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Browse > Theme > Disillusionment and dreams

26 articles

A Century of Change: The Memoirs of Nellie Yae Sumiye Nakamura from 1902 to 2002 (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Injustice, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

The recollections of a Nisei woman, from her childhood in the Santa Clara Valley, to her marriage, her family's incarceration at Santa Anita and Heart Mountain, and their efforts to rebuild their lives back in California after the war ended.

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Las Vegas Charley (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Temptation and destruction, Vulnerability of the meek, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Hisaye Yamamoto about an Issei man named Kazuyuki Matsumoto, who works as a dishwasher at a Las Vegas restaurant while gambling away his wages. In flashback, we learn of his life story: boyhood in Kumamoto prefecture, then migration to the U.S. where he becomes a successful farmer in Santa Maria, California, and is soon joined by a "picture bride" wife, Haru and two sons. But Haru's death in childbirth after the birth of their second son changes Kazuyuki's life decisively. He sends the two boys to live with his mother in Japan and becomes a migrant laborer. At first, he sends regular remittances home, but he soon picks up a gambling habit and the payments gradually come to an end. He later brings his Kibei sons back to the U.S., where they start a new farming venture in Orange County, California, this one less successful. Then comes ...

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My Friend Suki (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing darkness
  • Widely available

Short story by Vera Arvey about a Nisei woman whose wartime incarceration along with a run of familial tragedies lead to a breakdown and residence in a mental hospital. The narrator of the story begins by sending a Christmas present to Suki, but doesn't hear back for several weeks, when she gets a notice that Suki has been sent to a mental hospital. Through correspondence with various friends and her own recollections, she pieces together the story starting with Suki's Issei parents' immigration, the impact of exclusion and incarceration, the string of events leading to her current state, and Suki's most recent, hopeful, letter.

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One of Many (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Injustice, Disillusionment and dreams, Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Short dramatic film written and directed by Byron Yokomi centering on George Miyamoto, a young man at one of the Arkansas concentration camps facing major life decisions brought on by the loyalty questionnaire crisis. Yokomi made the film as an MFA student at Florida State University.

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Uncle Yozo (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly
  • No availability

Comical story by Ted Tajima about an Issei man at an unspecified concentration camp who enlivens the first Christmas in camp by elaborately playing Santa. A regular contributor of stories to the Rafu Shimpo holiday edition, Tajima taught at Alhambra High for 35 years and led their acclaimed journalism program.

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Beyond Barbed Wire (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

A 1997 documentary film on the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service who fought for the United States during World War II while some of their families were held in concentration camps. The film is based on interviews with numerous veterans as well as with their wives and adult children. Among topics touched on in Beyond Barbed Wire are friction between men from Hawai'i and the continental U.S. during basic training; the unusual story of Korean American Colonel Young O. Kim; the rescue of the Lost Battalion, and the continuing legacy of the veterans for their families. One unique aspect of the film is its treatment of the controversy over the role of Major General John Dahlquist, whom some veterans feel used the Nisei as "cannon fodder." In telling the story of the mass incarceration, the filmmakers include ...

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Heart Mountain (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Love and sacrifice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Novel by acclaimed essayist and nature/travel writer Gretel Ehrlich. Set inside and outside of the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, concentration camp, Heart Mountain was published by Viking in 1988.

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Manzanar and Beyond (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Importance of community, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Prominent Nisei attorney recounts his life, including his experiences as the administrator of the hospital at Manzanar concentration camp and his role in landmark legal battles advocating for redressing injustices experienced by Japanese Americans.

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Private Life (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Facing reality, Identity crisis, Female roles, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

A middle-aged white woman recounts her friendship with a Japanese American family she first meets through personal tragedy; the injustice they experience, partly as a result of her own husband, leads her to a personal awakening.

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Tadaima (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Companionship as salvation, Darkness and light, Disillusionment and dreams, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Short dramatic film by Robin Takao D'Oench that chronicles the return of a Japanese American family to their West Coast home after being released from an American concentration camp. The family—two presumably Issei parents and two presumably Nisei kids, an older teenage boy and younger teenage girl—arrive at a home that is unkempt and dirty and also marred by anti-Japanese graffiti both inside and out. As they set about making the house livable again, the two kids go out into the woods and dig up a box filled with Japanese objects—family photographs, documents, and precious objects such as Japanese dolls and clothing—they had presumably buried in the period prior to their forced removal. As they slowly settle back into their home, each family member finds some degree of hope by the end of the first day. The title is a Japanese expression generally uttered by someone who is announcing his ...

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Woman With a Blue Pencil (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Mystery, Historical Fiction
  • Character – destruction, building up, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Disillusionment and dreams, Evils of racism, Heroism – real and perceived, Manipulation
  • Widely available

Novel about a pulp mystery novel written by a young Nisei as World War II breaks out, his interactions with a sometimes overzealous editor, and his protest in the form of an unpublished manuscript centering on the Nisei private detective he was forced to remove from the novel.

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Makapuu Bay (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Facing reality, Lost love, Names – power and significance, Reunion
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi about a divorced middle-aged Japanese American writer who goes to a literary conference in Honolulu where she runs into an old boyfriend from the war years. In flashback, we learn that Sachiko—nicknamed "Pinky" while incarcerated in Poston with her father—had met Mitch Ochiai at the camp swimming hole, where she asked him to teach her to swim. They become a couple and continue to see each other when she resettles in Chicago while he attends the Military Intelligence Service Language School in Minnesota. But her father's illness—and eventual death—forces her to return to Poston, while Mitch heads off to war, and they lose touch. Sachiko ends up marrying Joe Noda, her block manager, and settling in Los Angeles. Though Sachiko is divorced and Mitch has never married, a rekindling of the romance in Hawai'i is not to be.

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Morning Glory, Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi and His Internment Writings, 1942-1945 (book)

  • Books
  • Non fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Family - blessing or curse
  • Available

The incarceration experiences of Yamato Ichihashi, the first endowed chair of East Asian Studies at Stanford University, and his wife, Kei, as told through their own words.

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Otoko (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Loss of innocence, Role of men, Vulnerability of the meek
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi centering on a Nisei brother and sister who recall their father and their family's prewar and wartime hardships while listening to Japanese folksongs. On the longest day of the year one summer, Kiyo visits his sister, the narrator, bringing a record of Japanese children's songs. The act of listening to the songs triggers memories of their early years. Once relatively prosperous, their fortunes turn dire quickly when their father loses his job. He becomes a tenant farmer, but can't make enough to support the family. Kiyo recalls a time when he went with his father to visit a friend, Kiyo thinks, to ask to borrow money. The narrator recalls working as a "school girl" with a white family for a few months, returning to find her family living in a tent, her little sister's teeth rotting, and her father suffering from a stomach ailment. Later, ...

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Picture Bride (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Historical fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Female roles, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Will to survive
  • Available

The fictional account of a picture bride, from her arrival in the U.S. to the life she and her husband create for themselves with their daughter, to her experience of incarceration during World War II.

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Some Lines for a Younger Brother... (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

First person recollection of the author's younger brother centering on the impact the World War II incarceration had on him. The youngest of eight children, Tets was doted on by his older siblings, but devastated when his father died when he was eight. A few years later, he had become a demoralized teenager in Manzanar who began skipping high school classes upon his return to Los Angeles after the war. Joining the army to see the world, he is almost at the end of his hitch when the Korean War breaks out. Sent into combat, he is killed in action. Years later, the author recalls attending the first Manzanar Pilgrimage and seeing the image of Tets as a child once again.

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A Diamond in the Desert (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Forgiveness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Novel for children centering on Tetsuo Kishi, a teenager at the Gila River, Arizona, concentration camp who finds solace in baseball.

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Betrayed Trust: The Story of a Deported Issei and His American-Born Family During World War II (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Heartbreak of betrayal, Identity crisis, Immigrant experience, Losing hope
  • Available

A Nisei shares his family's heart-wrenching experience of wartime incarceration and the complex background behind their decision to go to Japan instead of staying in the U.S. after the end of the war.

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The Cats of Mirikitani (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

An award-winning documentary film from 2006 about a homeless Nisei artist named Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani and the friendship that develops with filmmaker Linda Hattendorf on the streets of New York.

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The Cat Who Chose to Dream (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book about a cat who accompanies his Japanese American family to an American concentration camp during World War II.

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Home Is the Expatriate (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Pride and downfall
  • Widely available

Short story by Larry Tajiri about a Nisei strandee just returned from Japan after a decade there. Joe Suzuki was a Nisei in Los Angeles who graduated high school in the mid 1930s. Unwilling to take the types of jobs available to Nisei at that time—primarily agricultural and/or manual labor type jobs—he first tried Hollywood, then went to Japan, as did many other Nisei at that time. He landed a white-collar job at a Japanese firm, but it proved to be a dead end job, and, as a Nisei, he drew suspicion from the police. He attempted to return to the U.S. in November 1941, but his ship turned around midway as war broke out, and he was stuck in Japan during the war. He returns embittered, his mother having died in an American concentration camp, and his father having resettled in Chicago.

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Blue Skies and Thunder: Farm Boy, Pilot, Inventor, TSA Officer, and WWII Soldier of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

Mixed race Nisei shares his story, from a tough childhood growing up on a farm in the Midwest to his experiences in combat with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion during World War II.

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Chikara!: A Sweeping Novel of Japan and America From 1907 to 1983 (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Evils of racism, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Forgiveness, Greed as downfall, Fate and free will, Heartbreak of betrayal, Heroism - real and perceived, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Inner versus outer strength, Lost honor, Lost love, Nationalism - complications, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past, Will to survive
  • Available

This work of historical fiction traces the tumultuous rise and fall of the Hoshi family, whose scion, Sataro, takes his wife Itoko and eldest son Noboru to California in 1907 to seek his fortune and restore his family's honor. He leaves his second son Hiroshi behind with family, a decision that marks the inauspicious first step of the tragic transpacific drama that unfolds over the course of the novel.

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Gambling Den (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Immigrant experience, Loss of innocence, Role of women, Temptation and destruction
  • No availability

Short story by Akemi Kikumura about a Japanese American family in Lodi, California, on the eve of World War II. Told in the first person voice of fifteen-year-old Peggy Tanaka, the story begins with the Tanaka family's fateful purchase of a restaurant in 1941. The restaurant soon becomes a success as migrant workers are drawn to both Mrs. Tanaka's cooking and the beauty of Ann, Peggy's eighteen-year-old sister. Mr. Tanaka's decision to open a gambling den in back further adds to profits, despite Mrs. Tanaka's disapproval and the necessary kick-backs to a corrupt local policeman. But the Tanakas' lives are soon to be complicated by Ann's romance with a young man of burakumin (Japanese outcaste) origin, a conniving neighbor, and the impending roundup of Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Kibei (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Identity crisis
  • Available

The saga of a Kibei Nisei confronting prejudice and his own conflicted identity as his and his family’s lives are irreparably transformed by the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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