Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/authors/newman-esther/

Esther Newman

@esnewman

Esther Newman grew up in California. After college and a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she returned to school to study twentieth century American history. While in graduate school, she became interested in her family’s history which led to research on topics affecting the Japanese Diaspora including internment, migration and assimilation. She is retired but her interest in writing about and supporting organizations related to these subjects continues.

Updated November 2021


Stories from This Author

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The Unknown Great: Expanding History, Widening the Focus

Feb. 12, 2024 • Esther Newman

Until recently, the history of Japanese Americans was documented almost wholly by looking at the WWII years. Whether they were seen as victims of forced removal and internment or as heroes while serving in the military, certain stereotypes of the group prevailed: stoicism, insularity, group consciousness, and “gaman” translated as perseverance or tolerance. But there remained an overlooked history that could expand that narrative. Greg Robinson’s latest book, The Unknown Great, written with Jonathan Van Harmelen, explores new topics and …

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Power of Our Stories
In American Dream

Nov. 27, 2023 • Esther Newman

There are as many ways to tell a story as there are stories. Historians, novelists, and artists of every conceivable medium have all chronicled the unjust internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. But an opera?   Turns out, opera has always been the perfect medium to capture the emotions of highly charged dramatic events. Hawai‘i Opera Theatre’s recent production of An American Dream demonstrated exactly that. With exceptional performances, costumes and set designs, this modern opera captured the anguish and difficult choices …

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Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30
For Kyra Karatsu—Writing is a Foregone Conclusion

Aug. 18, 2023 • Esther Newman

Where does talent come from? Is it inherited or learned? Nature or nurture? According to the BBC’s Science Focus, the answer is both. However, “some people are born with greater potential, but without hard work and practicing, their talent will come to nothing.” This must have been written with Kyra Karatsu in mind. Her grandmother was a long time JANM volunteer and her great-aunt was a talented writer. While they may have paved the path, it’s Kyra who’s taken steps …

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Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Love in the Library—A story for children, a lesson for grown-ups

June 23, 2023 • Esther Newman

Maggie Tokuda-Hall is an award winning author of children’s and young adult (YA) books. Her titles include Also an Octopus, about an octopus who builds a space ship, The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea, about, well, you guessed it, a mermaid and a witch, and Squad, a coming-of-age story featuring teenage werewolves. But her most recent book, Love in the Library, published in 2022, is firmly rooted in real life. It’s the story of how her grandparents met and …

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Defining Courage: A Tribute to Nisei WWII Heroes Comes To Hawaii

April 5, 2023 • Esther Newman

Defining Courage—produced by Story Boldly and the Emmy Award-winning team of Jeff MacIntyre and David Ono—tells the story of the remarkable contributions and sacrifices made by 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, and the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. The Nisei members of these segregated units were subjected to prejudice at home and abroad but through countless acts of courage, came to be known as America’s finest, fiercest, and most decorated …

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Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30
Miye Sugino—Art as Advocacy: “To me, art is a reclamation of identity”

Jan. 2, 2023 • Esther Newman

As one of JANM’s 30 Changemakers Under 30, Miye Sugino had amassed an impressive body of work and accomplishment most adults never achieve, all before receiving her high school diploma. Miye’s art and writing has gained national and international recognition including being one of twenty U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts through the National Young Arts Foundation. In addition, she has been an art mentor at San Quentin Prison through Empowerment Avenue and an intern at Loyola Law School’s Project …

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Power of Our Stories
The Power of Persistence: Tour Manzanar with Nell Yukiye Murphy

Oct. 24, 2022 • Esther Newman

Nell Yukiye Murphy knows the importance of keeping a significant part of Japanese American history alive and she also knows the power of persistence. That makes her a natural choice to be profiled for Discover Nikkei’s series, The Power of Our Stories. Nell has developed and produced a virtual tour of Manzanar, “Journey to Manzanar,” and thanks to her persistence, it’s now accessible to everyone.  Nell Murphy is from Northeast Los Angeles and at 18 years of age, she’s already …

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Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30
Vini Taguchi, A Civil Engineer for Social Justice—Part 2

July 28, 2022 • Esther Newman

Read Part 1 >> Joining the JACL The Kakehashi program was Vini’s first experience where all the participants were Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. “I immediately discovered that I felt more at home in this community than I ever had with my Japanese friends because suddenly I was in a diverse group of Americans with varying racial identities and Japanese language abilities where my background was still unique but not so ‘different’ as it normally was.” “After the Kakehashi trip,” wrote …

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Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30
Vini Taguchi: A Civil Engineer for Social Justice—Part 1

July 27, 2022 • Esther Newman

Vinicius “Vini” Taguchi personifies the cross cultural, interconnected reach of today’s Nikkei community. His outlook is as broad as his background while his occupation and vocation focus on social justice. He’s both issei and gosei (a first generation immigrant more culturally aligned with 4th and 5th generation Japanese Americans), Brazilian and American, a civil engineer and a community activist. And, like the others in this series of Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30, he’s just getting started. Family Background Vini …

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Telling the Story to Understand the History

April 26, 2022 • Esther Newman

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the United States entered WWII, thousands of American citizens who shared ancestry and facial features with the enemy and suddenly faced an overwhelming question. What would they, Japanese Americans, have to do to prove their loyalty to the country of their birth? Daniel James Brown’s Facing the Mountain examines the price of patriotism Japanese Americans paid through the lives of four young Nisei men—Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki, Kats Miho, and …

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