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Browse > Theme > Coming of age

73 articles

Chikara!: A Sweeping Novel of Japan and America From 1907 to 1983 (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Evils of racism, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Forgiveness, Greed as downfall, Fate and free will, Heartbreak of betrayal, Heroism - real and perceived, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Inner versus outer strength, Lost honor, Lost love, Nationalism - complications, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past, Will to survive
  • Available

This work of historical fiction traces the tumultuous rise and fall of the Hoshi family, whose scion, Sataro, takes his wife Itoko and eldest son Noboru to California in 1907 to seek his fortune and restore his family's honor. He leaves his second son Hiroshi behind with family, a decision that marks the inauspicious first step of the tragic transpacific drama that unfolds over the course of the novel.

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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

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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Missing in Action (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 part-Navajo teenager moves with his mother to her hometown of Delta, Utah, and his struggle to find his own identity is aided by his friendship with Ken, a Japanese American teenager, who refuses to allow his family's incarceration at nearby Topaz defeat his spirit.

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A Century of Change: The Memoirs of Nellie Yae Sumiye Nakamura from 1902 to 2002 (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Injustice, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

The recollections of a Nisei woman, from her childhood in the Santa Clara Valley, to her marriage, her family's incarceration at Santa Anita and Heart Mountain , and their efforts to rebuild their lives back in California after the war ended.

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I'll Remember April (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Coming of age, Loss of innocence, Fear of other
  • Available

Dramatic film directed by Bob Clark and written by Mark Sanderson set in April 1942 about four young boys who discover a Japanese sailor. One of the boys is Japanese American, and he and his family also prepare for their imminent forced removal and incarceration. Pat Morita plays the boy's grandfather.

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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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Gambling Den (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Immigrant experience, Loss of innocence, Role of women, Temptation and destruction
  • No availability

Short story by Akemi Kikumura about a Japanese American family in Lodi, California, on the eve of World War II. Told in the first person voice of fifteen-year-old Peggy Tanaka, the story begins with the Tanaka family's fateful purchase of a restaurant in 1941. The restaurant soon becomes a success as migrant workers are drawn to both Mrs. Tanaka's cooking and the beauty of Ann, Peggy's eighteen-year-old sister. Mr. Tanaka's decision to open a gambling den in back further adds to profits, despite Mrs. Tanaka's disapproval and the necessary kick-backs to a corrupt local policeman. But the Tanakas' lives are soon to be complicated by Ann's romance with a young man of burakumin (Japanese outcaste) origin, a conniving neighbor, and the impending roundup of Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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The Bracelet (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Short educational film that demonstrates the use of a popular children's book in an elementary school classroom. Patty Nagano, a teacher at Bret Harte Elementary School in the Alhambra, California, School District, begins by asking the class—which appears to consist of second or third graders—if they have experienced someone close to them moving away and listens as several children talk about their memories of such an experience. She then briefly explains what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II and reads the Yoshiko Uchida book The Bracelet to the class. As she reads, images of the class and Joanna Yardley's illustrations are augmented by archival photographs of the mass removal and incarceration, along with sound effects. After finishing the book, Nagano engages the class in a series of activities: asking them for their initial reactions to the book and answering questions about her and her family's experience; showing the …

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Stand Up For Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Injustice, Coming of age
  • Available

Short film that dramatizes the story of Ralph Lazo , a Los Angeles high school student of Mexican and Irish descent, who voluntarily chose to go to Manzanar to support his Nisei friends and protest the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Under the Blood Red Sun (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Growing up – pain or pleasure, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Acclaimed novel for young adults set in the early months of World War II told through the eyes of a teenage Nisei protagonist in Honolulu whose father and grandfather are both interned. The novel was made into a feature film in 2014. It was followed by a sequel, House of the Red Fish , in 2006.

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Silent Honor (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Romance
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Everlasting love, Evils of racism, Loss of innocence, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Novel by bestselling author Danielle Steel about a Japanese American family in the San Francisco Bay Area and their wartime odyssey in American concentration camps, highlighting a romance between a niece recently arrived from Japan and a white college professor.

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Half Kenneth (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, Short
  • Coming of age, Loss of innocence, Family - blessing or curse
  • Limited availability

Short dramatic film about two mixed race brothers at Manzanar in 1945. A 21-minute short, Half Kenneth was made by Ken Ochiai as a master's thesis film at the American Film Institute.

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Dust of Eden (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Injustice
  • Widely available

Acclaimed children's book in verse about the wartime incarceration experience of a Japanese American family told from the perspective of a middle-school aged girl.

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House of the Red Fish (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Empowerment, Good versus bad, Importance of community
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Graham Salisbury about a Nisei teenager in wartime Honolulu who struggles to bring up the sunken fishing boat of his interned father. It is a sequel to the popular 1994 novel Under the Blood-Red Sun .

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Thin Wood Walls (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Loss of innocence, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Children's book by David Patneaude that follows a Japanese American boy and his family as they are forcibly removed from their Washington state home and sent to the Tule Lake concentration camp during World War II.

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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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Starting from Loomis (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice
  • Widely available

Autobiographical short story by Hiroshi Kashiwagi that traces his life from his childhood on farms in the Loomis, California, area, his family's forced removal and incarceration at the Marysville Assembly Center (which Kashiwagi refers to as "Arboga," an alternative name) and Tule Lake , and his decision to answer "no-no" to the loyalty questionnaire both out of anger and protest and in alignment with the rest of his family. While describing the difficult conditions of concentration camp life, the narrator—who was two years out of high school at the time—takes his first tentative steps in the world of theater and literature while in camp. His father's absence from the family from prior to the war due to tuberculosis looms large. Written from the perspective of an old man looking back at his youth, the story ends with the lifelong ramifications of his wartime incarceration and his "no-no boy" status.

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A Flicker in Eternity (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Short
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Loss of innocence, Coming of age
  • Widely available

A short documentary film from 2013 by Sharon Yamato and Ann Kaneko about the experiences of a young Nisei named Stanley Hayami , based on his diary and letters. A Nisei teenager incarcerated with his family during World War II at Heart Mountain , Hayami kept a diary documenting his life and thoughts in camp and subsequently as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team until his death while in combat in Europe just days before Germany surrendered. Filmmakers Yamato and Kaneko tell the story largely in Hayami's own words, voiced by actor Aaron Yoo, as well as those of his older sister Sach, voiced by Amy Hill. The film includes archival photographs and footage and aspiring artist Hayami's own drawings from his diary, often in animated form. The DVD release of the film included interview footage with Hayami family members including Stanley's sister-in-law Miwako Hayami, niece Dawn Hayami, …

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A Diamond in the Desert (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Forgiveness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Novel for children centering on Tetsuo Kishi, a teenager at the Gila River , Arizona, concentration camp who finds solace in baseball.

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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 …

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Day of Independence (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Coming of age, Family - blessing or curse, Self-reliance
  • Available

A 2003 short dramatic film about one Japanese American family's World War II experience in an American concentration camp, told through the narration of a young baseball player, whose life is traumatically altered by the forced removal and his father's decision to expatriate back to Japan. The screenplay is based on the real-life experiences of playwright and executive producer Tim Toyama's family and adapted from a play Toyama wrote entitled "Independence Day".

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The Red Kimono (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Novel that tells parallel stories of a Japanese American family that is uprooted from their Berkeley, California, home and sent to American concentration camps during World War II, and a young African American man who goes to prison for the beating death of that family's patriarch.

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Snow Falling on Cedars (book)

  • Books
  • Historical fiction
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Desire to escape, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Fear of other, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, individual versus society, Power of the past
  • Available

A World War II veteran reporting for his small town newspaper covers the trial of a local Japanese American man charged with murder while he struggles with his complicated feelings for the defendant's wife, his first love.

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