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Excerpts from In Search of Hiroshi

March 3, 2024 - March 24, 2024

This series presents excerpts from Gene Oishi’s memoir about his lifelong struggle to claim both his Japanese and American identities in the aftermath of his childhood wartime incarceration. In Search of Hiroshi was originally published in 1988 and has long been unavailable. It will be republished by Kaya Press with new essays in March 2024.

This series includes Oishi’s Preface to the newly revised edition and one of the final chapters from the original memoir, which offers raw insight into key moments of his catharsis during the 1980s. These are accompanied by editor Ana Iwataki’s afterword, which reflects on the intergenerational reverberations of Oishi’s writing.

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In Search of Hiroshi
By Gene Oishi
Publication Date: March 12, 2024
Memoir | Trade Paperback | Kaya Press | 224 pages | $18.95 | ISBN 9781885030825

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for A (Yonsei) Editor’s Note: Seeing Ourselves Across Generational Lines
A (Yonsei) Editor’s Note: Seeing Ourselves Across Generational Lines

March 24, 2024 • Ana Iwataki

In 1988, when Gene Oishi’s memoir was originally published by the Charles E. Tuttle Company, the camps had been closed for more than forty years. This was also the year that the Redress Movement achieved its greatest victory, with the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 granting $20,000 in reparations for each camp survivor, as well as a presidential apology. I was born in 1989, long after the camps, a year after redress and reparations. What was to Oishi a childhood …

Thumbnail for Chapter 18 - Part 2
Chapter 18 - Part 2

March 17, 2024 • Gene Oishi

Read Part 1 >> One Sansei told me when he went to Japan, he was delighted to see that there were all kinds of Japanese: quiet and shy, loud and aggressive, polite, rude. “The Japanese of Japan have the whole range of human behavior through which they express themselves,” he said. “We here in America confine ourselves to only a narrow band in the spectrum.” I recalled from my childhood that my father and his Issei friends were a hard-drinking, …

Thumbnail for Chapter 18 — Part 1
Chapter 18 — Part 1

March 10, 2024 • Gene Oishi

I had long thought that I and probably most Japanese Americans of my generation were mental cripples, but I could not define with any precision or clarity the nature of the disability. In 1976 when I first began work on my novel, I found myself breaking down in tears while writing. When I looked at what I had written, the passages did not seem emotional enough to cause such a reaction. One passage that choked me up was about a …

Thumbnail for Preface

March 3, 2024 • Gene Oishi

It has been more than three decades since In Search of Hiroshi was published by the Charles E. Tuttle Company. Much has changed since then, both in myself and within our country. I am no longer a young man in search of himself, and it is our country which, at this writing, seems to be in search of its soul. Even so, I am deeply gratified that Kaya Press, which published my novel, Fox Drum Bebop, has found my memoir …

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Authors in This Series

Ana Iwataki is a cultural historian, writer, and curator from and based in Los Angeles. She is also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation examines the cultural and spatial politics of 800 Traction, a former warehouse in the Arts District where artists, many of them Japanese American, lived and worked until their eviction in 2018. She has contributed writing to Los Angeles Times, X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, Los Angeles Review of Books, Zócalo Public Square, among other publications.

Gene Oishi, former Washington and foreign correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, has written articles on the Japanese American experience for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and West Magazine, in addition to The Baltimore Sun. His debut novel, Fox Drum Bebop, was published by Kaya Press in 2014 and won an Asian American Studies Association Book Award. Now retired, he lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Sabine.

Updated March 2024

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