John Okada at age 13 © Yoshito Okada family

Coming in 2023: The John Okada Centennial Year

John Okada © Yoshito Okada family
John Okada’s high school graduation portrait
© Yoshito Okada family

Novelist John Okada would have been 98 years old today. This means that two years from today, we will be observing the 100th anniversary of his birth.

To celebrate his legacy and honor his work in writing the great Japanese American wartime novel, a number of institutional partners are being recruited for a series of events to observe 2023 as the John Okada Centennial Year in his native city of Seattle. 

As established in our recent biography, John Okada,  most publications and even his gravestone cite a different date for Okada’s birth (September 23), but this is an error evidently made by his widow in the disarray following his unexpected death in 1971. His birth certificate recorded by the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health clearly states he was delivered at the family’s Merchants Hotel in Pioneer Square by midwife Sumi Tajiri on September 22, 1923, and that is the date he gave throughout his life on all his school, camp, military, and job records.

September 22, 2023. Save the date.

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