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 later in life did he learn about the internment of Japanese Americans in U.S. concentration camps during World War II, and about the thousands of Japanese Americans who fought for the United States during that war—even as some of their families were being held in camps and treated as non-citizens.

Sato’s photo series, “The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage,” …

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. …

The Hidden Life of Japanese-American Teenagers

Facing Exclusion and Internment in the World War II Era, Boys and Girls From Seattle to San Diego Created Social Clubs Where They Could Dance, Play, and Belong

Fumiko Fukuyama Ide always loved to dance. Being a member of the Tartanettes, a club for Nisei (U.S.-born children of Japanese immigrants) girls in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, kept her …