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A Conversation with Frank Abe – The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration 

May 18 @ 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

Join Frank Abe for a discussion of the new book The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration, which he co-edited with Floyd Cheung. Book signing to follow – books will be available for purchase at the event. Frank will be joined in his presentation by Emily Teraoka, the Lead Park Ranger at Manzanar National Historic Site.

The Literature of Japanese American Incarceration is an anthology of writing by Nikkei who were persecuted by the U.S. government after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Some of the writers were incarcerated, others are their descendants. As a body of 70 works, it captures the shared story of the struggle to retain personal integrity in the face of increasing dehumanization. Scroll down for more details about the book.

A Conversation with Frank Abe
Saturday, May 18, 1-2pm
At 220 PDX
220 NW 2nd Ave, 1st Floor
Portland, OR 97209

More about the book

This anthology presents a new vision that recovers and reframes the literature produced by people of Japanese ancestry who were targeted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and who were denied individual hearings or due process. From nearly seventy selections of fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, and letters emerges a shared story of the struggle to retain personal integrity in the face of increasing dehumanization—all anchored by the key government documents that incited the action. 

The selections favor the pointed over the poignant, and the unknown over the familiar, with several new translations among previously unseen works that have been long overlooked on the shelf, buried in the archives, or languished unread in the Japanese language. The writings are presented chronologically so that readers can trace the continuum of events as the incarcerees experienced it. 

The contributors span incarcerees, their children born in or soon after the camps, and their descendants who reflect on the long-term consequences of mass incarceration for themselves and the nation. Many of the voices are those of protest. Some are those of accommodation. All are authentic. Together they form an epic narrative with a singular vision of America’s past, one with disturbing resonances with the American present.  

About Frank Abe

Frank Abe is lead author of a graphic novel, We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press, 2021), named a Finalist in Creative Nonfiction for the Washington State Book Award. He won an American Book Award as co-editor of John Okada: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press, 2018), in which he authored the first-ever biography of Okada and traced the origins of his novel. He wrote and directed the award-winning PBS documentary Conscience and the Constitution and in 1979 helped organize the first-ever Day of Remembrance event in Portland. 

220 NW 2nd Ave
Portland, Oregon 97209 United States
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