You’d never expect John Okada and the entire literature of Japanese American incarceration to be featured in the Style magazine of the New York Times … but thanks to the passionate interest of Thessaly La Force, features director for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, her deeply felt essay is now online. It will appear in print in the Sunday Times edition on November 17th.
Many thanks to Thessaly for reaching out to Shawn Wong and myself to learn more about this history, and the life and work of John Okada in particular. The literature of Japanese American incarceration is a field that JOHN OKADA co-editor Floyd Cheung and I are researching for a new anthology scheduled for 2021.
Floyd was not present, but Greg Robinson and I were, when our volume on John Okada was honored Friday with an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
Little news emerged in the past year from the effort to stop the fence at Tule Lake — a three-mile long airport fence that would block access to the “hallowed ground” of America’s worst concentration camp.
We’ve just learned that JOHN OKADA is one of the winners of the 2019 American Book Awards. This honor is especially meaningful as it comes from the Before Columbus Foundation which, as its name suggests, recognizes “literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community” and is “a writers’ award given by other writers.”
Angelenos react to a rainstorm as Seattleites do to snow: it’s an excuse to stay home. So we have many thanks to all those who braved the rain in Los Angeles last week to come to our JOHN OKADA launch events at USC, UCLA, and the Japanese American National Museum.
The full house of 250 that packed the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM was especially memorable. The discussion was lively and it was a real treat to see so many friends there, including Martha Nakagawa, Naomi Hirahara, Karen Tei Yamashita, Nobuko Miyamoto, Tak Hoshizaki, and Masumi Izumi even flew in from Japan for the weekend. Our special guests for the event were John Okada’s children from Pasadena, Dorothea Okada and Matthew Okada, who contributed so much time in the writing of their father’s biography. [UPDATE: Here’s the Museum’s YouTube video of the entire program]:
It was a quintessentially Okada-esque rainy day in 2015 when Midwest filmmakers Bill Kubota and Steve Ozone came to Seattle to talk with me about John Okada.
I’d known Bill from our mutual support on his film on Ben Kuroki, Most Honorable Son, and my film, Conscience and the Constitution, which featured Kuroki. He and Steve were doing a new film on the Military Intelligence Service, and they wanted to know more about Okada’s service in Guam with “The Flying Eight-Ball.” We talked in my basement office, then ventured out in the rain to see the clock tower at King Street Station where the novel opens.
You can see what a nice job they did in this clip from The Registry.
Thanks to all who came to hear us speak in 2018. The schedule for the first half of 2019 is shaping up as an even busier one, with events for JOHN OKADA,CONSCIENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION, and a look back at the first Day of Remembrance. For updates on this calendar, please always check the Upcoming Events page on the main menu. Continue reading Events coming up for the first half of 2019→
It’s an extremely readable book, a must-have companion piece to Okada’s novel … Abe, who lives in Okada’s early stomping grounds of Seattle, wrote the precise, well-researched 100-page biography of the author.