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

From Page to Stage: Adapting NO-NO BOY for Today’s Theater

Photo: Elaine Ikoma Ko

Many thanks to Seattle Rep Literary Manager and Dramaturg Paul Adolphsen for so expertly leading the October 24 panel on our work to adapt John Okada’s No-No Boy for the theater. This was the second in the series of panels I’ve been curating for the Seattle Public Library on the occasion of the John Okada Centennial.
Continue reading From Page to Stage: Adapting NO-NO BOY for Today’s Theater

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.

audience Continue reading Full house for kickoff of the John Okada Centennial

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.
Continue reading The Seattle Public Library celebrates the John Okada Centennial

Coming May 2024: The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration

Floyd Cheung and I are pleased to announce that our new anthology, The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration, will be published as a Penguin Classic on May 14, 2024. You can now pre-order the book from your neighborhood independent bookstore, or from one of these online sellers.
Continue reading Coming May 2024: The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration

In Memoriam: Martha Nakagawa, resistance storyteller

This is one of the hardest things I’ve had to contemplate writing. These In Memoriam posts have mostly been devoted to celebrating the lives and marking the passage of Nisei wartime resisters and those whose lives they’ve touched. I know I’m not alone in still being in a state of shock at having to memorialize the life of someone so young and vital as Martha Nakagawa of Los Angeles.
Continue reading In Memoriam: Martha Nakagawa, resistance storyteller

Finding the true location of the Tule Lake Stockade

Hiroshi holding photoThe Tule Lake Stockade was “an instrument of terror in camp. You could be arrested with no hearing and no charge, just picked up. You didn’t know who you could talk to safely, or what to say. If you were picked up, what you said was the reason. And whoever heard that might be the inu who informed on you. This created real paranoia in camp.”
Continue reading Finding the true location of the Tule Lake Stockade

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

The history and literature of Japanese American resistance to wartime incarceration