The University of Hawai‘i Press is a monster of a publishing company — at least when it comes to (virtually) monopolizing the market for putting out Hawai‘i-Pacific-Asia-themed books in our region, most of them well-researched by top scholars in cultural and area studies.

Telling Lives: Women’s Self-Writing in Modern Japan: hardcover regularly $62, on sale $3; paperback regularly $27, on sale $1. (Photos courtesy of UH Press website)
Telling Lives: Women’s Self-Writing in Modern Japan: hardcover regularly $62, on sale $3; paperback regularly $27, on sale $1. (Photos courtesy of UH Press website)

Sure, there are the fun and arty Bess Press (besspress.com) and its quirky Kaimukï outlet of “books + curiosities,” Da Shop (dashophnl.com); Mutual Publishing (mutualpublishing.com), the closest in the islands to a viable commercial publisher; and other worthwhile competitors in the Hawai‘i book scene. Some longtime literary presses put out anthologies, journals and the occasional novel/chapbook by a single author (for instance, bambooridge.org whose writers’ work we often republish in the Herald); outstanding Kanaka Maoli educational publishing outlets (kamehamehapublishing.org), as well as distributors of Hawai‘i books, calendars and DVDs such as Booklines (booklineshawaii.com), additionally sell intriguing or surprising texts from their archives to the hungry reader. Sophisticated hybrid experiments in 21st-century publishing that combine traditional press acquisitions with curated self-publication efforts, such as Watermark Publishing (bookshawaii.net), also offer a tantalizing mix of locally themed reads.

But for sheer range of Pacific, Asian and local content — high-quality, carefully vetted, info so fascinating, so rich, you can spend hours living happily deep inside its collection of books — you cannot beat UH Press. So one of the lesser-known joys of the thinking Hawai‘i reader is the secret that since this monster has so much stock, with its octopus acquisition arms reaching across the Pacific Ocean to envelop writers and researchers demonstrating sheer diversity of topic, that it must downsize its inventory regularly.

We are saying: UH Press seems to always be putting up an amazing range of older publications for sale. Topics include culture, economics, science, history, literature, politics, gender, tourism, the performing arts, business, religion, environmentalism and more.

And you can get ‘um cheap! In some cases, for less than the cost of your morning cold brew (or evening boba drink). [Many of these on-sale books sport original retail prices from upwards of $30 through right under $70.] Here is a sampling of only Japan- and Hawai‘i -themed books from the “On Sale” section of the academic press’s website, as of the date of this issue’s publication:

• Celebrity Gods: New Religions, Media, and Authority in Occupied Japan – $5

• Waihine Volleyball: 40 Years Coaching Hawaii’s Team – $5

• Embodying Difference: The Making of Burakumin in Modern Japan – $5

• Making a Moral Society: Ethics and the State in Meiji Japan – $3

• Living On the Shores of Hawaii: Natural Hazards, the Environment, and Our Communities – $5

• The Growth Idea: Purpose and Prosperity in Postwar Japan – $3

• Reflections in a Glass Door: Memory and Melancholy in the Personal Writings of Natsume Soseki – $3

• Going Against the Grain: When Professionals in Hawaii Choose Public Schools Instead of Private Schools – $1

• The Alien Within: Representations of the Exotic in Twentieth-Century Japanese Literature – $5

• The Change of a Lifetime: Employment Patterns Among Japan’s Managerial Elite – $1

• A Japanese Robinson Crusoe – $1

• Big Happiness: The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior – $5

• Reading Food in Modern Japanese Literature – $5

• The Spectacle of Japanese American Trauma: Racial Performativity and World War II – $3

• Purloined Letters: Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937 – $5

• Faith and Power in Japanese Buddhist Art, 1600-2005 – $1

• Developing a Dream Destination: Tourism and Tourism Policy Planning in Hawaii – $5

• Woman Critiqued: Translated Essays on Japanese Women’s Writing – $1

• Confessions of Love, A Novel by Uno Chiyo – $1

• Japanese and Culture for Business and Travel – $3

• Hawaiian Reef Animals – $5

• Urban Japanese Housewives: At Home and in the Community – $1

• A Beggar’s Art: Scripting Modernity in Japanese Drama, 1900-1930 – $3

Enjoy! — uhpress.hawaii.edu/on-sale.


For the past five months, Discover Nikkei has been streaming a new video series, NIMA VOICES, that explores people of Japanese descent (Nikkei) worldwide, hosted by Nikkei up-and-coming artists and regional community leaders worldwide and especially aimed at the yonsei (fourth-generation), gosei (fifth-generation) and what Herald Editor Jodie Chiemi Ching calls the “now-sei” generation/s.

Nima are participants in Discover Nikkei’s online community (aka the Nima-kai) who are encouraged to share their stories about the Nikkei experience. According to the Discover Nikkei website, the term “Nima” comes from combining Nikkei and nakama (“colleagues,” “fellows” or a “circle”).

For past and current FREE episodes, see discovernikkei.org/en/events/dn-programs/, or login and subscribe to Discover Nikkei’s private YouTube channel at youtube.com/channel/UCRGSAaTPYMgumpQxyjvIHMg.

Episode 1, which aired on Oct. 27, is about Japanese Canadians. It features Japanese Canadians Chuck Tasaka and comedian-actor Kyle Mizono, the guest host who made a Comedy Central digital series called “Girl Kyle” (cc.com/shows/girl-kyle), and who has appeared on This American Life (NPR), Viceland (VICE network) and on shows broadcast over Freeform channel and Adult Swim. They talked about unusual Canadian Nikkei foods; the site of the first Japanese Canadian World War II-era concentration camp (which also remained a Nikkei community, post-war); Nisei nicknames and heroes to younger people in the community and other interesting topics.

Episode 2, about Chicago Nikkei, centered on a conversation between Eric Matsunaga and guest host Naomi Hirahara (award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series who has also written a serial story for Discover Nikkei). Matsunaga created projects to map JA neighborhoods important to Chicago history; Hirahara will publish Clark and Division, a new historical mystery set in 1944 Chicago, this August (penguinrandomhouse.com/books/653795/clark-and-division-by-naomi-hirahara).

Episode 3 highlighted Nikkei in the longtime JA communities in Washington state and in Los Angeles. Tamiko Nimura, a writer living in Tacoma, WA, who wrote Rosa Franklin: A Life in Health Care, Public Service and Social Justice (Washington State Legislature Oral History Program, 2020) and We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press/Wing Luke Asian Museum, March 2021), is featured in this show (you can read some of her work at discovernikkei.org/en/journal/author/nimura-tamiko).

Episode 3 is also guest-hosted by JA community activist Justin Kawaguchi, a senior at the University of Southern California. Kawaguchi participates in the USC Asian Pacific American Student Assembly and the Nikkei Student Union, volunteers at the JANM, co-chairs the Outreach Committee for Okaeri: A Nikkei LGBTQ Community (okaeri-losangeles.org) and serves as National Chair of the JACL National Youth Student Council.

USC student activist Justin Kawaguchi, an up-and-coming Asian American community leader, one of the hosts of the NIMA VOICES online video series of Discover Nikkei. (Photo courtesy of the USC Asian Pacific American Student Assembly website)

These episodes, which run from 30 to 40 minutes, so far are presented in English. But with hundreds of global members in the NIMA community, in the future, the online videos will soon include speakers of other languages.

For instance, Episode 4, to air Tuesday, Apr. 27, from 4-4:30 p.m. PDT, will be the first Spanish-language entry. It will feature Juan Alberto Matsumoto and be hosted by Mónica Kogiso who are both Nisei Japanese Argentineans from Escobar, Argentina. They will talk about Japanese Argentineans and Latin America Nikkei. Matsumoto, founder and CEO of Idea Network Consulting, lectures at Shizuoka Prefectural University and Dokkyo University (his Spanish-language articles can be found at discovernikkei.org/es/journal/author/matsumoto-alberto).

Kogiso is a production coordinator for Japanese media through which she promotes ties among various peoples and cultures. A former president of Centro Nikkei Argentino, she participates in the Panamerican Nikkei Association and supports the development of Nikkei youth leaders in Argentina and Latin America.

Sponsored by the Nikkei Legacy Project of the Japanese American National Museum (and by major funding from the Nippon Foundation), Discover Nikkei is a community website on “Nikkei identity, history and experiences” with the goal of “inviting space for the community to share, explore and connect with each other through diverse Nikkei experiences, culture and history” (for more, see discovernikkei.org/en/about).

This is not the first media effort of Discover Nikkei since its beginning as the JANM’s International Research Project, a multidisciplinary, multinational effort among over 100 scholars from 10 countries and 14 institutions in 1998-2001. Discover Nikkei’s vibrant website already encourages “NIMA” participation via a Nikkei Album, a multimedia community storytelling tool which allows members of the global Nikkei diaspora to share and preserve their personal, family and community stories; a Journal, which includes personal essays, research papers, human-interest stories, fiction, opinions and more of Nima; and videorecorded Interviews of real people, that document sociocultural history through profiling various subjects in the Nikkei community who work in the arts and governance, who have been incarcerated people of Japanese descent (imprisoned due to their race), who became pioneers in different fields and others in the global community of Nikkei.

This organization’s other resources include teacher Lesson Plans and also a Japanese American Military Experience Database, developed and maintained by the JANM’s Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center, which allows website visitors to search the database by inputting names of veterans or keywords (such as “Lost Battalion” or “Minidoka”). Family of deceased Nikkei veterans or the veterans themselves can download and submit a questionnaire off that webpage to include info on those military members (discovernikkei.org/en/resources/military) in the archive.


“Imagine completing three or more college-credit hours before you even apply to college. How good would that look on your college application,” asks the UH Mänoa Summer Scholar Program of Outreach College of Hawai‘i high-school students. This program lets sophomores and juniors who plan to later attend college get an early peek at what it is like to experience study at a university, earning college credits over six weeks of the UHM summer session/s.

Outreach College’s first summer session runs from May 24-July 2, and second summer session from July 6 to Aug. 13. But perhaps most relevant, the mid-summer session, June 14-July 23, was specially designed to fit the schedules of high-school students (see outreach.hawaii.edu/summer/summer-scholar-program for recommended mid-summer session courses).

Young students who have “the maturity and motivation to complete University-level course work” are especially encouraged to apply. Explains the Outreach College website, “The college environment promotes personal growth. Take this time to discover new interests, develop strategies for dealing with the intense and unique demands of a college career, and explore the unlimited potential that you possess!”

Benefits for any high-schoolers you know who might be interested include:

• See what college will be like by taking a class with college students on a college campus

• Sample an academic area that interests you

• Strengthen your basic writing, math, or speech skills in preparation for your college career

• Begin to fulfill UH Mänoa core requirements (if you matriculate to another college or university, these credits may transfer)

• Meet students from other high schools (local and mainland)

• Explore the UH Mänoa campus and its many resources with the assistance of our Summer  Scholar Coordinator

The deadline for applying, for which the application form, parental approval (signature and contact information), a residency declaration and transcripts through Fall 2020 are required, is Thursday, Apr. 15.

High-school sophomores and juniors in Academic Year 2020-2021 with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or over (through Fall 2020) and with the ability to do university-level study may apply by filling out the application with their parents or guardians (outreach.hawaii.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Summer-Scholar-Application-Form.pdf). For more information, call (808) 956-9246 or email sscholar@hawaii.edu; also, see outreach.hawaii.edu/summer/summer-scholar-program/apply-now.

Submit your application, Residency Declaration form and transcript via UH FileDrop (hawaii.edu/filedrop) with the recipient as sscholar@hawaii.edu.


Hui O Laulima is now taking applications for its 2022 Cultural Grant program. HOL grants “support the applicants’ efforts to preserve and perpetuate Okinawan culture, one of the missions of Hui O Laulima,” explains this Hawai‘i United Okinawan Association club’s press release. Awarded to individuals and groups in the spirit of laulima — the Hawaiian word for “giving a helping hand” — more than $210,000 in cultural grants and scholarships have been given out by this Uchinanchu women’s organization since 1984. The HOL Cultural Grants Committee’s selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

• Interest in the study, perpetuation and promotion of Okinawan culture (music, dance, art or other forms of artistic expression), language and history, including goodwill projects

• Leadership ability

• Community service

• Acceptance to study under a recognized instructor of Okinawan culture, language and/or history

• Participation in programs are for the promotion and perpetuation of Okinawan culture

• Financial need

• Overall potential for success

• Clarity of goal(s)

• Two letters of recommendation must be included in the application, from individuals other than the applicant’s relatives.

The application form, due on Saturday, July 31, lists the complete selection criteria. All grant projects/activities must occur in the 2022 calendar year (January through December). Monies cannot be used for purchase of costumes, equipment or supplies for personal use. [Or if they are, then the HOL club shall retain ownership of said costumes, equipment and/or supplies.]

Inquiries or requests for application forms should be directed to Karen Fuse, committee chair, at kcfuse@hawaii.rr.com.


Jamie Hirano and Jodie Chiemi Ching

Doctors, lawyers, hip-hop artists, comedians and fashion designers – these are examples of the dreams that many Nikkei following the Nisei generation are pursuing; dreams their ancestors couldn’t even

imagine before World War II. To celebrate Americans of Japanese ancestry who are expanding professionally, nationally and internationally, in the fields of science, business and entertainment, the Go For Broke National Education Center created a new series “Living the Nisei Dream” (youtube.com/watch?v=oex2TLV87as&t=1878s).

Sierra Katow. (Photos courtesy of the Go For Broke National Education Center website)

Hosted by writer, comedian and actor Sierra Katow, this series, which kicked off on Feb. 27, aims to spread awareness on the impact that World War II Nisei have had on society today. Split into a two-video segment and a Zoom session, the streamer sees Katow joined by hip-hop artist and teacher, Kaze Jones; featured shop owner Irene Tsukada Simonian; GFBNEC board member Staci Toji and GFBNEC’s CEO and President Mitch Maki.

Kaze Jones.

The first of four LTND episodes featured personal stories and experiences, with the panel discussing how past achievements helped pave the way for future generations of Japanese Americans. Shin-nisei Kaze Jones shared his personal healing journey through hip-hop music. With the encouragement of a friend, he started writing lyrics to pull him out of deep depression after the death of his younger brother. “Hip-hop saved my life,” said Jones.

Irene Tsukada Simonian, owner of Bunkado gift shop located in the heart of Little Tokyo, is the daughter of Military Intelligence Service veteran Masao Tsukada and Kayoko Tsukada. According to the Bunkado website (bunkadoonline.com/pages/about-us-2), the shop, established in 1946, is the first Japanese-owned business in Los Angeles. Today, you can browse through retro toy robots; Japanese 8-track and karaoke cassette tapes; vinyl records; daruma, maneki neko and tanuki figurines; incense and other Buddhist supplies; Japanese stationery and more. On the program Simonian introduced her new puppy/employee, Kuma, who has already been given a nickname by customers: “Bunka-dog.”

Irene Tsukada Simonian. (Screenshot from “Living the Nisei Dream” series on the GFBNEC YouTube channel)

The last segment of the LTND episode featured a panel discussion with the show’s participants about what “living the Nisei dream” meant to them. Maki pointed out that the definition of “the Nisei dream” is constantly expanding — meaning something different to everyone. For Simonian, it means, “I’m able to honor the struggle of my parents.”

Jones sums up the importance of remembering and honoring our ancestors by saying, “What’s the point of learning history if we’re not actually learning from it.” Upcoming episodes of LTND will feature more AJAs pursuing their dreams and honoring their predecessors.

GFBNEC is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching people about the history of Japanese Americans during World War II. To support the GFBNEC’s mission of preserving the Nisei veteran legacy, donate at goforbroke.org/support/donate/donate.php. Interested in keeping up with the “Living the Nisei Dream” series and more content on Nisei experiences? Check out the GFBNEC’s official YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UC-UqSdYoWl0O85JAx3u0m1A).


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