Category Archives: John Okada

John Okada’s college year in Nebraska recalled at opening of historic Japanese Hall

exhibit display
Courtesy of Vickie Schaepler.

John Okada spent only three weeks with his family at the WRA camp in Minidoka, Idaho, before he was granted indefinite leave through the National Student Relocation Council to attend Scottsbluff Junior College in Nebraska. His year at Scottsbluff is now being recalled as part of a new display at today’s grand opening of the Japanese Hall and History Project at the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering, Nebraska.
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Okada graffiti preserved at historic Nippon Kan Theater

The Okada signature survives! When I first came to Seattle in 1977, poet and playwright Garrett Hongo brought me backstage to the empty Nippon Kan Theater to show me a wall of graffiti with the name of a juvenile John Okada, painstaking inked into the stone. It was like touching a piece of history. Continue reading Okada graffiti preserved at historic Nippon Kan Theater

Mystery writers honor John Okada at Left Coast Crime convention

posterIn addition to the presentation of awards for best new mysteries, the writers and fans at the annual Left Coast Crime convention. also recognize a “Ghost of Honor,” someone who is no longer with us who inspires them. For their 2024 Seattle Shakedown convention in Bellevue, the writers and fans recognized novelist John Okada in his centennial year as their Ghost of Honor. Continue reading Mystery writers honor John Okada at Left Coast Crime convention

Full house for kickoff of the John Okada Centennial

John Okada never received the recognition he deserved in his lifetime. Since then, his work has earned him a place in world literature. I’d like to think Okada would have been pleased to see the turnout in his hometown on the occasion of his 100th birthday and the kickoff of the John Okada Centennial celebration.

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New adaptation of “NO-NO BOY” workshopped at Seattle Rep

binderOne-hundred years ago today, John Okada was born in Seattle. It’s also a day on which I can finally reveal that I’m developing the script for a new theater adaption of Okada’s landmark novel, No-No Boy.

Desdemona Chiang
Noted stage directgor Desdemona Chiang

For four days this week I’ve had the privilege of working with the Seattle Rep, our flagship regional theater, under the auspices of “The Other Season,” its New Plays series. The Rep hired the brilliant theater director Desdemona Chiang to work with me and a talented cast of professional Equity actors. Under union rules we were not allowed to advertise or talk about the workshop until it was over. Continue reading New adaptation of “NO-NO BOY” workshopped at Seattle Rep

The Seattle Public Library celebrates the John Okada Centennial

John Okada © Yoshito Okada familyNovelist John Okada would have been 100 years old had he lived to September 22, 2023. To celebrate his legacy and honor his work in writing the great Japanese American novel, The Seattle Public Library has engaged me to curate a series of programs around the John Okada Centennial.
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Putting John Okada on the Seattle Literary Map

mapThanks to Seattle City of Literature, we’ve put John Okada on the map — the Seattle Literary Map

It’s with good reason that Seattle is one of two U.S. cities to be designated as a UNESCO City of Literature. Besides our active literary scene, it was the birthplace or home to some of America’s most notable writers, including the author of No-No BoyContinue reading Putting John Okada on the Seattle Literary Map

Resisters, Redress and John Okada On Display at Wing Luke Museum

A belated post to catch up on the October 14 opening of the RESISTERS: A Legacy of Movement From the Japanese American Incarceration at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. It’s certainly my kind of subject, so I’m grateful to Mikala Woodward and her team at the Wing for accepting some of my suggestions for display out of our discussions on the Citizens Advisory Committee. Some things pulled off my wall and bookshelf for this show, but keep reading to learn about one exceptional hidden gem in this exhibit.

National Day of Remembrance tops February events

As the month for the annual Day of Remembrance, February is always the busiest time of year for speaking requests. This year being the 80th anniversary of EO 9066, A friend counted 33 DOR events nationwide. I have nine on the books myself, a personal record, including four on February 19th.
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