When Police Clamped Down on Southern California’s Japanese-American Bicycling Craze

In 1905, Cycling Brought Riverside Together but a Backlash Quickly Followed

In 1905, cyclists gathered in Riverside, California, for an inaugural meet on a new racing track. About 60 miles inland from Los Angeles, Riverside was a heralded cycling center, home to one of the largest leagues of bicyclists in the state and to frequent regional cycling competitions, but this race looked unlike any other previously promoted in the region because the new track had been funded by the Riverside Japanese Association.

The association’s brand-new Adam’s Track was supposed to promote commerce and community relations. Japanese-American cyclists arrived at the …

Portraits of Loyalty

Shane Sato Depicts Japanese-American Veterans Who Fought for the Country That Imprisoned Their Friends and Families

Growing up as a Japanese American in a Los Angeles suburb, Shane Sato says, he felt “safe and comfortable” and had little, if any, experience with racism or prejudice. Only …

The Japanese-American Officer Who Helped Take Down and Then Rebuild Japan

Born in Seattle in 1920, Harry Fukuhara Was Fully Bicultural, Bilingual, and Binational

When I first met Harry Fukuhara, in 1994, he was orchestrating a Tokyo press conference for Japanese Foreign Ministry officials, former Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, and veterans of the …

The Japanese-American Flower Growers Who Made Phoenix Bloom

Post-WWII Gardens Like My Family’s Found Beauty in Stony Ground

When my high school orchestra teacher found out my family owned a Japanese flower garden in Phoenix, Arizona, he made a confession: He had once snuck into those fields. He …

How West L.A. Became a Haven for Japanese-Americans

Long Before It Was the Westside’s Ramen Epicenter, Sawtelle Boulevard Bustled with Japanese-Owned Nurseries and ‘Gardeners’ Colleges’

My introduction to the West Los Angeles neighborhood my parents called “So-ta-ru” came in the 1970s when we visited relatives there. I still am unclear on exactly how we are …

Somersaulting into America

As a Top Japanese Gymnast, My Dad’s Future Was Laid Out for Him. He Opted for Adventure in the U.S. Instead.

The letter that would change my father’s life—and eventually lead to his recent induction into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame—arrived in 1964, at his high school in Nara, Japan. …