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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

July 8, 2006 - Sept. 17, 2014

The award-winning Museum Store of the Japanese American National Museum features distinctive Asian American merchandise for all occasions and generations. Their unique product line represents the essence of the Japanese American experience, while also promoting an appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity. All proceeds from the Museum Store support Museum programs and exhibitions.

The articles in this series were originally written for the Japanese American National Museum’s online store []  to give a deeper understanding of the authors, artists, and traditions featured in the store. 

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950
City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950

Sept. 17, 2014 • Cathy Haruka Uechi

In City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, author Professor Valerie Matsumoto has opened a time capsule in the vaults of American history, zeroing in on the lives of Nisei women in Los Angeles and their exploits of club and community involvements spanning three decades—prewar, World War II, and postwar. City Girls chronicles the Nisei women’s roles as “markers of family respectability” and visible community representatives during a time replete with pervasive social and economic barriers. The …

Thumbnail for Author Hiroshi Kashiwagi: From Togan Soup to <em>Plums Can Wait</em> and Beyond, the Life of an American
Author Hiroshi Kashiwagi: From Togan Soup to Plums Can Wait and Beyond, the Life of an American

Jan. 13, 2014 • Edward Yoshida

“Why was I, an American citizen, thrown in prison without cause, without due process? I had registered for the draft, as required of citizens of my age and sex in 1942; why were they questioning my loyalty now? How could they do that? … If they restored my status as a rightful citizen, let me go free, out of this prison, I would do anything required of me. Why should I answer the questions?” Regarding the loyalty questionnaire, or registration, …

Thumbnail for Author Lane Hirabayashi: A Family Affair - Part 2
Author Lane Hirabayashi: A Family Affair - Part 2

Sept. 13, 2013 • Edward Yoshida

Read Part 1 >>Perhaps the most important takeaway that we can apply to our own lives is how Gordon practiced what he preached. Combined with his Quaker membership and his early roots observing the honesty and integrity of his parents and other cooperative members, Gordon masterfully walked the fine line of not only being unapologetic for his beliefs, but also not being disrespectful of others who either did not share his beliefs or complied with the WWII orders and joined …

Thumbnail for Author Lane Hirabayashi: A Family Affair - Part 1
Author Lane Hirabayashi: A Family Affair - Part 1

Sept. 6, 2013 • Edward Yoshida

“Let me add, however, that in refusing to register, I am well aware of the excellent qualities of the army and government personnel connected with the prosecution of this exclusion order. They are men of the finest type, and I sincerely appreciate their sympathetic and honest efforts. Nor do I intend to cast any shadow upon the Japanese and the other Nisei who have registered for evacuation. They have faced tragedy admirably. I am objecting to the principle of this …

Thumbnail for Author Mark H. Rawitsch: More Than Just a House
Author Mark H. Rawitsch: More Than Just a House

July 17, 2013 • Edward Yoshida

“I won’t sell. You can murder me, you can throw me into the sea, and I won’t sell.” Mr. Jukichi Harada’s sharp yet courageous response was unlikely to be the type of exchange he envisioned carrying on with his American neighbors when he left Japan permanently in 1903, never to see his parents, brother, or sisters again. For Issei, such as Mr. Harada, who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship, owning a building or land became that much more significant in …

Thumbnail for Naomi Hirahara – <em>Strawberry Yellow</em>
Naomi Hirahara – Strawberry Yellow

March 8, 2013 • Leslie Yamaguchi

Fans of Naomi Hirahara should prepare to turn off their cell phones and curl up in their favorite reading chair. Their most beloved detective, Mas Arai, will put his investigative skills to work once again in Hirahara’s newest novel, Strawberry Yellow. Upon learning of his second cousin Shug’s sudden death, Mas returns to Watsonville, a small town in Northern California. Mas’ plan to make a brief appearance in his hometown to attend the funeral is quickly thwarted when Minnie, Shug’s …

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Authors in This Series

Susan Chen is an Ethnic Studies Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include Asian American history, postwar US history, cultural studies, and modern urban history. She is especially fascinated with studies of Asian Americans in contemporary media and popular culture. From 2003 to 2007, Chen worked at the Japanese American National Museum as curatorial assistant and then as museum manager.

Updated February 2015

Sigrid Hudson is a children’s librarian at a public library in the Los Angeles area. She is also an online writer and public programs volunteer for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Born and raised in Orange County, California, she currently lives in Los Angeles. As an undergraduate journalism student, Sigrid became interested in First Amendment and other civil rights. She is particularly impressed with the way the JANM carries out its mission in the Los Angeles (and international) community—including the Discover Nikkei online project—and is happy to be a contributor.

Updated June 2009

Elizabeth Ishida was an NCI Program intern at the Japanese American National Museum from June 24 to August 15, 2007. Her project involved creating collections for the Nikkei Album. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she focused on  cultural anthropology and classical civilizations. Currently, she is looking forward to applying to graduate school, where she hopes to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. While not studying or making people fit, she spends time with her second family, members of Taiko Project. She is inspired by the magic of Disney and thinks George Lucas is a genius. In her free time, Elizabeth likes to run in new and beautiful places, sing and dance, and contribute to the wonderful world of Discover Nikkei.

Updated May 2012

Eileen Kurahashi lives in Northern California with her family. She is active in Sogetsu ikebana, the Mills College choir, and is studying French.

Updated September 2014

Mia Nakaji Monnier is a writer in Los Angeles. Her journalism and essays have appeared in BuzzFeed News, Shondaland, The Washington Post, and more. She started her career in Little Tokyo at Discover Nikkei and The Rafu Shimpo. You can find her on Twitter @miagabb and read more of her work at

Updated May 2021

Darryl Mori is a Sansei and Southern California native. His family roots trace back to the Kagoshima and Numazu areas of Japan. A writer based in the Los Angeles region, he has specialized in the arts, nonprofit organizations and higher education.

Updated July 2024

Vicky K. Murakami-Tsuda is the Communications Production Manager at the Japanese American National Museum. She loves working on the Discover Nikkei project, because it gives her the opportunity to learn so many new and interesting stories, and connect with people around the world who share similar interests.

She is a “self-proclaimed” yonsei from Southern California who comes from a large extended family. A long time ago (when she had more free time and energy), she was also an artist who explored Japanese American culture and history through her artwork. When not working, she enjoys eating, cheering on her beloved Dodgers, bowling, reading, playing games on her phone (Wordl anyone?), and binge-watching movies and shows.

Updated May 2022


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

Susan Osa is a marketing/communications professional with experience on projects ranging from print, web/new media, to environmental graphics. She has been a volunteer with the Japanese American National Museum since 2001.

Updated April 2008

Fiona Potter grew up in La Canada, California. She is a former Discover Nikkei intern currently living and working in the Bay Area, California.

Updated January 2013

Mai Tanaka is a Yonsei born and raised in Los Angeles. Mai's family history of incarceration during WWII sparked their early interest in the intersection of politics, culture, and activism. Mai holds a B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Political Science and Japanese Studies and has spent time abroad researching and studying in Japan.

Updated February 2024

Shigueru Julio Tsuha is a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside in the department of Sociology. He is currently working on his dissertation on community and identity formation of Japanese Peruvians in Southern California.

Updated May 2007

Cathy Uechi is a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum and a contributing writer for Discover Nikkei. She is a Nisei, born in Boyle Heights and raised in the Valley, to parents who hailed from Okinawa. She enjoys exploring LA’s food scene whether it be the latest hotspot or a “mom and pop” establishment off the beaten path. Cathy is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine.

Updated September 2014

Leslie Yamaguchi is a High School English teacher in Southern California. She is a volunteer for the Japanese American National Museum where she writes articles for the Museum Store Online and helps out with book sales at public programs.

Updated November 2007

Edward Yoshida is a husband, father, JANM/Discover Nikkei volunteer, and a project analyst at a regional engineering firm. He grew up in Los Angeles and Orange County before attending college back East. In his spare time, he enjoys exercising and spending quality time with his family.

Updated June 2015

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