Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Books & Conversations Past Events


Saturday, June 28, 2014
2:00 PM

When Half is Whole by Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu


"I listen and gather people's stories. Then I write them down in a way that I hope will communicate something to others, so that seeing these stories will give readers something of value. I tell myself that this isn't going to be done unless I do it, just because of who I am. It's a way of making my mark, leaving something behind...not that I'm planning on going anywhere right now."

So explains Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu in this touching, introspective, and insightful examination of mixed race Asian American experiences. The son of an Irish American father and Japanese mother, Murphy-Shigematsu uses his personal journey of identity exploration and discovery of his diverse roots to illuminate the journeys of others. Throughout the book, his reflections are interspersed among portraits of persons of biracial and mixed ethnicity and accounts of their efforts to answer a seemingly simple question: Who am I?

Here we meet Norma, raised in postwar Japan, the daughter of a Japanese woman and an American serviceman, who struggled to make sense of her ethnic heritage and national belonging. Wei Ming, born in Australia and raised in the San Francisco of the 1970s and 1980s, grapples as well with issues of identity, in her case both ethnic and sexual. We also encounter Rudy, a "Mexipino"; Marshall, a "Jewish, adopted Korean"; Mitzi, a "Blackinawan"; and other extraordinary people who find how connecting to all parts of themselves also connects them to others.

With its attention on people who have been regarded as "half" this or "half" that throughout their lives, these stories make vivid the process of becoming whole.

Purchase When Half is Whole from the JANM Store >>

Read a book review of When Half is Whole >>

Articles Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu contributed to Discover Nikkei >>

Saturday, May 24, 2014
2:00 PM

Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara


The first in a new series by Naomi Hirahara featuring LAPD bicycle cop Ellie Rush!

Bike cop Ellie Rush dreams of becoming a homicide detective, but it’s still a shock when the first dead body she encounters on the job is that of a former college classmate.

At the behest of her Aunt Cheryl Toma, the highest-ranking Asian American officer in the LAPD (a source of pride for Ellie’s grandmother, but annoyance to her mom), Ellie becomes tangled in the investigation of the coed’s murder—with equal parts help and hindrance from her nosy best friend, her over-involved ex-boyfriend, a smoldering detective, and seemingly everyone else in her extended family…only to uncover secrets that a killer may go to any lengths to ensure stay hidden.

Murder on Bamboo Lane at the Museum Store >>

Saturday, May 17, 2014
2:00 PM

Nikkei Baseball by Samuel Regalado


Author Samuel Regalado will talk about his book and the history and importance of baseball in the Japanese American community. In the book, he explores key historical factors such as Meji-era modernization policies in Japan, American anti-Asian sentiments, internment during WWII, the postwar transition, economic and educational opportunities in the 1960s, the developing concept of a distinct “Asian American” identity, and Japanese Americans’ rise to the major leagues with star players including Lenn Sakata and Kurt Suzuki and even mangers such as the Seattle Mariners’ Don Wakamatsu.

Purchase the book from the Museum Store >>

In conjunction with the exhibition Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game
Saturday, March 15, 2014
2:00 PM

Breaking Silences: Uncovering Memories of Japanese American Imprisonment

events/topaz.jpg In this intergenerational reading, Sansei poet and editor, Brian Komei Dempster, will discuss his community-based writing projects and anthologies, in which Japanese Americans—mostly Nisei—tell their stories of wartime incarceration and post-war resettlement. Dempster will also read poems from his debut collection, Topaz, which looks at the legacy of the camp experience and its impact on younger generations.

Joining Dempster is project participant Toru Saito, along with prominent Nisei writer, Wakako Yamauchi, whose granddaughter Alyctra Matsushita, will read excerpts from Yamauchi’s dazzling story collection, Rosebud (University of Hawaii, 2011, edited by Lillian Howan).

Co-sponsored by Collecting Los Angeles, a program of UCLA Library Special Collections.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
2:00 PM

Starting from Loomis and Other Stories by Hiroshi Kashiwagi

events/starting_from_loomis.jpg FREE

Dr. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi presents a memoir by accomplished writer, playwright, poet, and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi. Edited with an introduction by Tim Yamamura, the book chronicles Kashiwagi’s confinement at Tule Lake, the stigma of being labeled a “No-No Boy,” and the traumas of racism.

Q&A with Kashiwagi and Yamamura to follow. This program is co-sponsored by the Aratani Endowed Chair, UCLA Asian American Studies.

Click here to read an article with Hiroshi Kashiwagi on Discover Nikkei>>
Sunday, October 13, 2013
2:00 PM

Voices From the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai'i by Dr. Franklin Odo

events/voices_from_the_canefields.jpeg Japanese immigrant laborers comprised the majority of Hawaiian sugar plantation workers after their large-scale importation as contract workers in 1885. They composed unique folk songs called holehole bushi which merged melodies with lyrics about work, life, and the global connection which they clearly perceived after arriving.

While many are songs of lamentation, others reflect a rapid adaptation to a new society in which other ethnic groups were arranged in untidy hierarchical order - the origins of a unique multicultural social order dominated by an oligarchy of white planters.

In Voices From the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai'i, Dr. Franklin Odo situates over 200 translated songs in their unexplored historical context.

Read our interview with Dr. Franklin Odo on Discover Nikkei>>



Jump to Top of Page Japanese American National Museum home
Copyright © 1998-2018 Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles California 90012   ▪   phone: (213) 625-0414