NISEI: The Quiet Americans by Bill Hosokawa

NISEI: The Quiet Americans

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A general (has there been any other?), thoroughgoing, survey-history of the Japanese-Americans from the first Issei, Manjiro, who was picked up by a New Bedford whaler and brought here in 1843. The initial, relatively small, migration came some 25 years later and before long this uncomplaining source of ready and cheap labor was brought over in the steerage ""like silkworms on a tray."" Not that there was not some resentment against them as they became predominantly farmers, secondarily worked on the railroads or as domestics. The resentment, coupled with racial animus, led to the anti-alien land measures (""we cannot-sell our birthright for a tea garden"") and harassment. Somewhat clannish, shy, overserious, the second generation sought for an identity and with World War II found their patriotic allegiance denied as 110,000 (120,000 the alternate figure here) were uprooted, evacuated and relocated behind barbed wire. This part of the book is inevitably more dramatic--as is their combat war record and the staunch contribution of the JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) with its unremitting spokesman, Mike Masaoka. Mr. Hosokawa must also be a quiet American; there is no trace of rancor in this account or at the continuing evidence of racial mistrust. The book, if read, will be remedial and it is based on the more serious academic literature as well as official reports of various federal and state agencies.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1969
Publisher: Morrow