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Browse > Theme > Isolation

11 articles

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Graphic novels
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Isolation
  • Widely available

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner is the story of a hapa teenage boy's struggle living in post December 7 San Francisco, California. 13-year-old Koji Miyamoto discovers that life being biracial (his mother Adeline is white and his father Ichiro is Japanese) is just as difficult inside an incarceration camp as it was outside in the city after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Written for 5th through 8th grade readers, this graphic novel has a distinctive style of elongated caricatures colored with dark reds, yellows, blues, and browns.

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Made in Japan and Settled in Oregon (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Evils of racism, Facing reality, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Isolation
  • Available

An Oregon-born Nisei woman shares her family's story, including her parents' efforts to establish a farm in Hood River, her childhood, and the impact of being taken from their home and incarcerated during World War II.

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What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home? (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Isolation
  • Widely available

Exhibition on the return of Nisei soldiers to their Hood River, Oregon, home, recounting the chilly reception they received from the local community as well as highlighting those who stood up for them. Curated by Linda Tamura and Marsha Matthews and organized by the Oregon Historical Society (OHS), What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home? debuted at the OHS in Portland in August 2013 in conjunction with the display of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Japanese American veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, and Military Intelligence Service.

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Children of Topaz (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Companionship as salvation, Isolation, Nature as beauty
  • Widely available

A snowfall at Topaz brings children out of the barracks to engage in snowball fights and snowman building. They recall friends back home and wish their non-Japanese American friends can join them in play. The very short story by Toshio Mori—dubbed "A Sketch"—appeared in the Pacific Citizen newspaper in 1945.

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Dear Miye: Letters Home from Japan, 1939-1946 (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir, Historical nonfiction
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Displacement, Family - blessing or curse, Female roles, Identity crisis, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Loss of innocence, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Self-preservation, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Will to survive
  • Available

A collection of letters written by a young Nisei woman in Japan who becomes stuck there during World War II to her best friend who is still in California.

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When the World Winds Down (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Isolation, Lost love
  • Limited availability

Short story by Sharon Hashimoto about a watch repairman who fixes a gold watch brought in by a young man who reminds him of his late brother. Fred Fujita is one of the last remaining Nisei businessmen in the old Japanese section of Seattle. Agreeing to fix the gold watch at the end of one day, he decides to work on it at home, observing that his late wife would have objected to his doing so. While working on the watch, he recalls his brother Jimmy—the night at Heart Mountain when the seventeen-year-old Jimmy tells him he is going to enlist, trying to talk him out of it, and receiving word that he is missing in action.

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Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple (book)

  • Books
  • Non Fiction
  • Displacement, Facing darkness, Facing reality, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Will to survive
  • Available

An intimate history of one Issei couple's experience of World War II, including transcriptions of the letters they sent each other when they were incarcerated apart.

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A Letter (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Facing darkness, Isolation, Power of words
  • Limited availability

Short story by Sasabune Sasaki about a group of Issei internees at an unspecified internment camp in the first days of their detention. Though the men write letters to their families, few have received any letters in return, due to, they believe, delays caused by censorship of the letters and their being moved from camp to camp. One day, the narrator sees a letter in its envelope tacked on a bulletin board at the camp post office and copies it down. It is an anonymously authored letter by a Nisei in English that expresses concern and support for the internees. When the narrator reads it to a group of internees, they are greatly moved.

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Shirley Temple, Hotcha-cha (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Displacement, Heartbreak of betrayal, Isolation, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi about a Nisei strandee couple and their difficulties both in wartime Japan and in the resettlement era U.S. Told in the first-person voice of Mie, the story begins in 1939 when Mie is seventeen. As was the case for a sizable minority of Nisei youth, she had been sent to Japan for her education, having arrived there three years prior. She attends a boarding school and spends holidays with the Kodamas, a wealthy childless couple who are family friends. On a holiday, she meets Jobo Endo, a fellow Nisei, who is in Japan attending college. Courtship ensues. Recognizing the difficulties they would face in Japan as the war heats up, Jobo suggests that Mie ask the Kodamas for money to return to the U.S. However, the Kodamas had hoped to marry off Mie to a grand nephew. Though they consent to Jobo and Mie getting ...

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The Caretaker (film)

  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Female roles, Isolation, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short film about Josey Gerrish, a migrant from Fiji, who serves as the caretaker for 95 year old Haru Tsurumoto in Sonoma County, California. Told through Josey's first-person narrative, we learn that she had hoped to be doctor or nurse, but, like many Fijian woman, had to leave her own family behind to become a caretaker in the U.S. She finds herself immediately drawn to Haru, with the women linked by their outsider status. During World War II, Haru had been among those Japanese Americans forcibly removed and held in concentration camps. In the U.S. without papers, Joesy worries about getting stopped by police and deported.

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Ohakamairi: A Visit to the Graves (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Isolation, Power of tradition, Reunion
  • No availability

Short documentary student film by Janice D. Tanaka that focuses on the annual pilgrimages to Manzanar made by Buddhist Rev. Sentoku Maeda. Shot in 16mm black and white while a student at the University of Southern California (USC), Tanaka's film lets Maeda tell his story in his own voice, accompanied by historical photos and footage of Maeda at the Manzanar site. Incarcerated at Manzanar as a young man, he recalls the Buddhist services held there despite administrative opposition. He talks about the "I-re-to" memorial and his promise to visit the graves at Manzanar once the war is over. For the next twenty plus years, he came back to perform memorial services, sometimes alone. The film ends with his recognition of the "young people" who have turned his lonely pilgrimage into a community event starting in 1969.

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