Rediscovered Art at Heart Mountain


It’s no secret that Heart Mountain was the inspiration for many artists held in captivity at the incarceration center that bore its name. The lonely peak towering over the vast wasteland of Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin became a symbol of isolation, perseverance, and hope for many who lost their freedom while …

On a Soul-Searching Journey with Kishi Bashi


Kishi Bashi at the Skirball Cultural Center on August 23, 2018.

Warehouse on the Corner of Gardena and Orchard*


At 94 years old, sprightly Ray Harbold has a twinkle in his eye as he sits in front of his treasured model train set while talking about playing golf up until only a few months ago. The years have slowed his faculties a bit, but there are still vestiges of …

The Heart of a Resister: Takashi Hoshizaki


It’s unfathomable that the affable white-haired Nisei with the quiet laugh could ever be accused of being unpatriotic or cowardly. There’s nothing about this active 90-year-old, former Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientist with a Ph.D. in botanical science that could be construed as either weak or disloyal. On the contrary, …

An Idyllic Detour from Hiroshima


On August 5, 1945, a cataclysmic event forever turned Hiroshima into the site of an international nightmare—much like the World Trade Center will always be linked to 9/11. On his recent historic trip to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on April 11, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry called the experience …

Honoring the Last of the Heroes


It’s not often that one gets to shake hands with a Medal of Honor recipient, especially since there are only 78 in the country still living. I had that rare opportunity last week at the Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV) Reunion in Las Vegas.

Branded as Dishonorably Discharged: Uncovering the Story Behind the Disciplinary Barracks Boys


Most people, even avid followers of Japanese American history, might ask, “Who are the disciplinary barracks boys?” In the seventy years since the end of WWII, little has been written about this group of 21 soldiers who in 1944 faced military criminal trials, dishonorable discharge, and imprisonment in the United …

On a Quest to Find Barracks


I spent a month in Cody, Wyoming, on an unusual mission. I wanted to locate as many barracks as I could—buildings left behind when the Heart Mountain concentration camp closed and the last Japanese American family was ordered to leave in November 1945. I did so under the auspices of …

Thread of Life: Strength, Survival, and a Singer Sewing Machine


Alan Nishio: One for All


The smiling gentleman being roasted at the sold-out event to raise money for the youth-empowering program, Kizuna, was hardly the young radical who thirty-five years ago could have been mistaken for the sword-carrying D’Artagnan in the battle for redress. In the spirit of the roast, Chris Aihara, one of his …

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I discovered my Nikkei roots very late in life, and for that reason I have been referred to as a born-again Sansei by some of my sarcastic friends. I used to duck when I saw large groups of JA students while I was at UCLA. But long after I graduated college, I started a Los Angeles chapter of the Sansei Legacy Project, a group that was founded to foster our Sansei-ness. It worked! I now love spending my time writing and making films about what it means to be Japanese American.


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