Curtiss Takada Rooks

Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks is Program Coordinator of Asian Pacific American Studies and Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University whose research addresses ethnic and multiracial community and identity. He also serves on the US Japan Council Board of Directors, Japan America Society of Southern California, Board of Governors and is a member of both the West Los Angeles Japanese American United Methodist Church and Senshin Temple Adult Buddhist Association (S.A.B.A).

Updated December 2020

culture en

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column

Wonder

To close out 2020 and recognize it as a time of challenge, reckoning and coming together, we are excited to end on a strong and beautiful note with this month's feature. We are happy to host the return to Nikkei Uncovered by Mariko Fujimoto Rooks and, this time, feature Mariko alongside her father, Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks (while it's his first time in this poetry column, he is certainly no stranger to Discover Nikkei). You'll want to check out essays from both of them on the Discover Nikkei site, but first - heed their collaborative piece, this intergenerational wondering and …

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identity en

Reflections on Being Mixed, but Not Mixed Up

My mother was Japanese. My father was Black (African American). My father was Black. My mother was Japanese. I am Black. I am Japanese. I am both. I am Japanese. I am Black. I am both. 

Born during the post-WWII occupation and establishment of an ongoing U.S. military presence in Japan, my existence, and hence my “mixedness,” exists in the conflicting nexus of human interaction and government policy as both the U.S. and Japan eschewed interracial relationships, particularly among non-commissioned officers and enlisted men. But, human nature prevailed over policy, resulting in more than 50,000 marriages between U.S. military men …

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identity en

On Being Japanese American

The U.S. military occupation of Japan following World War II resulted in the largest cohort of Japanese immigration of Japanese to the U.S. since the 1924 Immigration Act. This migration of Japanese women married to U.S. soldiers drastically changed the make up and complexion of the Japanese American community as these immigrant interracial American and Japanese families brought with them multiracial Japanese/Japanese American children.

What does it mean to be Japanese? To be Black? To be both, at the same time. To be sure the world sees me as Black—I’d say African American but that would be too polite because …

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