Beyond Shogun: James Clavell's Japanese American History


The Readmission: Toyohiko Kagawa’s 1950 US Tour


Some time ago, we did a column for Discover Nikkei on the Japanese evangelist and social reformer Toyohiko Kagawa. During his lifetime, Kagawa was renowned as a prolific writer—he authored some 150 books—and apostle of Christian socialism. Because of the spiritual dimension he brought to his leadership of movements for …

The Amazing Tashiro Family - Part 2: Ken Tashiro, Journalist


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The Amazing Tashiro Family - Part 1: Aijiro Tashiro, the Founder


One aspect of Japanese American history that I have been fascinated to uncover is that of family dynasties—the sagas of clans with multiple members who made outstanding commercial, scientific or artistic contributions. One such clan is the Tajiris, a family whose members included the journalists Larry Tajiri and his wife …

Artist and Documentarian: The Life of Kango Takamura


What images come to mind when we think of the wartime experience of Japanese Americans? For many, the photographs produced by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams or Toyo Miyatake come to mind, with their unique portrayals of the human condition. Yet equally powerful and moving are the representations of the incarceration …

Layle Lane: Black Woman Educator and Defender of Japanese Americans


One crucial aspect of Nikkei history that has not received due recognition from community chroniclers is the close relations between Japanese Americans and blacks, and especially the disproportionate support that African Americans offered Nisei during the World War II period.

Sadakichi Hartmann and Nisei Writers: An Early Mentor and Inspiration


Madame Sojin and Eddie Sojin: The Lives of Chie and Edo Mita


In the first half of this segment, I traced the career of Hollywood silent film actor Sojin Kamiyama. In the second half, I would like to flesh out aspects of the intriguing (and largely unknown) careers of Sojin’s wife Uraji Yamakawa and their son Edo Heihachi Mita [Kamiyama], who combined acting …

Sojin Kamiyama: The Man they called Sôjin


Among all the Japanese actors who graced Hollywood screens in the silent and early sound eras, perhaps none had such a charismatic and powerful presence as Sojin (Kamiyama). Though he spent only a relatively short time in the United States, and never attained the level of stardom of his contemporary …

Ernest Meyer: A Progressive Voice in Defense of Japanese Americans


In the period following the outbreak of the Pacific War, newspapers played a leading role in fomenting racial prejudice against Japanese Americans by reporting baseless accounts of espionage and fifth-column activity. West Coast columnists such as Harry McLemore beat the drum for mass removal of ethnic Japanese. Outside the West …

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I am a native New Yorker who is Professor of History at l'Université du Québec À Montréal, a French-language institution in Montreal, Canada. In addition to writing multiple books on Japanese American and Japanese Caandian history, I write the regular historical column "The Great Unknown" for the NICHI BEI WEEKLY newspaper.


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