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Browse > Reading Level > Adult

39 articles

Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Art
  • Coming of age, Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Oppression of women
  • Widely available

Concentration camp memoir by a Nisei artist. Ten years old at the time of the wartime incarceration, Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center and Amache with her older brother and Issei parents. Evolving from captions that accompanied displays of the author's postwar paintings, Gasa Gasa Girl intersperses stories of life in the camps with recollections of happier days with her parents, brother, and aunts in Hollywood, California, before the war. The book is illustrated by twenty-eight color reproductions of her watercolor paintings that depict both her external and internal lives during the war, as well as a like number of family photographs, archival photographs, and photographs of key objects mentioned in the text. Published by the University of Utah Press, the book includes an foreword by historian Cherstin Lyon.

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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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Mary Osaka, I Love You (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Everlasting love, Immigrant experience, Nationalism – complications
  • Widely available

Short story by acclaimed writer John Fante about the love between a Filipino American immigrant man and a Nisei woman that takes place in Los Angeles as World War II breaks out. A part of Fante's intended novel on Filipino Americans, it was first published in Good Housekeeping magazine in October 1942.

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City in the Sun (book)

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

1946 novel by Karon Kehoe that represented the first full-length work of adult fiction to dramatize Japanese American confinement.

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I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Rights - individual or societal, Motherhood, Displacement
  • Widely available

The memoir of poet Toyo Suyemoto that spans her years of incarceration in Tanforan Assembly Center and later, at Topaz in Utah, from spring 1942 to late autumn 1945. The book, published in 2007 by Rutgers University Press, focuses on the quotidian life in an American concentration camp, while coping both physically and psychologically with the brutality of imprisonment behind barbed wire. The book is dedicated to Suyemoto's son Kay and details his short life from birth in Berkeley, California, to his first steps at Tanforan in a crowded horse stall, and finally to Utah where he developed a serious asthmatic condition and pneumonia in the harsh atmosphere of camp which eventually lead to his premature death. Suyemoto's memoir includes the impact of policies and wartime decisions on her family and the larger Japanese American community, bringing insight on complex and controversial questions of loyalty, citizenship and resistance. She also ...

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Calling Tokyo: Japanese American Radio Broadcasters During World War II (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Documentary
  • Patriotism - complications, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Documentary film directed by Gary T. Ono that tells the story of a small group of Japanese Americans recruited out of the concentration camps to work for the British Political Warfare Mission (BPWM) and Office of War Information (OWI) as translators and broadcasters of propaganda aimed at Japan. The small group—eight who worked for the OWI and four for the BPWM—were mostly Kibei and worked out of a Denver studio. Both groups translated American news reports that were made into radio scripts and broadcasts transmitted by shortwave radio. The operation later moved to San Francisco in February 1945, when Japanese Americans were allowed to return to the West Coast.

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To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei, Star Trek's Mr. Sulu (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Family - blessing or curse, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Identity crisis, Importance of community, Love and sacrifice
  • Widely available

Famous actor and celebrity recounts some of the most important periods of his life, including his early childhood spent at Rohwer and Tule Lake concentration camps.

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Relics from Camp (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Art, History
  • Displacement, Injustice
  • Available

Art installation by Kristine Yuki Aono that debuted at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in 1996. The installation featured soil collected by the artist at each of the ten War Relocation Authority camp sites installed in shallow 3 x 3 square boxes on the floor with glass over them. At each venue, Aono sought community members who lent personal objects from themselves or other family members who had been in each camp that were installed in that camp's box. The exhibition was viewed by walking on the glass over the boxes.

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Sayonara Slam (book)

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

The sixth book in Naomi Hirahara's Mas Arai Mysteries series finds the Kibei gardener caught up in unraveling the mysterious death of a Japanese journalist covering the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles. As in the other books in the series, Mas's Hiroshima hibakusha past and the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans play key roles in the plot.

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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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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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Stanley Hayami, Nisei Son (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Book built around the wartime diary and letters of Stanley Hayami that document his incarceration at the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, concentration camp and his military service in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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A Bridge Between Us (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Role of women
  • Widely available

Critically acclaimed 1995 novel by Julie Shigekuni that is both a multi-generational family saga about a Japanese American family in San Francisco and a coming-of-age novel centered on a fifth-generation Japanese American woman growing up in a four generation household. The story—which includes the family's incarceration at Heart Mountain—is told from the perspectives of four women of different generations who live together in the family home in San Francisco.

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California Generation (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Identity crisis
  • Limited availability

Popular 1970 novel by Jacqueline Briskin that follows a group of students from the class of 1960 at fictitious California High—one of them a Sansei born in Topaz—through the touchstone events of the turbulent decade. Though a first novel, California Generation was widely promoted and launched Briskin's career as a best-selling novelist.

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The Loom (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Facing darkness, Loneliness as destructive force, Motherhood, Power of silence
  • Widely available

Short story by R. A. Sasaki that portrays the life of a Nisei woman looking both backwards and forwards after the death of one of her daughters. Born and raised in San Francisco where her family ran a boarding house, the unnamed woman graduated from the University of California before being incarcerated with her family in Tanforan and Topaz during World War II. Returning to San Francisco after the war having married a Kibei man she had known from before the war, she has four daughters while her husband works in the flower industry. Devoted to her daughters, she is at a loss as they leave the house to pursue their own lives and after one dies in a mountain climbing accident. Her daughters' efforts to bring her out of her torpor are largely unsuccessful until one gives her a loom, through which she is able to express the feelings ...

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Resistance at Tule Lake (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that tells the story of the Tule Lake concentration camp, with a focus on the post-segregation period, through interviews with former inmates, archival images, and scenes from contemporary pilgrimages.

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Adios to Tears: The Memoirs of a Japanese-Peruvian Internee in U.S. Concentration Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Biography, Memoir
  • Displacement, Immigrant Experience
  • Widely available

Adios to Tears: The Memoirs of a Japanese-Peruvian Internee in U.S. Concentration Camps relays the life story of Seiichi Higashide (1909–97). The book was translated from Japanese into English and Spanish through the efforts of his eight children, and was first published in 1993 by E&E Kudo. A second edition of the book was published in 2000 by the University of Washington Press, with a new foreword by C. Harvey Gardiner, professor emeritus of history at Southern Illinois University and author of Pawns in a Triangle of Hate: The Peruvian Japanese and the United States; a new epilogue by Julie Small, co-chair of Campaign for Justice-Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans; and, a new preface by Elsa H. Kudo, the author's eldest daughter.

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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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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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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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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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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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The Nisei: The Pride and the Shame (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, War - glory, pain, necessity, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary film centering on the Japanese American wartime experience that was part of CBS television's weekly The Twentieth Century series. The half-hour episode was the first retrospective documentary on the wartime exclusion and incarceration experience.

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A Jive Bomber's Christmas (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Musical
  • Importance of community, Optimism - power or folly
  • Widely available

Musical play set in a World War II concentration camp by Saachiko and Dom Magwili. First produced for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in 1994, A Jive Bomber's Christmas became a holiday tradition in Los Angeles, enjoying a nine-year run and subsequent revivals in Los Angeles and in Hawai'i. The play was based in part on Saachiko Magwili's childhood memories of Heart Mountain and shares a structural similarity with Dom Magwili's earlier Christmas in Camp, first produced at East West Players in 1981.

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