The Unknown Great
Stories of Japanese Americans at the Margins of History
- PUBLISHED: November 2023
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian American Studies, History / American History, Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 296 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 20 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295751887
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Through stories of remarkable people in Japanese American history, The Unknown Great illuminates the diversity of the Nikkei experience from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. Acclaimed historian and journalist Greg Robinson delves into a range of themes from race and interracial relationships to sexuality, faith, and national identity. In accessible short essays drawn primarily from his newspaper columns, Robinson examines the longstanding interactions between African Americans and Japanese Americans, the history of LGBTQ+ Japanese Americans, religion in Japanese American life, mixed-race performers and political figures, and more. This collection is sure to entertain and inform readers, bringing fresh perspectives and unfamiliar stories from Japanese American history and centering the lives of unheralded figures who left their mark on American life.
Authors & Contributors
Greg Robinson is professor of history at l’Université du Québec à Montréal and author of several books, including The Unsung Great: Stories of Extraordinary Japanese Americans and After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life. Jonathan van Harmelen is a PhD candidate in history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
These biographical sketches show the wide-ranging experiences within each generation of Nikkei, appropriately complicating earlier totalizing descriptions of Issei, Nisei, and Sansei. It should be required reading for anyone seeking a fuller view of Nikkei life experiences.- Karen M. Inouye, author of The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration
The Unknown Great is both critique and celebration. A must-read for anyone interested in uncovering the full range of experiences in the complexity and multiplicity that is Japanese America.- Duncan Ryūkan Williams, author of American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War
Greg Robinson is not only the foremost chronicler of not the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, but also an eminent historian of the life of the community before and after. With a depth of research unlikely to be rivaled, across a vast range of subjects, he has told stories in an engaging manner, offering a glimpse into the fullness of humanity that otherwise would be obscured or forgotten.- Frank H. Wu, coauthor of The Good Citizen