No Sword To Bury: Japanese Americans In Hawaii

Temple University Press
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When bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese American college students were among the many young men enrolled in ROTC and immediately called upon to defend the Hawaiian islands against invasion. In a few weeks, however, the military government questioned their loyalty and disarmed them. In No Sword to Bury, Franklin Odo places the largely untold story of the wartime experience of these young men in the context of the community created by their immigrant families and its relationship to the larger, white-dominated society. At the heart of the book are vivid oral histories that recall their service on the home front in the Varsity Victory Volunteers, a non-military group dedicated to public works, as well as in the segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Illuminating a critical moment in ethnic identity formation among this first generation of Americans of Japanese descent (the nisei), Odo shows how the war-time service and the post-war success of these men contributed to the simplistic view of Japanese Americans as a model minority in Hawai`i.
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About the author

Franklin S. Odo is Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and editor of The Columbia Documentary History of the Asian American Experience.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Temple University Press
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Published on
Nov 20, 2008
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781592138036
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War II
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Franklin Odo
Folk songs are short stories from the souls of common people. Some, like Mexican corridos or Scottish ballads, reworked in the Appalachias, are stories of tragic or heroic episodes. Others, like the African American blues, reach from a difficult present back into slavery and forward into a troubled future. Japanese workers in Hawaii's plantations created their own versions, in form more akin to their traditional tanka or haiku poetry. These holehole bushi describe the experiences of one particular group caught in the global movements of capital, empire, and labor during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Voices from the Canefields author Franklin Odo situates over two hundred of these songs, in translation, in a hitherto largely unexplored historical context. Japanese laborers quickly comprised the majority of Hawaiian sugar plantation workers after their large-scale importation as contract workers in 1885. Their folk songs provide good examples of the intersection between local work/life and the global connection which the workers 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. Odo also recognizes the influence of the immigrants' rapidly modernizing homeland societies through his exploration of the "cultural baggage" brought by immigrants and some of their dangerous notions of cultural superiority. Japanese immigrants were thus simultaneously the targets of intense racial and class vitriol even as they took comfort in the expanding Japanese empire. Engagingly written and drawing on a multitude of sources including family histories, newspapers, oral histories, the expressed perspectives of women in this immigrant society, and accounts from the prolific Japanese language press into the narrative, Voices from the Canefields will speak not only to scholars of ethnomusicology, migration history, and ethnic/racial movements, but also to a general audience of Japanese Americans seeking connections to their cultural past and the experiences of their most recently past generations.
Barbara Demick
An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a “tour de force of meticulous reporting” (The New York Review of Books)
 
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
 
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Praise for Nothing to Envy

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“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books

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At once provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ignited a global parenting debate with its story of one mother’s journey in strict parenting.  Amy Chua argues that Western parenting tries to respect and nurture children’s individuality, while Chinese parents typically believe that arming children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence prepares them best for the future.   Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua’s iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the Chinese way – and the remarkable, sometimes heartbreaking  results her choice inspires.  Achingly honest and profoundly challenging, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is one of the most talked-about books of our times.

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Franklin Odo
Folk songs are short stories from the souls of common people. Some, like Mexican corridos or Scottish ballads, reworked in the Appalachias, are stories of tragic or heroic episodes. Others, like the African American blues, reach from a difficult present back into slavery and forward into a troubled future. Japanese workers in Hawaii's plantations created their own versions, in form more akin to their traditional tanka or haiku poetry. These holehole bushi describe the experiences of one particular group caught in the global movements of capital, empire, and labor during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Voices from the Canefields author Franklin Odo situates over two hundred of these songs, in translation, in a hitherto largely unexplored historical context. Japanese laborers quickly comprised the majority of Hawaiian sugar plantation workers after their large-scale importation as contract workers in 1885. Their folk songs provide good examples of the intersection between local work/life and the global connection which the workers 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. Odo also recognizes the influence of the immigrants' rapidly modernizing homeland societies through his exploration of the "cultural baggage" brought by immigrants and some of their dangerous notions of cultural superiority. Japanese immigrants were thus simultaneously the targets of intense racial and class vitriol even as they took comfort in the expanding Japanese empire. Engagingly written and drawing on a multitude of sources including family histories, newspapers, oral histories, the expressed perspectives of women in this immigrant society, and accounts from the prolific Japanese language press into the narrative, Voices from the Canefields will speak not only to scholars of ethnomusicology, migration history, and ethnic/racial movements, but also to a general audience of Japanese Americans seeking connections to their cultural past and the experiences of their most recently past generations.
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