Nonfiction

coverAN AMERICAN SON: THE STORY OF GEORGE ARATANI, FOUNDER OF MIKASA AND KENWOOD
Japanese American National Museum
May 2001
ISBN: 1881161153
$18.95, 321 pages

Decades before trade moved between the United States and Japan at its present pace, there was a Japanese immigrant's son with an American dream. Born to a farming tycoon in California, George Aratani was forced to leave the family business behind when incarcerated with over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. After the war, he traveled to Japan with little idea of what he would import from the war-devastated archipelago. What followed was the development of two powerful businesses, Mikasa and Kenwood. The story of the many who founded these companies not only reflects the economic rebuildling of Japan, but also the struggle of Japanese Americans to make significant contributions to American history. First in the American Profiles series published by the Japanese American National Museum.

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coverDISTINGUISHED ASIAN AMERICAN BUSINESS LEADERS
Greenwood Press
March 30, 2003
ISBN: 1573563447
$76.95, 256 pages

Although there are other reference books about Asian Americans, no other book focuses solely on businesspeople. This collection of engagingly written biographies gives the details on the lives of 96 Asian men and women who have had successful business careers, giving information on their education, training, and career highlights and histories. The book provides valuable information as well as inspiration to students, from high school through university. Each biography concludes with references for further reading, and an appendix lists the people profiled by field of business, from fashion to restaurant franchises, from high technology to the movie industry.

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coverGREEN MAKERS: JAPANESE AMERICAN GARDENERS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
California Gardeners' Federation
December 30, 2000
ISBN: 0970481608
$19.95, 160 pages

Green Makers explores the little-known history of an enterprising group of men and women. Learn how Japanese American gardeners transformed the Southern California landscape for more than a century. Equipped with only pick-up trucks and lawnmowers, they faced discriminatory laws and even the forced removal from their homes during WWII. Yet they remained committed to their goal: to make Southern California green for their families, ethnic communities, and region. This volume includes original writings, photographs, historic summaries, and a timeline spanning a hundred years. Written in both English and Japanese. B/W photos.

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coverA SCENT OF FLOWERS: THE HISTORY OF THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FLOWER MARKET, 1912-2004
Midori Books
2004
$39.95, 231 pages

A Scent of Flowers traces the century-long contributions of Japanese Americans and other ethnic Americans to the Southern California floricultural industry. Where there are now schools, shopping centers, and freeways were once acres of flowers, ranging from sweet peas and daisies to chrysanthemums and carnations. The Southern California Flower Market, founded by Japanese immigrants in 1912, was the first centralized center for flower sales in the region. Enter this vibrant world through the stories and photographs of these hard-working families. Through their experiences, readers will get a sense of how Southern California and its people have evolved from when the land was filled with fields of food and flowers.

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coverSILENT SCARS OF HEALING HANDS: ORAL HISTORIES OF JAPANESE AMERICAN DOCTORS IN WORLD WAR II DETENTION CAMPS
By Naomi Hirahara and Gwenn M. Jensen
Center for Oral and Public History California December 2004
ISBN: 0930046226
$18.50, 197 pages

This book opens the door to the lives of the Japanese Americans who practiced medicine under the most stressful conditions: within the confines of detention centers in their own country during World War II. These excerpts from original oral histories, collected by a special team organized by the Japanese American Medical Association, tell the story of men and women who depended on ingenuity and compassion to care for their patients in makeshift hospitals in remote areas of the United States. Proceeds from the sale of Silent Scars of Healing Hands benefit the Japanese American Medical Association Scholarship Fund.

 

coverA TASTE FOR STRAWBERRIES: THE INDEPENDENT JOURNEY OF NISEI FARMER MANABI HIRASAKI
By Manabi Hirasaki with Naomi Hirahara
Japanese American National Museum
November 2003
ISBN: 1881161188
$16.95, 217 pages

A young boy running through the garlic fields of Gilroy, California. A Japanese American on the battlefields of World War II Europe. A thirty-something man staking out new land for a farming venture that would change his life. Manabi Hirasaki, the son of a successful California farmer, lived this Nisei experience in his own way and on his own terms. A Taste For Strawberries vividly recounts one man's enduring relationship with the world of strawberries and his rise to become the first non-European American board member of Driscoll Strawberry Associates, the world's largest commercial strawberry distributor. A 522nd Field Artillery Battalion veteran, savvy entrepreneur, and generous philanthropist, the story of Mr. Hirasaki's life is sure to touch readers with its spirit and humor. A Taste For Strawberries is the second in the American Profiles series of biographies published by the Japanese American National Museum.

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© Naomi Hirahara.