Racialicious

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Posts tagged "Japanese American"

I like to say that I have a transnational, multicultural, multiethnic identity. I am hapa, haafu, I am both/and, Japanese AND American. But I know that many others still see the world in dichotomies, as either/or, Japanese OR American.

I know what I look like. I’ve seen my face in the mirror before. But I forget that others might see me differently than I see myself. And I know who I am. But I am aware that others usually do not know me.

I was reminded of this while riding in a taxi with my 108 year-old grandmother in Matsuyama, a city on the island of Shikoku. Incredibly, she still likes shopping and chatted excitedly as we drove downtown to Mitsukoshi, her favorite department store. The taxi driver eyed me for a while in the rear view mirror before asking the inevitable question, “Where are you from?” I tried to dampen his curiosity. “Tokyo,” I answered curtly. But he was not easily discouraged, “I mean which country?” “Country?” I repeated, as if it was a dumb question. “I think Tokyo is in Japan, isn’t it?”

He looked at me strangely before laughing nervously. He was puzzled. He expected me to say America. Of course I could say America. My father was American and I lived there half my life. But I could also say Japan. I was born here, my mother, wife and children are Japanese and I have lived the other half of my life here. Then again, I could also say that I am multicultural, multilingual, multinational, transnational, international or a global citizen, not just a citizen of any one country.

My grandmother sitting beside me interrupted my musings by declaring to the taxi driver, “He’s an American, from the United States.”

I was about to protest, “Yes, but I am also Japanese,” but knew that it was futile; after all these years living in Japan, working for a national university, even legally becoming a Japanese citizen, she still thinks of me as her beloved American grandson.

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, “My Transnational Hapa Identity In Question,” Discover Nikkei 2/22/13

racebending:

get-the-bleach:

George Takei urging repeal of 1942 order that interned Japanese Americans during WWII

From the LA Times:

Actor George Takei shared a few vivid memories with the Board of Supervisors before it repealed Los Angeles County’s support for the internment of Japanese Americans and others of Japanese descent during World War II.

“I was 4 years old at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941,” said Takei, best known for his role as Lt. Hikaru Sulu in the “Star Trek” television series and feature films. “But I have a memory that’s seared into my mind from when I just turned 5 in April of 1942.”

On Wednesday, Takei, now 75, recounted the day when soldiers with shining bayonets on their rifles banged on the door of his Los Angeles home and herded his family into a waiting truck. They were taken with others of Japanese lineage to living quarters in a horse stable at the Santa Anita racetrack that reeked of manure.

“As my mother carried my baby sister and a duffel bag, I saw tears rolling down her cheeks,” Takei said. She “thought it was the most humiliating and degrading experience of her life.”

His family was later relocated to an internment camp in Arkansas, where Takei would go to school in a tar paper barracks, line up three times a day to eat in a noisy mess hall and bathe in a group shower. Standing for the pledge of alliance, Takei said, “I could see the barbed wire and the sentry tower from my school house window as I recited ‘with liberty and justice for all.’ ”

On a motion from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the board overturned its 70-year-old resolution that urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proceed with the internment of Japanese Americans. About 150,000 people of Japanese descent were held in camps until January 1945.

futurejournalismproject:

This Day in History: Executive Order 9066 & Japanese Internment Camps

On February 19, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 allowing the US military to create domestic exclusion zones and remove people from them.

“Within days,” the Los Angeles Times reminds us, “the military began removing all Japanese Americans and Japanese from the West Coast.

“Within months, about 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans – almost two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens –were moved to internment camps scattered through eastern California, Arizona and other Western States.”

The LA Times Framework blog has a great slideshow of the images they published at that time.

Images: Lead image is a sign notifying people of Japanese descent to report for relocation, via Wikipedia. Photos via the LA Times Framework blog.

(via jadedhippy)

From blog-friend of the R Angry Asian Man:

Ling Woo Liu, Director of the Korematsu Institute, shares a short list of things you can do to celebrate Fred Korematsu Day — that’s today! January 30.

Just in case you may not know who Mr. Korematsu is, this from the wiki about him:
Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (是松 豊三郎 Korematsu Toyosaburō?, January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005) was one of the many Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast during World War II. Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War and his military commanders to require all Japanese Americans be removed from designated “military areas” and placed in internment camps. When such orders were issued for the West Coast, Korematsu instead became a fugitive. The legality of the internment order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States, but Korematsu’s conviction was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence, challenging the necessity of the Japanese internment, which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war.
To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” was observed for first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, and first such commemoration for an Asian American in the US.

From blog-friend of the R Angry Asian Man:

Ling Woo Liu, Director of the Korematsu Institute, shares a short list of things you can do to celebrate Fred Korematsu Day — that’s today! January 30.

Just in case you may not know who Mr. Korematsu is, this from the wiki about him:

Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (是松 豊三郎 Korematsu Toyosaburō?, January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005) was one of the many Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast during World War II. Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl HarborPresident Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War and his military commanders to require all Japanese Americans be removed from designated “military areas” and placed in internment camps. When such orders were issued for the West Coast, Korematsu instead became a fugitive. The legality of the internment order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States, but Korematsu’s conviction was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence, challenging the necessity of the Japanese internment, which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war.

To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” was observed for first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, and first such commemoration for an Asian American in the US.

ofanotherfashion:

In 1966, after studying at the University of Hawaii for two years, my mom Sumiko Carroll (née Namihira) went to Tokyo, intending to enroll in a Japanese university. However, while in Tokyo, she read a 2-line ad in the Japan Times (an English language newspaper), seeking flight attendants for Northwest Orient Airlines. Mom says, “I didn’t think I would get the job. I went mostly because I wanted to see who else would show up, but when I got there with my resumé, I was the only one there!” What followed were 5 days of tests, a different subject for each day, including English and math. Two weeks later, she was told to pack and prepare to fly to Minnesota for training. Along with Mom, only two other women were hired.

After working for Northwest Orient for a year, Mom was hired by Pan American Airlines. Pan Am intended to compete with Japan Airlines on their Asian routes, and sought out flight attendants that had already been trained. The hiring was done in Tokyo, although Mom was based in Honolulu. She says the Asian flight attendants worked the Asia routes only. Mom says “I was under the height requirement, over the weight limit, and so plain! That was back when they hired the most beautiful girls, just gorgeous, most of them looked like models. But I was fluent in both English and Japanese, and that’s why they hired me.” Personally, I think they also hired her because Mom had a reputation for working hard - her nickname was “Little Tiger.”

Mom is seated in the center. From left to right, the other women are Motoko Hanyū, Hisako Kobayashi, Kyoko Ōtake, and Miyako Kuroda.

Today, my mom is a member of World Wings International. She also contributed photos and other memorabilia to the Airborne Dreams exhibit, and recently read Christine Yano’s book of the same name. 

Submitted by MK Carroll (Honolulu, HI).

Click here and here for more photos from Airborne Dreams.