Esther Newman

Esther Newman grew up in California. After college and a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she returned to school to study twentieth century American history. While in graduate school, she became interested in her family’s history which led to research on topics affecting the Japanese Diaspora including internment, migration and assimilation. She is retired but her interest in writing about and supporting organizations related to these subjects continues.

Updated November 2021

identity en ja es pt

Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30

Vini Taguchi, A Civil Engineer for Social Justice—Part 2

Read Part 1 >> Joining the JACL The Kakehashi program was Vini’s first experience where all the participants were Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. “I immediately discovered that I felt more at home in this community than I ever had with my Japanese friends because suddenly I was in a diverse group of Americans with varying racial identities and Japanese language abilities where my background was still unique but not so ‘different’ as it normally was.” “After the Kakehashi trip,” wrote Vini, “I longed to stay connected with m…

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identity en ja es pt

Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30

Vini Taguchi: A Civil Engineer for Social Justice—Part 1

Vinicius “Vini” Taguchi personifies the cross cultural, interconnected reach of today’s Nikkei community. His outlook is as broad as his background while his occupation and vocation focus on social justice. He’s both issei and gosei (a first generation immigrant more culturally aligned with 4th and 5th generation Japanese Americans), Brazilian and American, a civil engineer and a community activist. And, like the others in this series of Inspire Forward: Nikkei Heroes Under 30, he’s just getting started. Family Background Vini has assembled family stories, docu…

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war en

Telling the Story to Understand the History

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the United States entered WWII, thousands of American citizens who shared ancestry and facial features with the enemy and suddenly faced an overwhelming question. What would they, Japanese Americans, have to do to prove their loyalty to the country of their birth? Daniel James Brown’s Facing the Mountain examines the price of patriotism Japanese Americans paid through the lives of four young Nisei men—Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki, Kats Miho, and Gordon Hirabayashi—three of whom were members of the 442nd Regimental Comba…

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A New Mystery Novel, Island Style, from Naomi Hirahara

Naomi Hirahara’s new mystery novel, An Eternal Lei introduces us to Leilani Santiago, a spirited, insatiably curious young woman who lives in a multigenerational, multiethnic household on the island of Kauai. Leilani saves the life of a woman found floating face down in Waimea Bay and finds herself driven to discover the victim’s identity and connections to the island. Readers will be able to easily identify with Leilani as she forges a life of independence while remaining tightly connected to her family, presided over by her outspoken Baachan. Hirahara has created a convincing …

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media en

Hiroyuki Matsugen Matsumoto — Preserving the stories of Nikkei in Hawaii

Movie producer Hiroyuki Matsugen Matsumoto’s 2021 documentary, Okagesama de - Hawaii Nikkei Women’s Trajectory is his latest effort to preserve and tell the stories of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. This follows Go for Broke! Memories of Hawaii Japanese Nisei which was completed in 2012. These two films describe the journey of Japanese immigrants from hardship and triumph to their lasting influence on Hawaiian and American culture. Interviewed via email, Matsumoto wrote that he was born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1964 and raised in Gifu Prefecture, where he worked as a…

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