared in every aspect?” Shimada replied, “Both men and supplies are fully prepared and we are waiting for an imperial mandate.” The emperor continued, “What would happen if Germany stopped fighting in Europe?” The navy minister replied, “I do not think Germany is a truly reliable country. Even if Germany withdrew, we would not be affected.” At the end of the audience, “in order to make the emperor feel at ease,” in Shimada’s words, the navy chief and the navy minister guaranteed a successful attack on Pearl Harbor and the navy’s resolve to win the war at all cost. The navy minister observed that “the emperor appeared to be satisfied.”  After the audience, the emperor told Kido that Shimada and Nagano were “reasonably confident” about the war, and consequently he approved of holding an imperial conference the next day, as originally scheduled. This was the point of no return.

Thus, the role that Emperor Showa played in Japan’s decision to go to war with the United States could be compared to Max Weber’s discussion of the absolute monarch who is “impotent in face of the superior specialized knowledge of the bureaucracy.” The emperor was personally against war with the United States and exerted his influence to delay the war decision for one and a half months; but his influence was circumscribed within the nebulous triangular power relationship among court, government, and military. Emperor Hirohito eventually succumbed to the persistent pressure of the military bureaucracy and accepted the argument that war was inevitable and possibly winnable. But though Hirohito eventually sanctioned the government’s war decision, he was never free from the fear that his country might lose the war.