Japanese American Students and World War II
- PUBLISHED: August 2015
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian American Studies, History / Western History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 208 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in, 15 illus.
- ISBN: 9780295996622
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
During World War II over 5,500 young Japanese Americans left the concentration camps to which they had been confined with their families in order to attend college. Storied Lives describes—often in their own words—how nisei students found schools to attend outside the West Coast exclusion zone and the efforts of white Americans to help them. The book is concerned with the deeds of white and Japanese Americans in a mutual struggle against racism, and argues that Asian American studies—indeed, race relations as a whole—will benefit from an understanding not only of racism but also of its opposition, antiracism.
To uncover this little known story, Gary Okihiro surveyed the colleges and universities the nisei attended, collected oral histories from nisei students and student relocation staff members, and examined the records of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and other materials.
An Uneventful Life
Toward a Better Society
A Thousand Cranes
Afterword: Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund
Okihiro argues that while we give much scrutiny to racism and its negative impacts, we pay too little attention to anti-racism—the acts of resistance to injustice, however small, that lead to empowerment of the oppressed and ultimately to the democratization of all of society. Storied Lives illuminates a heretofore little-known episode of anti-racist struggle during some of the darkest hours in American democracy.- Pacific Reader
This significant work illuminates one facet of a story the larger dimensions of which are quite familiar, yet in personalizing the faces depicted in yearbooks and showing how difficult their achievements were, [Okihiro] has rendered an important service to the larger field of Asian American studies.- Journal of American Ethnic History
This book is a welcome expansion of our knowledge and perspectives about the education of American minority groups.- Journal of American History
Okihiro explores new territory in the field of Asian-American history by illuminating the story of the Nisei and their selective release from internment camps to attend colleges during World War II. Due to the quality and quantity of the primary source material available to him, Okihiro has been able to provide valuable insight and expose the emotional depth of these students whose lives are revealed through their own words and deeds.- Multicultural Review
Throughout the wartime years when Trudy King and I worked as volunteers in the National Student Relocation Council we had a constant sense of making history. We often talked about the book that we were going to write when the war was over, a book that would tell the story of the nisei students in their own words, but I was unable to do it. It was simply too painful. Gary Okihiro has done a splendid job! All we dreamed of for the book he has done.- Thomas R. Bodine, former West Coast Director, National Student Relocatioin Council
This is a solid contribution that will add substantially to our growing body of knowledge and will be useful in rethinking current attitudes towards racism and anti—racist movements. In so doing, it will contribute towards a more generous and less cynical view of race relations.- Franklin S. Odo, Counselor to the Provost, Smithsonian Institution