Category: japanese american internment


Immortality and Memory

“Memory,” as George Takei puts it in They Called Us Enemy, “is a wily keeper of the past.” It shifts and moves, changing over time. Memory, as well, is the keeper of the past and the means of immortality. It’s the act of remembering that connects us to those whom we have never personally met, not just with people that we tangibly interacted with … Read More Immortality and Memory


Chester Himes “Democracy is for the Unafraid”

Chester Himes wrote his 1945 novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go, while living in the home of Mary Oyama Mittwer, a Japanese American author who, along with her family, was incarcerated at Heart Mountain in Wyoming then relocated to Denver in 1943. In 1944, Himes wrote “Democracy is for the Unafraid,” which appeared in Common Ground. Himes saw Japanese incarceration firsthand, and he … Read More Chester Himes “Democracy is for the Unafraid”

Conversation with Kiku Hughes

In my Multicultural American Literature course this semester, I am teaching Kiku Hughes’ Displacement alongside John Okada’s No-No Boy and George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy. Each of these texts focuses on the incarceration of thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, and each of these focuses on the intergenerational trauma of incarceration. The generational effects of trauma run through multiple … Read More Conversation with Kiku Hughes


Multicultural American Literature Syllabus 2022

Over the past few years, I have taught numerous multicultural American literature courses, at various levels from sophomore to graduate. This semester, the texts center around the question, “Who is American?” Unlike previous semesters, I have read or taught these texts before, so none are really new to me. However, the overarching theme and the focus of the texts has provided me with ways … Read More Multicultural American Literature Syllabus 2022


The Unproportional Distribution of Shame: Part I

Guilt and the acknowledgment of wrongdoing constitute one’s feeling of shame. It arises when someone recognizes their culpability in an event or events and feel regret and sadness at their part in the action. On a recent episode of This American Life, Mohamadou Slahi, a man incarcerated at Guantanamo for years before his release, speaks with some of the individuals who interrogated and tortured … Read More The Unproportional Distribution of Shame: Part I