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.
Our graphic novel We Hereby Refuse weaves together the stories of three Nisei who refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight. On Sept. 18 we got to meet three of their children and hear what they think about the book.
There was no reason on earth for me to have been born in Cleveland, Ohio, other than the policy of the War Relocation Authority to disperse families released from camp to cities in the East and Midwest.
That’s the untapped history explored by Edgar Award-winning mystery novelist Naomi Hirahara in her groundbreaking new book CLARK AND DIVISION, centered on the postwar resettlement of Japanese Americans in Chicago. We had a delightful virtual conversation for the Elliott Bay Book Company on August 16:
“Seattle Now & Then” is a long-time fixture of Seattle media created by historian and photographer Paul Dorpat in 1982. The column is now produced by historian and photographer Jean Sherrard, who published the feature below on our graphic novel in the Seattle Times, online on August 5, 2021, and in the Pacific NW Magazine of the print Times on August 8, 2021. Jean also posted a 12-minute audio interview with Frank Abe on YouTube, shared below.
This is a good news/bad news kind of post. The good news is that We Hereby Refusehas found its audience and flown off the shelves and out of the warehouses. Our first printing of 3,000 has sold out in just three weeks, and our publisher Chin Music Press has ordered a second printing of 3,000. Our title has held at #1 in various niche categories on Amazon.
The day has arrived. It’s been a long journey, but it’s finally May 18, the publication date for We Hereby Refuse.
More than 1,100 books were shipped from the distributor by last Friday, Pre-orders are reportedly still working their way through the distribution chains at Bookshop.org and Amazon and may take a few more days to arrive in mailboxes. Continue reading “WE HEREBY REFUSE” published today→