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Browse > Theme > Coming of age

73 articles

Kim/Kimi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Identity crisis, Quest for discovery
  • Widely available

Kim/Kimi (1987) by Hadley Irwin explores one teen's quest to discover herself by finding out about her father's past. Kimi Yogushi, who is more commonly known as Kim Anderson, has an Irish American mother. Kim's father Kenji, who had died before she was born, was Japanese American. Sixteen-year-old Kim happily lives with her family in an all-white community in Iowa but she begins to want to know more about the Japanese American part of her identity. Her mother finally tells Kim that Kenji had been disowned by his family for marrying outside his race.

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Farewell to Manzanar Educational Kit (curricula)

  • Curricula
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Memoir, Drama, History
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Injustice, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Limited availability (kit), widely available (book, teaching guide and film)

In 2003, the Farewell to Manzanar Education Initiative distributed 10,000 copies of the Farewell to Manzanar Educational Kit to California public schools and public libraries. The kit consists of the book, Farewell to Manzanar and Related Readings (1998), a teaching guide for the book (1998), a VHS cassette of the Farewell to Manzanar made-for-television movie (1976) with an additional 35-minute classroom version, and a video study guide (2002). Separate elements of the kit are available for purchase (except for the video study guide).

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Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice
  • Widely available

Book for young adult readers by Joanne Oppenheim that tells the story of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans through the wartime correspondence between a San Diego librarian and the incarcerated young people whom she had befriended at the library.

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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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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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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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Eagle Against the Sun (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Loss of innocence, Coming of age, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

A dramatic short film by John Akahoshi centering on a 17-year-old Japanese American high school girl and the impact the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has on her life.

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Caucasian Boy at a Japanese Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Displacement
  • Available

The son of the superintendent of schools at Tule Lake concentration camp recounts his experiences as a young boy there.

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The Kikuchi Diary: Chronicle from an American Concentration Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Nonfiction
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Self-awareness
  • Available

The diary of Charles Kikuchi, a Nisei, and his observations about the chaos for Japanese Americans in the Bay Area after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as well as life in Tanforan Assembly Center.

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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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Prisoners of the Empire: Educators' Guide (curricula)

  • Curricula
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Growing up - pain or pleasure, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Widely available

This guide, produced by Random House is for the Prisoners of the Empire series of four books by Graham Salisbury of which Under the Blood-Red Sun is the first title. These young adult novels focus on Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II. The other titles in the series are Eyes of the Emperor, House of the Red Fish, and Hunt for the Bamboo Rat.

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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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Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

First novel by acclaimed poet and memoirist David Mura that explores the impact of wartime incarceration—and the silences about it—on a Japanese American family in Chicago after World War II.

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And There Are Stories, There Are Stories (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Coming of age, Power of the past, Self – inner and outer
  • Available

Prose poem memoir by Momoko Iko that traces her family's journey out of the concentration camps and her subsequent upbringing away from Japanese American communities on the West Coast. She begins with her birth in 1940 to Issei parents, her fleeting recollections of her family's incarceration, and life after the war, first in Philadelphia, then Chicago. Various stories centering on racism, racial identity, interracial relations, and the legacy of the camps in the 1950s and 1960s follow, tracing the narrator's journey to becoming a writer.

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A Place to Belong (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Cynthia Kadohata that tells the story of a Japanese American family's experience in postwar Japan from the perspective of an adolescent female protagonist.

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The Shoyu Kid (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Illusion of power, Loss of innocence, Vulnerability of the meek
  • Widely available

Short story by Lonny Kaneko set in Minidoka centering on three boys who chase and bully a fourth boy, in the process unearthing his molestation by a camp guard. The Seattle-based author had been incarcerated at Minidoka as a child. The Shoyu Kid was originally published in Amerasia Journal in 1976.

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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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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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Good Luck Soup (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Individual versus society, Power of tradition
  • Widely available

Autobiographical documentary film by Matthew Hashiguchi that explores his and his family's experience growing up as mixed-race Japanese Americans in Cleveland, Ohio. Hashiguchi draws inspiration from his Nisei grandmother and family matriarch Eva Hashiguchi, who settled in Cleveland after leaving the Jerome, Arkansas, concentration camp during World War II and chose to remain there. In addition to the feature length film, the Good Luck Soup project also includes an interactive website that serves as an "participatory storytelling" platform.

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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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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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A Star Is Something to Steer By (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Short story by Mataileen Larkin Ramsdell about the contentious but affectionate relationship between a white high school teacher in Rohwer and an intelligent but cynical student. A young teacher from Wisconsin, Eve Erickson is immediately drawn to Joe Moriyama, the smallest boy in 11th grade homeroom class, who is constantly challenging her by pointing out the contradictions between the American creed and the treatment of Japanese Americans. In one instance, he tells her about a girl in her class who had her family farm registered in her name to get around the alien land law, but who now found herself the target of an escheat case upon the death of her father. Over time Joe and Eve come to like and respect each other. When Nisei are deemed eligible for the draft in 1944, Joe and other boys in her class are drafted, but he is uncharacteristically silent. He later ...

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Children of Detention Camps, 1942-1946 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Coming of age, Growing up - pain or pleasure
  • No availability

Traveling exhibition produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society that debuted in February 1992 at San Francisco City Hall. The sixty-panel photo exhibition looked at the incarceration experience from the perspective of children, who made up a significant portion of affected Japanese Americans. In addition to Japanese American youth, the exhibition includes the experiences of Aleuts and Japanese Latin Americans in the U.S. detention camps. A follow up to the 1990 exhibition U.S. Detention Camps, 1942–1946, Children of Detention Camps was displayed at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California and Children's Museum of Indianapolis among other venues.

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