Tule Lake: An Issei Memoir (book)

Title Tule Lake: An Issei Memoir
Original Title Kariforunia nikkeijin kyōsei shūyōjo
Author Noboru Shirai
Illustrator Sylvia Neff
Original Publisher Muteki Press
Original Publication Date 2001
Pages 257
WorldCat Link https://www.worldcat.org/title/tule-lake-an-issei-memoir/oclc/49661429/editions

The autobiographical account of Noboru Shirai, published in 2001 by Muteki Press. The book was originally published in Tokyo, Japan, in 1981 by Kawade Shobo Shinsha under the title, Kariforunia nikkeijin kyōsei shūyōjo, and translated into English by Ray Hosoda. Illustrations in the book are by Sylvia Neff, calligraphy by Etsuko Wakayama.

Tule Lake begins with Shirai's observations of the events that led up to World War II and their effect on the Japanese communities in California, then focuses on the three and a half years he spent at Tule Lake concentration camp on the Oregon/California border. As a non-resident alien, Shirai was considered "an enemy alien" by the U.S. and forced to spend the war years at Tule Lake, which had the largest number of inmates classified by the government as "disloyal" and the lowest number of volunteers for the U.S. military. Over the years, Shirai worked in various roles at Tule Lake as a United States Property Custodian, executive secretary to the City Council and block manager, which gave him insight on the politics of the community as well as personal conflicts many internees suffered. The book provides a rare account of an Issei journalist who was educated as a sociologist.

Noboru Shirai (1907-1985) was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. He taught at Koriyama High School in Nara, Japan, before immigrating to the United States in 1934. He received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College in Michigan and an M.A. from Stanford University, where he was a graduate student of Japanese Studies professor Dr. Yamato Ichihashi when the war broke out. After the war ended, he was the Sacramento branch manager and correspondent for the San Francisco based Japanese vernacular newspaper, Nichi Bei Times. In 1963, he became president of Asahi Homecast Corporation, which provided Japanese radio and television programs in the Los Angeles area. He also wrote a regular column on American major league baseball for the Nikkan Sports newspaper in Osaka.

Authored by Patricia Wakida

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