Category Archives: News

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

“The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration” published today as a Penguin Classic

cover of Penguin anthologyThe Literature of Japanese American Incarceration hits bookstore shelves today. You will finally be able to walk into a shop and buy a copy to take home. With their iconic black-and-white-and-orange covers, everyone has read or seen a Penguin Classic at some point in their lifetime. Whenever a character carries one in a movie, it’s a visual shorthand to signal the character is a scholar or book nerd. Continue reading “The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration” published today as a Penguin Classic

Video livestream: Three short films on the Heart Mountain resisters

May 11, 2024 will be the 22nd anniversary of National JACL’s apology in 2002 to what Paul Tsuneishi liked to call the “resisters of conscience.” To mark the occasion, Kimiko Marr and Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages are producing a video livestream this Tuesday, May 14th, at 5:00 pm PDT/ 8:00 pm EDT that I’ve agreed to host.  Continue reading Video livestream: Three short films on the Heart Mountain resisters

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

Audiobook and table of contents for Penguin anthology

fire circle with men silhouetted inside a canvas tent
The square artwork for the audiobook version of “The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration.”

I could not believe there would be interest in an audiobook of our anthology of camp literature coming May 14, but as a Facebook friend pointed out, having a set of audio readings is not just entertainment for long road trips or jogging with earbuds, but an essential access for the visually impaired. Continue reading Audiobook and table of contents for Penguin anthology

Five Events for the 2024 Day of Remembrance

Who knew when we started the Day of Remembrance that I’d still be talking about it 45 years later. Nevertheless, here we are, hitting the road for five DOR events in 2024. For further updates as the month progresses, check the Events page.
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New animation puts drawings of “We Hereby Refuse” into motion

book coverAfter two years in the making, congratulations to Shannon Gee and her team at the Seattle Channel for producing this animation of the Jim Akutsu story from We Hereby Refuse.

The 14-minute video makes its cable-tv debut tonight at 7:00 pm as part of their award-winning “Community Stories” series. The animation very cleverly adds motion to the drawings of Ross Ishikawa in capturing just the first part of the Akutsu story from the arrest of his father up to the family’s arrival at the Puyallup Assembly Center, with a full rundown of the JACL collaboration that Jim detested.
Continue reading New animation puts drawings of “We Hereby Refuse” into motion

Project to translate and republish the literary magazines of Tule Lake

Tule Lake is the final frontier for the study of Japanese American incarceration. After 80 years, the Segregation Center at Tule Lake remains the least-understood and most-avoided subject in polite Japanese American society. And the fiction and poetry written by the Issei and Kibei Nisei during this tumultuous period and published in the camp’s literary magazines has languished unread by those who can’t read Japanese. A new project launched last month at the University of California at Berkeley promises to change that. Continue reading Project to translate and republish the literary magazines of Tule Lake