They’ve come a Long Way: Chinese American Support for Japanese Americans in World War II


One aspect of Japanese American history that has been increasingly explored in recent times is the complex and revealing question of relations between Nikkei and other racial and religious minority groups over the 20th century. For example, Scott Kurashige’s The Shifting Grounds of Race examines the contrasting conditions facing Japanese …

A Family Saga: The Remarkable History of the Ito Sisters of Prewar Chicago


One intriguing aspect of Japanese American history is the study of some remarkable families and clans, which have included generations of siblings and cousins who have achieved renown in varying fields. For example, the Oyama family of Sacramento included the businessmen Wesley Oyama and Clem Oyama, writers Mary Oyama Mittwer …

The Man Behind the Camera: The story of Yoichi Okamoto, LBJ's Shadow


Since the early days of the camera, photography has enjoyed a particular vogue in Japan. Long before the stereotyped tourist groups snapping pictures arrived on the international scene, Japanese photographers had demonstrated their talent. Japanese brands such as Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Pentax, and Fujifilm, all firms originally founded during …

Clifford Uyeda and Ben Kuroki: Nisei Conservatives in the 1960s


One extraordinary trend in recent years is the eclipse of Japanese Americans within the Republican Party. Alan Nakanishi, the sole Japanese American Republican in the California Assembly, left office in 2008. Beth Fukumoto of Hawaii, who was House Minority Leader from 2014 to 2017, quit the Republican Party after being …

The Epic Lives of Taro and Mitsu Yashima


One remarkable Japanese American story is that of the epic and tragic partnership of Taro and Mitsu Yashima, an extraordinary couple of artists and freedom fighters. Together they survived years of hardship—imprisonment, exile, poverty, and illness—and made a name for themselves as authors and illustrators. Eventually they reached a point …

Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga: The Godmother of the Redress Movement


Japanese Americans and Catholicism


The recent release of Martin Scorsese’s film SILENCE, on the persecution of Catholic missionaries in early modern Japan, has increased popular interest in the long and eventful encounter between Japanese Americans and Catholicism, a subject that has tended to pass unnoticed in chronicles of Nikkei life. This absence of discussion …

First Impressions: Early Reviews of John Okada’s No-No Boy


The Unknown History of Japanese Internment in Panama


The historical narrative surrounding the wartime confinement of ethnic Japanese in the United States grows ever more complex. In the last years, historians and activists working with community organizations (in some cases with government funding) have made significant discoveries. The Honouliuli Internment camp in the then-Territory of Hawaii, whose site …

K.K. Kawakami, Cosmopolitan Issei Writer


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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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