Storied Lives

Japanese American Students and World War II

Gary Y. Okihiro
Afterword by Leslie A. Ito

  • Published: August 2015
  • Subject Listing: Asian American Studies; History / Western History
  • Bibliographic information: 208 pp., 15 illus., 5.5 x 8.5 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

During World War II over 5,500 young Japanese Americans left the concentration camps to which they had been confined with their families in order to attend college. Storied Lives describes-often in their own words-how nisei students found schools to attend outside the West Coast exclusion zone and the efforts of white Americans to help them. The book is concerned with the deeds of white and Japanese Americans in a mutual struggle against racism, and argues that Asian American studies-indeed, race relations as a whole-will benefit from an understanding not only of racism but also of its opposition, antiracism.

To uncover this little known story, Gary Okihiro surveyed the colleges and universities the nisei attended, collected oral histories from nisei students and student relocation staff members, and examined the records of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and other materials.

"Throughout the wartime years when Trudy King and I worked as volunteers in the National Student Relocation Council we had a constant sense of making history. We often talked about the book that we were going to write when the war was over, a book that would tell the story of the nisei students in their own words, but I was unable to do it. It was simply too painful. Gary Okihiro has done a splendid job! All we dreamed of for the book he has done."
-Thomas R. Bodine, former West Coast Director, National Student Relocatioin Council

"This is a solid contribution that will add substantially to our growing body of knowledge and will be useful in rethinking current attitudes towards racism and anti-racist movements. In so doing, it will contribute towards a more generous and less cynical view of race relations."
-Franklin S. Odo, Counselor to the Provost, Smithsonian Institution

An Uneventful Life
Toward a Better Society
Yearbook Portraits
A Thousand Cranes
Afterword: Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund