10 TV Shows That Depicted Japanese American Incarceration, For Better or For Worse

Actress Arden Cho wails in horror at the numerous historical inaccuracies in an episode of Teen Wolf set in a fictitious Japanese American concentration camp (Densho Blog)

Densho Blog is so good– entertaining, woke, and rewarding with deep pop-culture dives like this one!  Wonder Woman, Magnum, P.I., Teen Wolf!

Source: 10 TV Shows That Depicted Japanese American Incarceration, For Better or For Worse

Know Your Enemy Podcast

Wanted to take note of this new podcast from Dissent magazine, Know Your Enemy. I’ve been having trouble subscribing to it through the app I usually use due to a problem I don’t understand with the RSS feed. But the content looks pretty good– basically opposition research, or histories of some of the individuals and organizations that have populated the political right of the United States since the end of World War 2.

Perhaps I’ll follow up on this after I’ve had time to digest more of the show itself. Right now there are only about 7 episodes available. But if the quality of Dissents other podcast, Belabored, is any indication, this one will be a good one to follow as well.

The Subscribed Classroom: Using Podcasts to Teach About Social Justice | Teaching Tolerance

Great article from the online version of Teaching Tolerance.  The “Uncivil” podcast that the article recommends is fantastic.  I have listened to all of the episodes, and I’m hungry for more.  Podcasts as a medium or vehicle specifically for historical research holds particular value/ promise/ energy for precisely the reason that this article proposes in its opening lines: “Radio has the best pictures.”  Listening to an audio program like a podcast– particularly if it is well produced, with music and the occasional sound effect– is such and effective communicative tool.  Propagandists beware.  Propagandists take note.  Podcasts, when accompanied by appropriate notations and references (=hyperlinks), are the antidote for corporate fake news.

Source: The Subscribed Classroom: Using Podcasts to Teach About Social Justice

No No Boy by John Okada (Introduction)

Just started reading No-No Boy by John Okada. From the Introduction I was hooked. I mean, I was expecting it to be a powerful book, but Lawson Fusao Inada and the other researchers involved in the Combined Asian American Resources Project (CARP!) which re-published the novel in 1979 were obviously hugely affected when they discovered this book. Actually, the introduction mentions a few others as well, that I wanted to list up here, so I can keep following this thread in the future.

Frank Chin “Chickencoop Chinaman”– first Asian-American drama produced by “legitimate theater”

David Ishii (Seattle “landmark” Asian-Americana bookstore)– what is it called? Does it still exist?

Shawn Wong, Inada, Ishii and Chin, “Aiiieeeee!” Literary Magazine dedicated to John Okada and Louis Chu.

George Takei’s performance of Chin’s “The Year of the Dragon” televised nationally

Franklin Odo– Asian-American Studies Teacher at UCLA.

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Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart (1946, 1973)

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Louis Chu’s Eat a Bowl of Tea (1961)

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Toshio Mori’s Yokohama, California (1949)

Love Like Hate: A Novel by Linh Dinh

7809399Have a look at the review I just posted of this book by Vietnamese-American Author Linh Dinh.

Source: Love Like Hate: A Novel by Linh Dinh | Goodreads

I was surprised to find this title in the small English language section of the used books chain store near Hiroshima University. I wonder if it had been assigned for a class. Previous owner’s marginalia gave hints about their English reading level. Without getting too personal, a big part of the reason I was drawn to this book is that I recognized the author from the Carrboro International Poetry Festival (back in 2005 was it?) organized by Patrick Herron in the heyday of the Lucifer Poetics Group in North Carolina. The serendipity of reconnecting with this author’s work after more than a decade, having moved from the U.S. to Asia myself, felt somehow congruent to this novel’s particular sweeping historic and moral (satirical) power.

It is a novel that manages to capture the aftermath of the Vietnam War– the poverty, cultural and political upheaval, sweat, shrimp paste, inter-generational drama, and prostitution. The author does a great job of drawing out these gamey bits of sinew and collagen from the main loaf. A nod to the allure of dog meat, a pathetic ex-pat’s headache-inducing English “lessons,” the rightful owner of a wad of cash at the bottom of a jar of shrimp paste, the where-is-she-now moment with the Trang Bang napalm girl Phan Thi Kim Phuc (parenthetically demystified), the disdain for the embrace of superstition, and the embrace of superstition. It’s a hypnotic novel in all of its grotesque particulars. But it is gorgeous as well in its depicting an overarching transgressive humanity that extends across national borders and backward and forward in time.

Micro Review: Reading Japanese Education by Diane M. Hoffman

The opening Chapter, in DeCoker and Bjork’s Japanese Education in an Era of Globalization is a very helpful starting point for this collection of essays.  Hoffman begins with criticism of any “holistic” view of Japanese education which seeks to explain the entirety of a complex system by offering some “grand model.”  One such “grand model,” is the “Centrality of the Ministry of Education.”  Hoffman, doesn’t deny that their is some utility in for example a critical understanding of Japanese education in terms of a powerful centralized bureaucracy, but she is rightfully wary of any such account that mythologizes or adds excessive moral significance to such artifacts as political organization.  In this regard, Hoffman is somewhat skeptical of the genre of ethnographic research in general.  But she allows that research that seeks to understand Japanese education in comparison with other contexts is most useful when it neither erases diversity nor seeks to hold up Japan as a model.

The reminder of Hoffman’s essay describes four guiding themes or “tensions” in Japanese educational research.  She is observing patterns in existing research rather than suggesting areas for future study.  Likewise, her identification of themes or tensions don’t foreclose on alternatives.  Those four themes are as follows:

cultural versus structural effects

individual versus collective selves

education for belonging versus education for transformation

and homogeneity versus diversity.

In my experience as a teacher in Japan, and in my limited exposure to the literature on Japanese comparative education, I can see why these themes would present themselves as most evident or available means of analysis of the education system here.  First, as Hoffman echos in her essay, the Japanese nation and the Japanese cultural identity are conflated at every turn, both in and outside of academia.  But it is undeniable that “Japaneseness” is a cultural category that has had far-reaching effects even spilling over into political structures like citizenship and discourses in education like globalization.  I suppose this is the thematic substrate that I am most interested in accessing in my own writing about Japanese education, particularly in light of Hoffman’s closing salvo on “culture, power and difference in reading Japanese education,” but more on that in a moment.

The individual versus collective selves theme, is another one that I see becoming more prominent particularly in light of the neoliberal dominance of educational policy.  That is, the urge in neoliberal discourses of education to treat all aspects of educational systems as flows of capital has often bumped up against a deeper historical imperative for cooperation and a native democratic humanism that predates the arrival of liberalism in Japan from Europe.  Here again, though, the key is how best to use these categories of analysis without essentializing them or mythologizing unnecessarily.

Hoffman’s theme of education for belonging versus transformation is the one which I am least familiar with.  She mentions it specifically with regard to discourses of situated learning– from shellfish divers to violin teacher training.  This is an area of the literature which I will hopefully get a bit more exposure to as I read through Bjork and DeCoker’s collection.  It is also an axis along which it seems like it would be helpful to analyze teacher education in general.

Finally, comes Hoffman’s category of homogeneity versus diversity.  This one seems much more familiar and easily accessible to me, especially given my experiences as a foreign national working as a foreign language teacher in Japan.  But it also strikes me as a useful access point for criticism of ability tracking that is so prevalent here.

To return to Hoffman’s closing nod to “Japan and its Others” for a moment– here was another area where I thought the literature around linguistic imperialism might be usefully expanded.  Hoffman helpfully points out that power has long been undertheorized in the field of Japanese education.  I think this is particularly true when it comes to my particular professional corner of it: foreign language education, which in Japan typically means, EFL/ ESL.  It would be interested to trace the changing tides of EFL/ ESL education in Japan compared with the changing tides of the clout of Japanese Education in general in the world.  I wonder what patterns such a historical analysis might uncover.

Hopefully more to come in that vein next entry.  Now it’s time to pick up my son from Kindergarten.

 

from Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

From Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

“We should not think of our past as definitely settled, for we are not a
stone or a tree,” wrote poet Czeslaw Milosz. “My past changes every
minute according to the meaning given it now, in this moment.”

So, yes, you have the power to re-vision and reinterpret your past. Keep
the following question in mind as you go about your work: “How can I
recreate my history so as to make my willpower stronger, my love of life
more intense, and my future more interesting?”

These NC heroes should replace Confederate monuments | PoliticsNC

We have a glorious capitol. Modest and elegant, the 1839 building is considered a neo-classical gem. Surrounding it is a verdant square of neat pavilions. But for now, the area is scarred by Confederate monuments. Those statues will come down eventually. Here is who belongs in their place:

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1.) George Henry White A successful lawyer and businessman, the African-American from New Bern was the last black Congressman between Southern Redemption and the 1940’s. White supremacists hounded him from office in 1901. In his departing speech, White predicted that African-Americans would “rise like a phoenix” from their political disenfranchisement–a prophecy fulfilled by President Obama. His comments leaving North Carolina were darker: “I cannot live in North Carolina like a man and be treated like a man.” Let’s do him justice.

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2.) Daniel Russell The corpulent Wilmington farmer served as governor from 1897-1901. Governor Russell led the short-lived “Fusionist” movement of white Populists and the biracial Republican Party. A white Republican, Russell distinguished himself by fighting for African-American rights during the infamous Wilmington Coup of 1898, barely escaping with his life. Although his political movement was cut short, Russell’s courage was vindicated by history.

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3.) Harriet Ann Jacobs Jacobs shocked the consciences of northern women with her autobiographical novel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The bracing text describes her struggles with sexual abuse by masters and the grueling difficulties of maintaining an enslaved woman’s dignity. Her social and artistic accomplishment is all the more profound because the words came directly from a female escaped slave, at a time when  most African-Americans were kept illiterate by force of law. Her novel is a monument in itself; her life deserves physical commemoration.

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4.) Lillian Exum Clement The Capitol is ahead of the curve here. Clement is already noted on a poster lining the rotunda, and for good reason. This mountain native broke the political barrier keeping Southern women out of office, getting elected to the state House at age 26. She spent the rest of her life fighting for gender equality and social reform.

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5.) The Greensboro Four Never has our state had a prouder moment than on February 1, 1960. As most know–and all should–four students anchored themselves in a segregated Woolworth’s and demanded service. They kept it up for five months, and they won. A monument to these men would feature all four and be modeled on the Vietnam War memorial already present at the Capitol.

These statues would expand the story of our state. The struggle for racial justice would take its place alongside the military struggle for freedom (as memorialized in several US military monuments). More women, minorities and Republicans would join our pantheon. That’s long past due.

Source: These NC heroes should replace Confederate monuments | PoliticsNC