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Browse > Media Type > Books

223 articles

Passing It On--A Memoir (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Rebirth, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Leading human rights activist reflects on her life, including her insulated childhood and the wartime incarceration experience that awakened her lifelong commitment to advocacy for all marginalized peoples.

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Birth of an Activist: The Sox Kitashima Story (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Empowerment, Importance of community
  • Available

A renowned redress activist shares her life story, including how the humiliating experience of wartime incarceration helped shape her later involvement in political activism.

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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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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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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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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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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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Painting the Rainbow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Coming of age, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel for young readers about two thirteen-year old cousins at a New England family summer retreat in 1965 who grapple with both their changing relationship and with the discovery of family secrets stemming from the World War II period that tangentially involve the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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39 Months at Tule Lake (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Empowerment, Importance of community, Injustice
  • Available

The diary of a white staff member at Tule Lake offers his take on the tumultuous events there after it was made a segregation center .

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Journey to Washington (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Self-reliance, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Empowerment
  • Limited availability

Ghostwritten autobiography by Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai'i, authored with Lawrence Elliott and published in 1967. One of the first autobiographies by a Nisei , Journey to Washington was published as Inouye was finishing his first term as a U.S. Senator from Hawai'i and preparing to run for reelection. The book covers his life up to that time, beginning with his grandfather leaving Japan to come to America to pay off a debt and ending with his father visiting the White House to visit President John. F. Kennedy. A success story that established a template for many Nisei memoirs to come, the book reinforced the " model minority " narrative then current. Reader's Digest also excerpted the book in its February 1968 issue. The book includes three forewords, by President Lyndon Johnson, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.

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Ganbatte: Sixty-year Struggle of a Kibei Worker (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Capitalism - effect on the individual, Convention and rebellion, Empowerment, Important of community, Injustice, Rights - individual and societal, Self-awareness, Working class struggles
  • Available

Kibei - Nisei labor organizer and communist shares his life story, including his unique experiences during World War II as the husband of a white woman with a mixed-race child incarcerated while he served with the Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific Theater.

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The Internment of Japanese Americans (ReferencePoint Press) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young adult
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Overview volume on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans aimed at middle and high school audiences published in 2014 by ReferencePoint Press as part of the "Understanding American History" series.

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The Sun Gods (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Power of the past, Power of silence, Quest for discovery, Everlasting love
  • Widely available

Novel by Jay Rubin set in Seattle and that involves wartime incarceration at the Minidoka , Idaho, concentration camp.

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A Brother Is a Stranger (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Desire to escape, Family – blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Nationalism – complications, Power of tradition
  • Available

Memoir of a young Japanese immigrant/refugee Christian about his upbringing and travails in Japan, his journey to the U.S. and his wartime internment, and his postwar observations in Japan. Published in 1946 by the John Day Company, it was among the first books by a Japanese American to appear after the war.

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Roy Sato, New Neighbor (book)

  • Books
  • Widely available

Children's book published in 1955 centering on Roy Sato, a ten-year-old Sansei , in the months after his move from Little Tokyo in Los Angeles to a nearby suburban area. Despite its descriptions of racism and its publication just ten years after the end of World War II, the book makes no mention of the wartime exclusion and confinement of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast, presumably including the Sato family.

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Beyond Heart Mountain (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Poetry
  • Widely available

Lee Ann Roripaugh's first collection of poetry, which was selected by writer Ishmael Reed as one of five manuscripts published in 1999 through the National Poetry Series competition. The central section of the book is an interconnected series of dramatic monologues written in the voices of various Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Heart Mountain camp.

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In America's Shadow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Children's picture book by Kimberley Komatsu and Kaleigh Komatsu told from the perspective of a young girl recounting her family's wartime incarceration story.

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Upon Their Shoulders (book)

  • Books
  • Widely available

Novel centering on two Japanese American families in Hawai'i that may have been the first English language published novel by a Japanese American about the Japanese American experience. Beginning with immigration and sugar plantations , the novel ends in the World War II era where members of both families are among the Japanese Americans from Hawai'i who are interned.

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A Girl Like You (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Motherhood, Quest for discovery, Role of women
  • Available

Coming-of-age novel by Maureen Lindley that takes place largely in Manzanar and whose protagonist is a mixed-race Sansei girl.

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Bat 6 (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Sports
  • Character - destruction, building up, Forgiveness
  • Widely available

Set in 1949, two small towns in Oregon are rivals in the girls' softball game of the year, Bat 6 (1998). On the Bear Creek Ridge team, Aki Mikami is the new girl is who has just returned after being "sent away to a camp" with her family since 1942. All the 6th grade girls were too young to remember Aki and her family leaving, and the adults would talk in whispers amongst themselves about what happened, but not to the children. Aki is shy but she is an amazing ball player (her mother was MVP for Bat 6 in 1930) and girls take to her immediately. The opposing Bat 6 team, Barlow, also recruits a talented new player named Shazam—a troubled girl who has come to live with her grandmother. She hates the Japanese because her father was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ballgame culminates in …

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Tallgrass (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Female roles, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel by Sandra Dallas set in rural Colorado during World War II when the life of adolescent girl is transformed by the arrival of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in a nearby concentration camp.

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