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Browse > Media Type > Books

223 articles

The Floating World (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Family – blessing or curse, Female roles, Working class struggles, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

Acclaimed coming-of-age novel largely set on the road centering on Olivia Osaka and her itinerant family in the 1950s.

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Snakeskin Shamisen (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Lost honor, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The third novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series finds the gardener/detective back in Southern California in 2002 where he tackles a murder case in the Okinawan American community.

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Strawberry Yellow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Injustice
  • Widely available

The fifth book in Naomi Hirahara's Mas Arai Mysteries series finds the Kibei gardener back in his hometown of Watsonville for the funeral of a relative. But the apparent murder of an anti-GMO activist and the suggestion by his widow that the deceased relative may have been murdered plunge Mas into another mystery.

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The Moon Bridge (book)

  • Books
  • Widely available

Ruthie Fox and her best friend Shirl are fifth graders at a San Francisco elementary school. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a new student named Mitzi Fujimoto joins the neighboring fifth grade class. Ruthie steps in to stop Shirl and a classmate from bullying Mitzi. As a result, Ruthie is disinvited from Shirl's exclusive birthday party at the Japanese Tea Garden —recently renamed the "Chinese" Tea Garden. Left behind, Ruthie and Mitzi begin talking and agree that the Moon Bridge in the tea garden is the most beautiful place in the world. Over time, Ruthie's apprehension about befriending Mitzi fades as the girls play at Ruthie's secret places after school, share movie star crushes, and look for buried treasure. Mitzi shares her greatest secret: that she does not live in their school district and is using a family friend's address to attend their school. Ruthie promises to keep Mitzi's …

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Manzanar Daze and Cold Nights (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Desire to escape, Importance of community, Reunion
  • Available

Posthumously published memoir by a Nisei man about his years at Manzanar during World War II.

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Enemy Alien (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

Bilingual memoir by Kiyo Hirano of her World War II experiences as an "enemy alien" is a rare example of an Issei woman's first-person perspective of the American concentration camps. Enemy Alien (Japanese title: Tekikoku gaijin) was translated into English by George Hirano and Yuri Kageyama and published by Japantown Arts and Media Workshop (JAM) Publications in 1983. Hirano's Japanese-English biographical account of her incarceration at the Merced Assembly Center and Amache and of her resettlement was originally written as an assignment for a creative writing class at the Japantown Arts and Media Workshop in San Francisco, and eventually published by the organization.

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Japanese American Internment Camps (Greenhaven Press, 2001) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice
  • Available

Anthology of first-person pieces on the wartime removal and incarceration as part of Greenhaven Press's "History Firsthand" Series.

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Lone Heart Mountain (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice
  • Limited availability

Illustrated memoir of life at Heart Mountain by artist Estelle Ishigo , a white woman married to a Nisei .

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Color of the Sea (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

A coming-of-age novel by first time novelist John Hamamura centering on a Kibei raised in Japan, Hawai'i, and California and that climaxes with his wartime experiences that include arrest, the Military Intelligence Service , and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The book won an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association in 2007.

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Weedflower (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Evils of racism, Fear of other, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel for young adults set in Poston with a young Nisei girl as the protagonist. Weedflower was author Cynthia Kadohata's second young adult novel, after the Newbery Medal winning Kira-Kira .

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The Bracelet (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Self-awareness, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A children's picture book by Nisei author Yoshiko Uchida , with illustrations by Joanne Yardley, originally published in 1993. The Bracelet is a story derived from the author's own childhood experiences in an American concentration camp during World War II. The book opens as seven-year-old Emi, her mother and sister prepare to leave their home in Berkeley, California, for Tanforan , a racetrack that has been converted into a temporary camp for Japanese Americans. Emi's best friend, Laurie Madison, brings her a gold bracelet as a farewell gift, and as a reminder of the value of their friendship. Emi vows that she will never take it off, but as she helps clean out the filthy horse stable that will serve has her family's "apartment," the gold chain slips off her wrist and is lost. At first, she is desolate, but Emi eventually realizes that she does not need the bracelet …

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Out of the Frying Pan: Reflections of a Japanese American (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Heroism - real and perceived, Injustice
  • Available

A prominent journalist reflects on his life and career, including the difficult years during World War II during which he and his family were incarcerated because of their Japanese ancestry.

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Summer of the Big Bachi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Facing darkness, Greed as downfall, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Mystery novel by Naomi Hirahara that was the first to feature her Kibei hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) gardener protagonist Mas Arai.

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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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Children of the Relocation Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice
  • Available

Picture book for elementary school children that tells the story of the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from a children's perspective. The book was named a Carter G. Woodson Elementary Level Honor Book in 2001.

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An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Immigrant experience, Nationalism – complications, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten is the third book in a series published by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i and University of Hawai'i Press of a Hawai'i inmate's account of their incarceration experience during World War II. It represents a critical addition to Japanese American history as it provides the perspective of an Issei from Hawai'i who authorities incarcerated at multiple sites in the Islands and the mainland. The author, Kumaji Furuya , thus gives voice to some of the experiences faced by the 1,320 inmates from Hawai'i who like Furuya were often separated from their families for the duration of the war.

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Tule Lake (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Individual versus society
  • Available

Novel by Edward Miyakawa set in the eponymous concentration camp. Tule Lake was likely the first novel by a Japanese American set in one of the World War II concentration camps to be published when it first appeared in 1979. It was also notable for its unflinching portrayal of life in the most repressive of the camps.

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Gasa-Gasa Girl (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Family – blessing or curse, Greed as downfall, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The second mystery novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series, Gasa-Gasa Girl finds the Kibei crime solver in New York where he reconciles with his estranged daughter and unravels the mysterious death of a wealthy Nisei businessman.

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Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Incarceration memoir of life at Pinedale Assembly Center , Tule Lake , and Minidoka , by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, a seventeen-year-old Nisei at the time of her and her family's forced removal from their Washington state farm. First published in 2005 by NewSage Press, it was followed by a young reader's edition in 2010.

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Camp Notes (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Poetry
  • Available

Mitsuye Yamada 's first collection of poetry, initially published in 1976, includes poems she wrote during World War II and soon thereafter. The first book of poetry by a Japanese American woman to focus explicitly on the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans and its aftermath, the collection includes illustrations by Yamada's daughters, Jeni and Hedi, and calligraphy done by her husband, Yoshikazu Yamada.

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The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Convention and rebellion, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice
  • Widely available

Chapter book for children by Barry Denenberg in the form of a journal by a young Nisei boy covering the first ten months of incarceration at the fictitious "Mirror Lake Internment Camp."

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Hawaii, End of the Rainbow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Immigrant experience, Injustice, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • Available

Kazuo Miyamoto (1897–1988) was a Nisei doctor and author who was interned at various incarceration camps for the duration of World War II as a result of the publication of his observations during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). During his incarceration at Sand Island , Miyamoto began writing Hawaii, End of the Rainbow , which took him seventeen years to complete. Although a fictional account of the experiences of Japanese immigrants spanning nearly seventy years from their arrival in the Islands to World War II, it provides key insights from a participant in these important events.

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Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Displacement, Growing up - pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

Pioneering 1971 novel by Yoshiko Uchida that was the first book for children on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans written by a Japanese American. Based in part on Uchida's own family experience, Journey to Topaz was the first of five books the prolific children's book author wrote that focused on the incarceration experience.

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The War Outside (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Monica Hesse that tells a complex story of a friendship between two teenage girls, one Japanese American and one German American, in the Crystal City internment camp in the fall of 1944.

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Four-Four-Two (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Historical fiction
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Displacement, Forgiveness, Identity crisis
  • Available

A popular and confident Nisei boy and his best friend enlist in the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and are thrown into the horrific reality of combat in Europe.

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