Community And History Are Dominant Themes of Authors’ Works at March 6 JAHSSC Authors/Artists Faire

The following is press release from the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California.


Two recurring themes of “Community” and “History” typify authors’ works at the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California’s Saturday, March 6, JAHSSC Authors/Artists Faire at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, 3301 Torrance Bl., Torrance, California, 90503, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

World War II and the incarceration, etched forever in art, history and literature as the defining moment of the lives of Issei and Nisei, are shown through various works of the historians, writers and artists. Such works as Diana Meyers Bahr’s oral history of the late Sue Kunitomi Embrey, The Unquiet Nisei, available for the first time in paperback at the Faire; Emeritus Professor of History, Don Hata’s Japanese Americans and World War II: Mass Removal, Imprisonment and Redress; Professor Lane Hirabayashi’s’ collection of War Relocation Authority photographs in his book, Japanese American Resettlement Through the Lens; Sharon Yamato’s DVD on the life of the late Michi Nishiura Weglyn, and the book, Moving Walls: Preserving the Barracks of America’s Concentration Camps; Eiko Irene Masuyama’s archive researched The Buddhist Church Experience in the Camps, 1942-1945; first-time fiction writer Stanley Kanzaki’s The Issei Prisoners of the San Pedro Internment Center; and artist Mary Higuchi’s award-winning Manzanar paintings reproduced on purchasable cards. Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga will also do a short presentation on a topical issue in her essay, Words Can Lie or Clarify: Terminology of the World War II Incarceration of Japanese Americans.

“Community” is also shared in a variety of ways. Through writings, such as Professor Hirabayashi’s Common Ground: the Japanese American National Museum and the Culture of Collaborations, and the Arcadia Publishing community series, Japanese Americans of the South Bay by Dale Ann Sato, and Sawtelle: West Los Angeles’ Japantown by Jack Fujimoto.

Professor Valerie Matsumoto’s works traces our history from past to present in Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982, and also the stories of Nisei girls in prewar Southern California and Issei and Nisei artists in selected chapters within larger texts.

CSUN Asian American Studies lecturer, Glen Omatsu, traces what has become the Sansei legacy in Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment, telling the story of the communities of activists for social justice and civil rights from the late 1960s that also link to current day issues. Further, Omatsu’s Teaching About Asian Pacific Americans: Effective Activities, Strategies and Assignments for Classrooms and Communities is a resource not only for college instructors but also high school social studies teachers and community organizations who seek resources for adult workshops and seminars in sharing heritage. He points out LAUSD high school teacher, Tony Osumi’s lesson, Feast of Resistance, which uses food to share experiences.

Sharing family stories reveals community ties through history, the values, and the lessons. Retired college professor, Midori Kamei, tells her story in Granddaughter of a Samurai, and Kaori Tanegashima, retired professor of Asian American Studies and Japanese language in Daughter of a Gun. Kathy Kobayashi, historical consultant, worked on Shades of L.A.: Pictures from Ethnic Family Albums, compiled in the 1990s, which includes many Issei and Nisei family photos (you may see friends and families!). Mystery writer, Naomi Hirahara, uses pieces of her family history in her Edgar award winning Mas Arai series, debuting her first hardcover and fourth novel, Blood Hina, at the Faire.

As the young generations today have their communities of sports leagues, the Nisei had judo among other Japanese martial arts. Ansho Mas Uchima’s Fighting Spirit gives the history of judo in Southern California from 1930 to 1941.

Wakako Yamauchi, playwright and short story writer, writes stories of what she knows from her life experiences in such works as And the Soul Shall Dance,12-1-A, and Songs My Mother Taught Me. She will read a short story from Rosebud, her new book to be published later this year.

Sansei writer, traci kato kiriyama, calls out to those who might want to join her in the exploration of art, death, war, place, and being, through her first book of poetry, signaling.

Lastly, FOOD. What is “community” without food? The majority of the Senshin Buddhist Temple Otoki cookbook committee are also JAHSSC members, including Chris Aihara, chairperson, and Qris Yamashita, design and layout. Iku Kiriyama, Otoki committee member, and chair of the March 6 Faire, submitted “Almond Chicken,” available only in Otoki, which she demonstrated on Torrance CitiCable’s Community Cooking around 1993. This recipe was one of the most requested and became a Community Cooking Classic and aired on other cable channels in the Southland. For several years, strangers and friends would come up and say that they had “just” seen “her” cooking show. She also shared several New Year “osechi ryori” recipes in Otoki—all “easy and good,” that she has used for over 30 years. Otoki is a virtual treasure trove of Issei, Nisei, and Sansei family recipes shared by temple families and friends. So, come to the Faire and take advantage of a new special price.

Artists Mary Nomura, fashion designer; quilters Mary Emi and Ruby Tabata; and Yasuko Sakamoto, Japanese artwork designs, were featured in the February 17 Rafu Shimpo article.

Carolyn Sanwo and Heritage Source will handle most of the sales and accepts MasterCard or VISA. Individual authors and artists will accept cash or checks only.

For questions regarding this free admission event, contact Iku Kiriyama at (310) 326-0608.

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