Starting from Loomis and Other Stories (book)
|Title||Starting from Loomis and Other Stories|
|Author||Hiroshi Kashiwagi; Tim Yamamura (editor/introduction); Lane Ryo Hirabayashi (afterword)|
|Series||George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in the Americas Series|
|Original Publisher||University of Colorado Press|
|Original Publication Date||2013|
Memoir by playwright, poet, actor, and librarian Hiroshi Kashiwagi in the form of twenty-five stories, most of them first-person vignettes from various periods of his life. Edited by Tim Yamamura, Starting from Loomis was published by the University of Colorado Press in 2013 as part of the George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in the Americas Series.
The collection is divided into two parts that more or less correspond to the prewar and postwar years, though there is overlap between the two. The two longest stories begin and end the collection. "Starting from Loomis" traces the narrator's life from his childhood in Loomis, California, to the wartime incarceration, his decision to become a "no-no boy," and his taking his first steps in the world of theater and literature. "No Brakes," the last story, the only one not written in Kashiwagi's first person voice, is told from the perspective of a racist white farmer who nonetheless makes a lot of money by taking over the farm of incarcerated Japanese Americans during the war and who grudgingly hires a returning Nikkei family after the war. In other stories, Kashiwagi reminisces about his parents, Sacramento J-town, Japanese language school, food, and various other topics common to the Nisei experience as well as more specific stories about the toll tuberculosis took on his family; his love of theater, acting, and playwriting; and his accidental career as a librarian specializing in Japanese language material.
Though none of the stories are specifically set in the concentration camps, that experience looms over many of the stories. In "Little Theater in Camp," he recalls his happiness at being in small theater troupe in Tule Lake before the troubles there began; "Starting from Loomis... Again" explores the reasons for his renunciation of citizenship at Tule Lake; and in "Tule Lake Revisited" he discusses the impact of going to pilgrimages and having younger people ask him to speak and write about his wartime experiences. An introduction by editor Yamamura and an afterword by Lane Ryo Hirabayashi provide some background and context for the stories.
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