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japanese american

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‘I get to be a big brother’: Veteran, 70, adopted as a child from Japan discovers his 7 siblings in Ohio

  • Seventy-year-old Michael Bennett, who was adopted as a child, met seven of his siblings for the first time after undergoing a DNA test in 2019.
  • Bennett was born in Japan in 1951 to a Japanese woman and an American soldier who served in the country after World War II.
  • Bennett’s adoptive parents raised him with knowledge of his biological parents, and he understood why he had to be given up.
  • The Green Beret said the discovery “opened up a whole new world for me” and that he now “gets to be a big brother.”

A Japanese American veteran had the reunion of his life when he met seven of his siblings for the first time after undergoing a DNA test to find out more about himself.

Michael Bennett, 70, was born in Japan in 1951 to a Japanese mother, Yoshiko Nakajima, and an American father, Dick Webster, who served in the country after World War II.

Norman Mineta, first Asian American Cabinet secretary, dies at 90

normanmineta
  • Norman Mineta, a former mayor, lawmaker and cabinet secretary who served under two presidents, passed away on May 3 in Edgewater, Maryland.
  • He was the first Asian American cabinet member, serving as President Bill Clinton's secretary of commerce and as President George W. Bush’s secretary of Transportation.
  • Under Bush’s cabinet, he became known for his decisive leadership after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He immediately closed U.S. airspace and issued statements telling national airlines to avoid discriminating against Arabs and Muslims.
  • The Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport was named in his honor for his spearheading of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
  • Mineta had earlier served as San Jose's mayor from 1971 to 1975 and represented the South Bay in the House from 1975 to 1995.
  • Mineta, whose Japanese immigrant parents were barred from becoming U.S. citizens due to the Asian Exclusion Act, also served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer.
  • He is survived by his wife, four children and 11 grandchildren.

Norman Mineta, a former mayor, lawmaker and cabinet secretary who served under two presidents, has died at the age of 90.

Mineta, who passed away from a heart ailment on May 3 in Edgewater, Maryland, is survived by his wife, four children and 11 grandchildren.

New York City to host its first-ever Japanese heritage parade 

JapanParade
  • New York will have its first-ever Japan Day Parade on May 14 to honor residents of Japanese descent and their culture.
  • While the metropolitan area has previously seen celebrations such as the Japan Day festival at Central Park, the parade’s organizers said bringing the festivities to the streets will reach more people.
  • The parade, which was originally scheduled to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, will start at 1 p.m. at Central Park West on 81st St. and will end at 68th St.
  • There will also be a street fair operating along 69th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West from 1:00 p.m. to around 4:30 p.m.
  • Actor and activist George Takei will be the grand marshal of the event, which expects over 1,700 participants, including members of martial arts groups, dance troupes and music ensembles.
  • Ambassador Mikio Mori, the Japanese consul-general in New York, said the event’s postponed date “creates big momentum to make it better, to celebrate the recovery from the pandemic, as well as appreciation from the Japanese community to the city of New York."

New York will have its first-ever Japan Day Parade on May 14 to honor residents of Japanese descent and their culture.

The parade will see over 1,700 members of the Japanese and Japanese American communities in the New York metropolitan area marching in solidarity.

USC awards honorary degrees, dedicates rock garden to incarcerated Japanese American students of WWII

USC FI
  • On April 1, the University of Southern California opened a traditional Japanese rock garden to honor 120 Japanese American students who were forced out of school and into internment camps during World War II.
  • In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, forcing over 100,000 Japanese Americans (around 70,00 of them American citizens) into “relocation centers.”
  • Over 80 years after being forced to leave their school, USC’s former Japanese American students were posthumously awarded honorary degrees.
  • Carolyn Classen, one of the garden ceremony’s attendees, came with a framed black and white photo of her late father, Francis Sueo Sugiyama, who was denied re-entry, access to his transcripts and the ability to transfer his credits to another university.
  • “His dreams were almost dashed because of what USC did to him. Our family… hated USC for decades,” she said.

The University of Southern California opened a traditional Japanese rock garden on April 1 to honor its Japanese American students who were forced out of school and into concentration camps during World War II. On the same day, 33 Japanese American former USC students were conferred honorary degrees.

The rock garden is located at the northeastern corner of the school’s campus and was designed by architect Calvin Abe, the son of Nisei generation parents who were incarcerated in Arizona, Arkansas and California concentration camps during World War II. He described it as a “place to relax and reconsider what happened in the past” and “an expression of perseverance and hope.”

Bainbridge Island marks the 80th anniversary of Japanese American incarceration during WWII

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
  • March 30 marks 80 years since the unjust incarceration of around 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • The forced evacuation of people from their homes and into concentration camps on the West Coast was brought about by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 issued on Feb. 19, 1942.
  • In remembrance of the history, the community on Bainbridge Island, which is known to have been the first designated exclusion area, hosted a ceremony at the Japanese Exclusion Memorial.
  • Organizers of the event wished for this year’s anniversary to center around healing and acknowledgement of the island’s history.

Today marks 80 years since the unjust incarceration of around 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

The forced evacuation of people from their homes and into concentration camps on the country’s West Coast was brought about by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, issued on Feb. 19, 1942. 

Teen gets children’s books about Japanese American incarceration into Seattle-area elementary schools

Books
  • Kai Vanderlip, a 17-year-old high school student from Redmond, Washington, organized a project to teach children about the incarceration of Japanese Americans brought about by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.
  • The order forced over 100,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II.
  • In remembrance of the 80th anniversary of the order, Vanderlip finalized a list of six children’s books and managed to secure funding from the Lake Washington Schools Foundation and the City of Kirkland to buy six books each for 33 elementary schools.
  • “I didn’t learn much about this in elementary school, it was all my own research. Especially in 2020, it seemed super relevant,” he told The Seattle Times. “They could speak out and grow up to be more knowledgeable individuals who can speak out against intolerance of all forms.”

A 17-year-old high school student organized for six children’s books about the history of Japanese American incarceration to be made available in 33 elementary schools in Washington.  

Kai Vanderlip, of Tesla STEM High School, developed his pandemic project, “The Day of Remembrance Japanese Incarceration Literature for Libraries,” to help teach children about the unjust incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II that was brought about by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

Protesters denounce razing of 1900s Issei settlement at Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach

Wintersburg Huntington Beach rally
  • Around 150 people attended the “Standup Against Asian Hate Rally” at the Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, California, on Saturday to denounce the fire that many in the community believe to be an anti-Asian attack.
  • One of the buildings of the Historic Wintersburg, a settlement that was home to many Japanese Americans beginning in the early 1900s, was burned down during last month’s incident.
  • The Huntington Police and Fire Departments concluded in a joint statement on Friday that they “have no reason to believe that the fire was intentionally set. There is no evidence of a hate crime.”
  • Authorities said they will look into a “local known transient" who was reportedly spotted leaving the area after the fire took place. The fire and police departments did not elaborate more on the cause of the fire, but the city said that electricity may have been “illegally diverted onto the property.”

More than a hundred protesters gathered at the Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, California, to denounce the burning of a building that was once part of a historic Japanese American settlement.

Around 150 people attended the “Standup Against Asian Hate Rally” at the Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach on Saturday. The site is one of the oldest Asian American settlements in the country where many Japanese Americans immigrated to beginning in the late 19th century.

Bachan’s founder talks his 6-year journey getting his Japanese bbq sauce onto over 3,000 stores’ shelves

Justin Fill Bachan's
  • Japanese American entrepreneur Justin Gill of Bachan’s shares his six-year journey towards creating the hit Japanese BBQ sauce while staying true to his origins and heritage.
  • The brand, which means “Grandmother” in Japanese, pays homage to the obstacles his family has overcome as Asian Americans.
  • With three main flavors, Bachan’s has made its way into 3,000 stores across the U.S., including Costco and Whole Foods.

Justin Gill, the founder and CEO of Bachan’s, has always had a spirit of entrepreneurship. Before launching his successful brand of barbeque sauce, he dreamed up a multitude of business ideas. His greatest supporter was his grandmother. 

“I talked about all my entrepreneurial ideas with her, and she would help make little prototypes with me, and help make business plans. She always supported that,” Gill said in a conversation with NextShark. 

Retired Olympic ice skater Mirai Nagasu proves she’s still got it with amazing double axel feat

Mirai Nagasu, a two-time Olympian and the first American female to land a triple axel in the Olympics, recently proved that she’s still got it in a TikTok of her performing six consecutive double axels.

Nailed it: Nagasu, 28, can be seen performing six consecutive double axels at the Galleria Ice Skating Center in Dallas in the video she posted on Sunday.

New multimedia web project tells lost history of Chicago’s Japanese American redress movement

Japanese American redress

A new interactive multimedia web project is shedding light on Chicago’s Japanese American redress movement, which developed in response to the injustices the community experienced during World War II.

Why this matters: Written and produced by Katherine Nagasawa, “Reckoning” is a multimedia experience that takes learners from the origins of the movement in 1970s Chicago to the signing of the Civil Liberties Act in 1988. It also highlights the continued efforts to preserve Japanese American history in the country today.

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