May 18, 2021, there will be a virtual opening ceremony to celebrate local figures of Japanese descent in the East Coast’s first digital public collection of historical archives. The Japan History Council of New York will launch the Digital Museum of the History of the Japanese in New York. This makes it the first East Coast digital archive to represent local historical figures of Japanese descent. The ultimate goal of the Council is to establish a physical Japanese History Museum in New York in the future. Woven into the strong tie between Japan and the U.S. are untold stories of countless Japanese, Japanese Americans and Americans in the New York area. The Museum hopes to spotlight these significant people and to remember and honor them. This includes people like jazz pianist/composer/arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi, Wataru “Wat” Misaka, the first player of Asian descent in what is now the NBA, Jokichi Takamine who founded NYC’s Nippon Club and was a pioneering biochemist and so many others. The website for this museum is www.historyofjapaneseinny.org.
“Black & White” is the title of a group show that features the work of Alaska-based artist Fumi Matsumoto. She specializes in lino-cut prints on tea bag papers. Other artists in the show include Gary Groves, Brian Fisher, Susan Lowrey and Parvin Zabetian. On view through May 30, 2021 at Roby King Gallery at 176 Winslow Way E. on Bainbridge Island, WA. 206-842-2063 or try www.robykinggallery.com.
Joan Kee’s analysis of Seattle photographer Chao-Chen Yang’s “Apprehension, Ca. 1942” appears in an article entitled “Close-Up: For Asian Lives To Matter” in the May 2021 issue of ArtForum magazine.
The noted late Filipina artist Pacita Abad spent some fruitful years in Washington D.C. teaching and making art. On June 17, 2021, a jointly sponsored exhibition by PALM, the Rita Cacas Foundation, Philippines on the Potomac Project, the Philippine Embassy and the US/Philippine Soceity present “Pacita’s Colorful Palette: Memories of Pacita’s Years in DC.” Go to http://www.artnews.com/feature/pacita-abad-artist-tate-walker-art-center-exhibitions-1234589919 for more information. A show of work by Pacita Abad will be presented April 15 – Sept. 3, 2023 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Charlene Liu’s show of new works entitled “Lattice” is on view from through May 29, 2021 at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. It explores her mark making and image making via watercolors and woodcut prints. 417 NW 9th in Portland. 503-224-0521 or go to www.elizabethleach.com.
Seattle artists Romson Bustillo and June Sekiguchi currently have work on view in the group show entitled “Reflections – 20 Years of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” which can be seen from the street level at the Gates Discovery Center on 5th Avenue between Harrison and Thomas.
Davidson Galleries presents a group show of international print artists entitled “Chromatic Impressions”, vivid prints that revel in rich color. Includes work by Takeshi Hara, Akiko Taniguchi, Seiko Tachibana, Haru Maki and many others. On view through May 29, 2021. View online at davidsongalleries.com or in the gallery by appointment (Tuesday – Saturday). 313 Occidental Ave. S. in Seattle. 206-624-7684 or www.davidsongalleries.com.
Seattle Art Museum’s downtown location has the following. Ongoing and on view is the group show “Exceptionally Ordinary: Mingei 1920 – 2020” which includes wood sculpture by George Tsutakawa from his “Obos” series. Also on view is “Pure Amusements: Wealth, Leisure, And Culture in Late Imperial China.” Another show opening March 20, 2021 and ongoing will be “Northwest Modernism: Four Japanese Americans” which takes a look at the work of Kenjiro Nomura, Kamekichi Tokita, Paul Horiuchi and George Tsutakawa. Seattle Art Museum has shifted many of their educational programs online. To find out about the following programs – “The Art of Empathy: Live Virtual Tours”, “Eyes on Asia”, “Art Education Videos”, “Collection Highlights” and “Look & Make Lessons”, try this link. http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/programs-and-learning/. Go to seattleartmuseum.org for details on all this. The Museum’s Winter 2021 Saturday University Series is curated under the theme of “Sites of Memory in Asia: Remembrance and Redemption.” Presented with the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies and the Elliott Bay Book Company. On July 21, 2021, Xiaojan Wu, Curator of Japanese and Korean Art will talk about “Some/One: Do Ho Suh’s Dog-Tag Sculpture.” Speaking of curators, Seattle Art Museum has deepened its commitment to South Asian art by hiring Natalia Di Pietrantonio as its first ever Assistant Curator of South Asian art. The first show she will curate for Seattle Asian Art Museum is tentatively titled “Skin As Allegory” scheduled for late 2021. It will blend contemporary and historical objects and explore visual practices that contain representations and re-figurations of the human body from 3 BC to the present day in a variety of media. Objects will be culled from the museum collection and private collectors. Go to seattleartmuseum.org to see the complete schedule or try [email protected]. Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park reopens on May 28, 2021. Tickets released every Thursday at 10am. Tickets must be obtained in advance. Capacity is limited.
The Cascadia Art Museum announces the following shows. “Gifts And Promised Gifts To The Museum’s Permanent Collections” is a group show that includes the late John Matsudaira’s masterpiece “Quiet Motion And Blue” which was featured at the Seattle’s World Fair back in 1962. On view through May 23, 2021.190 Sunset Ave. S. in Edmonds, WA. Hours are Th. – Sun. from 11am – 6pm. 425-336-4809.
The Wing Luke Asian Museum reopens on March 5, 2021. Hours are Fridays through Sundays from 10am – 5pm. Reserving tickets online prior to visit is highly encouraged as it is operating at limited capacity. Current exhibits include the following – “Paths Intertwined” features works from diaspora Taiwanese and Chinese artists drawing on themes of identity, place and belonging. Featured artists include Agnes Lee, ZZ Wei, Larine Chung, May Kytonen, Jenny Ku, Shin Yu Pai, Ellison Shieh, and Monyee Chau which remains on view through November 7, 2021. A panel discussion moderated by Pei Pei Sung with the artists is planned for July 10, 2021.On-site tours are available twice a day in the Tateuchi Story Theare.“Hear Us Rise” is an exhibit that highlights Asian Pacific American women and other marginalized genders that have challenged society’s expectation. “Where Beauty Lies” on view through Sept. 19, 2021. On view through Nov. 16, 2021 is “Guilty Party” a group exhibition of multi-media work by various Asian Pacific American artists curated by Justin Hoover. Upcoming exhibit is “Gerard Tsutakawa: Stories Shaped in Bronze” which explores the inspiration, design, and the fabrication process of public sculptures by Gerard Tsutakawa as well as their effect on Seattle physically, socially and culturally. There are many virtual programs now as well. There are virtual tours of the museum on weekday mornings. Pre-booking available for private groups. Contact the museum to sign up. Live virtual tours of the Freeman Hotel on Thursdays at 5pm PDT. Check out what’s in the gift shop with the Museum’s online marketplace. The monthly storytime programs can be watched at www.digitalwingluke.org/programs.
The visual arts shows in May at KOBO at Higo include pet portrat paintings by Chinami Kono and collages by Paul Young. KOBO at Higo is now open on Saturdays from 11am – 5pm. Masks are required and you must use the provided hand sanitizer upon entering. 30 minute shopping sessions by appointment only at the KOBO on Capitol Hill will soon be made available through an online booking system. Time slots will be limited to keep everyone safe, plus more protective protocols in place to meet safety guidelines. Shipping and curbside pickup is still available by scheduling a Pickup Time at Checkout. They have a new instagram shopping account @koboseattleshop or try their website at koboseattle.com. The Capitol Hill store is at 814 E. Roy St. Congratulations to KOBO which celebrates its 25th anniversary. KOBO at Higo is at 604 South Jackson St. in the CID.
“World War Bonsai: Remembrance & Resilience” is the title of a show curated by Aarin Packard at Pacific Bonsai Museum. This show tells a history rooted in racism told through the living art of bonsai. It presents the powerful and inspiring untold history of bonsai artists working in the WWII-era and how they changed the course of bonsai art history forever. With 32 bonsai, archival documents and photographs. The exhibition traces the cultural practice of bonsai in the U.S. and Japan immediately before, during and after WWII, amid incarceration and at peace. Artists from the Puget Sound, California, Colorado, Hawaii and Japan are featured including Ben Oki, the Domoto family, Kelly Nishitani, Kenny Hikogawa and Joe Asahara, Ted Tsukiyama, Mas Imazumi, Kyuzo Murata and Yuji Yoshimura. The exhibition also includes a site-specific artwork by Seattle artist Erin Shigaki which includes wheat-pasted images of individuals who played a role in the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans. A post-event recording of the “Branch Out” event held in August will be available on Pacific Bonsai Museum’s You Tube channel. On view now through Oct. 10, 2021. 2515 South 336th St. in Federal Way, WA. Admission is by donation. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am – 4pm. 253-353-7345 or email [email protected].
Tacoma Art Museum re-opens April 10th, 2021. “Painting Deconstructed: Selections from the Northwest Collection” includes work by Ed Aulerich-Sugai, Tram Bui, Donnabelle Casis, Paul Horiuchi, Fumiko Kimura, Roy Kiyooka, John Matsudaira, Mark Takamichi Miller, Kenjiro Nomura, Frank Okada, Joseph Park, Roger Shimomura, Maki Tamura, Kamekichi Tokita, George Tsutakawa, Thuy-Van Vu and many others. On view for an extended time. 1701 Pacific Avenue. 253-272-4258 or go to [email protected].
The Outdoor Sculpture Collection on the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham is open and accessible to everyone. This is an outdoor collection of major sculptures from the late 20th century to the present and includes work by Do Ho Suh, Sarah Sze and Isamu Noguchi among others. Get a map from the information booth and explore the campus collection for yourself. Call 360-650-3900.
The Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver BC presents “A Future for Memory: Art and Life After the Great East Japan Earthquake” on view through September 5, 2021. March 11, 2021 marks 20 years since Japan experienced a chain reaction that began with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which was followed by a tsunami and then, a level 7 accident at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima. In commemoration of this “triple disaster,” Fuyubi Nakamura, MOA’s Asia curator, assembled the work of eight Japanese artists, groups and institutions to “consider the effects of natural disasters and reflect on how we are all connected globally.” Artists include Masao Okabe and Atsunobu Katagiri. To complement the exhibition and to give it global connections, a 20-minute documentary film entitled “Tsunami Ladies” follows the daily routines of six Chilean and Japanese women who lived through 2010 and 2011 tsunamis, respectively. Go to moa.ubc.ca for details.
The Chinese Canadian Museum of British Columbia opens its first exhibit in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Entitled “A Seat at the Table”, the exhibition explores historical and contemporary experiences of Chinese Canadians, particularly through the lens of food and restaurants. There are stations for writing and recording videos. Co-curator Viviane Gosselin said “the whole idea is to kind of generate a new body of historical knowledge that the Chinese Canadian Museum can use for future research and programming.” A sister exhibition is set to open at the Museum of Vancouver’s main location in the fall. Both exhibitions are expected to travel across B.C. within a year. This exhibition is at 27 East Pender. For details, go to [email protected].
The Chinese Cultural Centre Museum at 555 Columbia St. in Vancouver B.C. has an ongoing exhibit entitled “Generation to Generation – History of Chinese Canadians in British Columbia”. 604-658-8880 or go to cccvan.com.
Vancouver Art Gallery presents multi-media Chinese artist Sun Xun and his work through August 22, 2021. Also “Pictures And Promises”, a group show up until Sept. 6, 2021. Based in the VAG’s extensive collection of lens-based art that alludes to the forms and conventions of mass media, fashion and advertising. Includes work by Ken Lum, Yasumasa Morimura, Andy Warhol and many others.750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. Go to https://ww.vanartgallery.bc.ca/
The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden presents “Luminous Garden, the third installment of artist-in-residence Lam Wong. Done in collaboration with Glenn Lewis, it’s an investigation of the concept of the garden as a sanctuary for spiritual growth. 578 Carrall St. in Vancouver B.C. 604-662-3207 or go to vancouverchinesegarden.com.
“Broken Promises” is a 7 year multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, community engaged project that explores the dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s. It illuminates the loss of home and the struggle for justice of one racially marginalized community. Also ongoing is “TAIKEN: Japanese Canadians Since 1877”. Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre at 6688 Southoaks Crescent in Burnaby. 604-777-7000 or go to nikkeiplace.org.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene has the following – “Early Ceramics from Southeast Asia: Specimens from Thailand and the Museum Collection. On view through June 13, 2021. “Rhapsody in Blue and Red: Ukiyo-e Prints of the Utagawa School.” On view through July 17, 2021. “Myriad Treasures: Celebrating the Reinstallation of the Soreng Gallery of Chinese Art” through July 11, 2021. “Korean Ceramic Culture – Legacy of Earth and Fire” through May 8, 2021. 1430 Johnson Lane in Eugene, Oregon. 541-346-3027.
Portland Japanese Garden has the following activities. Their exhibit is “The Gates of Hope: Connecting Cultures”– A documentary-style exhibition commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the devastating nuclear disaster that followed in its wake. On view through May 31, 2021. 611 SW Kingston Ave. 503-223-1321 or japanesegarden.org.
Japanese American Museum of Oregon is temporarily closed in preparation for the museum’s move to a new location but several online exhibits on the history of Japanese Americans in Oregon can be viewed. 503-224-1458 or email [email protected].
Portland Chinatown Museum is currently closed. Their permanent exhibit is “Beyond the Gate: A Tale of Portland’s Historic Chinatowns.” Opening in May, 2021 is Seattle photojournalist Dean Wong’s photo essay on “The future of Chinatowns.” 127 N.W. Third Ave. 503-224-0008 or email [email protected].
“Shadows From the Past – Sansei Artists And The American Concentration Camps” is a virtual group exhibition presented by Celadon Arts and San Joaquin Delta College and curated by Gail Enns. Artists in the exhibition include Lydia Nakashima Degarrod, Reiko Fujii, Lucien Kubo, Wendy Maruyama, Tom Nakashima, No Omi Judy Shintani, Masako Takasashi and Jerry Takigawa. The next venue for this touring exhibit will be at the Monterey Museum of Art from September 9, 2021 through January 9, 2022. 559 Pacific St. 831-372-5477 or montereyart.org.
The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco has the following currently on view. “Lost At Sea: Recovered from Shipwrecks”. “Zheng Chongbin: I Look For The Sky.” “After Hope: Vidoes of Resistance.” Site-specific installations – “Momento: Jayashree Chakravarty and Lam Tung Pang.” Outside murals by Channel Miller and Jennifer K.Wofford are visible from Hyde St. 200 Larkin St. San Francisco, CA. 415-581-3500.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is the West Coast venue for a traveling retrospective on the work of pioneer video artist Nam June Paik. Opening May 8, 2021. 151 – 3rd St. San Francisco, CA. 415-357-4000.
The De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has the following set to open this summer. Noted Bay Area artist Hung Liu has a show entitled “Golden Gate” opening July 17, 2021 and it remains on view through Jan. 2, 2022. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in San Francisco, CA. 415-750-3600.
The Berkeley Art Museum/PFA has the following. “Beyond Boundaries: Buddhist Art of Gandhara” on view through Oct. 3, 2021. “Kay Sekimachi: Geometries” on view from May 26 – Oct. 24, 2021. 155 Center St. Berkeley, CA 510-642-0808 or go to [email protected].
The San Jose Museum of Art has the following. “Karma” is a 23 foot high sculpture by Do Ho Suh on view through Jan. 30, 2022. Coming later this summer is a massive installation entitled “Factory of the Sun” by European artist Hito Steyerl which opens August 6, 2021. 110 South Market St. in San Jose, CA. 408-271-6840.
The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has the following – Ongoing is “Common Ground – The Heart of Community” which features a WWII Japanese internment camp building. “Under a Mushroom Cloud – Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Atomic Bomb” on view through June 13, 2021. “Taiji Terasaki – Transcendients – Heroes at Borders – 100 Days of Covid – Memorial to Healthcare Workers” on view through May 16, 2021. 101 N. Central Ave. in Los Angeles, CA. 213-625-0414.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has the following – “Yoshitomo Nara” on view through July 5, 2021. Forthcoming will be “Sam Francis And Japan: Emptiness Overflowing”. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. 323-857-6010.
The USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, CA has the following – “We Are Here: Contemporary Art And Asian Voices in Los Angeles” now on view. This group exhibition features the work of seven contemporary female artists of diverse Asian Pacific heritages working in diverse media that live and work in the Los Angeles area. Features the work of Reanne Estrada, Phung Huynh, Ann Le, Ahree Lee, Kaoru Mansour, Mei Xianqui and Sichong Xie. Summer 2021 shows include the following – “Divine Immersion: The Experiential Art of Nick Dong” and “Crossroads” Exploring the Silk Road.” In the fall of 2021, a group show entitled “Intervention: Perspectives For a New PAM” will be shown. 2680 N. Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena, CA. 626-787-2680 or [email protected].
The Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego exhibits a group show from its Japanese sister institution entitled “Beginnings, Forever: From the Collection of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts/Shinnyo-en” now through Sept. 19. 2021. These works of historic and then emerging artists all were made before they were the age of 35. Includes the work of Edward Weston, Robert Frank, Shomei Tomatsu, Irving Penn, Kikuji Kawada, Lewis Hine, Andre Kertesz, Eikoh Hosoe, William Klein, Hisae Imai, Ken Kitano, Robert Capa and others. 1649 El Prado in San Diego. 619-238-7559 or try [email protected].
“Origami in-the-Garden – A Monumental Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition” is on view through October 10, 2021 at Missouri Botanical Garden. Created by Santa Fe artists Jennifer and Kevin Box, these sculptures tell the story of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. These large-scale metal sculptures were created in collaboration with world-renowned origami artists such as Te Jui Fu, Beth Johnson and others. 4344 Shaw Boulevard. St. Louis, MO. 314-577-5100 or go to events.missouribotanicalgarden.org.
The National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. will present the first major large-scale retrospective of work by Hung Liu, the internationally acclaimed Chinese-born American artist. “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands, 1968-2020” will feature more than 50 artworks spanning Liu’s time in Maoist China in the 1960s, her immigration to California in the 1980s, and the height of her career today. This is the first time the museum will celebrate an Asian American woman with a solo exhibition. The exhibition’s opening coincides with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021. The dates of this exhibition are May 21, 2021 – January 9, 2022.
The National Museum of Asian Art/Sackler Gallery on the Smithsonian Mall in Washington D.C .has the following – “Encountering the Buddha: Art & Practice Across Asia” on view through Jan. 17. 2022. “Resound: Ancient Bells of China” on view through July 5, 2021. Upcoming is an anticipated show of brush paintings by early 20th century Japanese artist Tomioka Tessai. 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Washington, D.C.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has the following – “Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Travel & Home” on view through March 6, 2022. “Conservation in Action: Japanese Buddhist Sculpture in a New Light” on view through July 3, 2022. 465 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA. 617-267-9300 or go to mfa.org.
The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA has the following – “Zarah Hussain: Breath” on view through Jan. 2, 2022. 161 Essex St. in Salem, MA 816-745-4876 or go to pem.org.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art has the following – “To Beautify And Protect: Miao Clothing and Jewelry from China” on view through May 23, 2021. “Abstract Prints” by Hagiwara Hideo through May 23, 2021. “20 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy Then And Now” through Jan. 2, 2022. “Captive Beauties: Depictions of Women in Late Imperial China” on view through May 9, 2021. 2400 Third Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 888-642-2787.
The Walker Art Center has the following – A show on Candace Lin from August 5 – Dec. 26, 2021. A show on Shen Xin from Nov. 18 – May 1, 2022. A show on artist Pacita Abid from April 15 – Sept. 3, 2023. “Paul Chan: Breathers” on view from Nov. 19, 2022 – April 16, 2023. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, MN. 612-375-7600 or try [email protected].
The Art Institute of Chicago has the following – “Cosmosscapes: Ink Paintings by Tai Xiangzhou” on view through Sept. 20, 2021. “Modernity and Nostalgia: The Prints of Ito Shunsui” on view through June 13, 2021. 111 South Michigan Ave./159 E. Monroe. Chicago, ILL. 312-443-3600.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has the following – “Japan: A History of Style” through April 24, 2022. “Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Up Close” through June 27, 2021. “Celebrating the Year of the Ox” through Jan. 17, 2022. “Masters and Masterpieces: Chinese Art from the Irving Collection” through June 5, 2022. “Bodhisattvas of Wisdom, Compassion, and Power” through Oct. 16, 2022. 1000 Fifth Ave. 212-535-7710. Go to https://www.metmuseum.org.
Asia Society Museum has the following – “Rebel Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians” on view Sept. 10, 2021 through Jan. 16, 2022. “Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon – Asian Art in the U.S.” on view through May 30, 2021. “Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone” on view through June 27, 2021. 725 Park Ave. in New York City.212-327-9721 or try www.asiasociety.org.
“Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment” is a new exhibition that runs from March 12, 2021 – January 3, 2022 at the Rubin Museum of Art curated by Elena Pakhoutova. The show was organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit guides visitors on a journey toward enlightenment, showcasing the power of Tibetan Buddhist art to focus and refine awareness. Accompanying the exhibition is an audio guide and a catalog. 150 West 17th St. in New York City. 212-620-5000 or go to rubinmuseum.org.
The Museum of Chinese in America has the following – “With a Single Step – Stories in the Making of America” on view through Dec. 31, 2023. “Windows for Chinatown – Five Sidewalk Exhibits” on view through May 30, 2021. “An Unlikely Photojournalist – Emile Bocian in Chinatown” on view through Dec. 31, 2021. 215 Centre St. in New York City. 855-955-MOCA or try mocanyc.org.
The Noguchi Museum has the following – “Koho Yamamoto: Under A Dark Moon” on view through May 23, 2021. “Noguchi’s Useless Architecture” is a show inspired by his visits to Indian astronomical devices. On view from May 19, 2021 through May 8, 2022. 9-01,33rd Rd. Long Island, New York. 718-204-7088.
The Japan Society has the following – “When Practice Becomes Carpentry – Tools From Japan” on view through July 11, 2021. 333 East 47th St. New York, New York. 212-263-1258
The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx has the following – “KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature” on view through Oct. 31, 2021. Yayoi Kusama reveals her lifelong fascination with nature with these pieces. On view are floral sculptures that transform the space’s landmark landscape. Her monumental sculptures “Dancing Pumpkin” and “I Want To Fly To The Universe” are here as well. And coming this summer will be her “infinity Mirrored Room – Illusion Inside the Heart” which will reflect the outdoor light. Timed tickets will be sold in installments. 2900 Southern Blvd. Bronx, New York. 718-817-8700 or try nybg.org.
Asia Society Texas Center presents “Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power”, the first comprehensive U.S. museum survey of this renowned Bangladeshi photographer, writer, activist, and institution builder and a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018. Through 60+ images and ephemera, the exhibition will show the breath of Alam’s practice and impact throughout his four-decade career. This pioneering exhibition aims to provide visitors with a nuanced view of Bangladesh and South Asia, to explore systems of personal and collective agency, and to underscore the importance of self-representation, empowerment, and truth as embodied in Alam’s life and work. On view through Sunday, July 11, 2021 and admission is free. 1370 Southmore Blvd. in Houston, Texas. Hours are Thursday – Friday from 11am -4pm and weekends from 10am – 4pm. For more information, go to https://asiasociety.org/texas/exhibitions/shahidul-alam-truth-power.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo presents “Rhizomatlks – Multiplex” a group show on this high tech art collective that looks at the relationship between human beings and technology. On view through June 20, 2021. 4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-Ku,Tokyo, Japan. +81-5—5541-8600 (Hello Dial).
The Tokyo National Museum trots out cultural treasures that depict the animal kingdom in “National Treasure: Frolicking Animals” on view through May 30, 2021. 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo. +81-(50)-5541-8600.
“Vivo Video: The Art and Life of Shigeko Kubota”. Kubota made work that some called video sculpture. I once saw her refreshing ode to Duchamp at Hara Art Museum which consisted of bicycle wheels with video monitors attached. This retrospective consists of drawings and documents found in her own archives along with works culled from Japanese collections. On view through June 6, 2021 at Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art. 3 chome-278-14 Senshu, Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan. +81 258-28-411/.
The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto has the following – A show on a noted Japanese architect, “Kuma Kengo: Five Purr-fect Points for a New Public Space” on view from June 18 – Sept. 26, 2021. +81(0) 3-5777-8600 or try www.momak.go.jp/english/.
Warehouse Terrada is a new storage shed for art but recently they decided to open their cavernous space to display modern art as well. Called “Collectors’ Museum of Contemporary Art “WHAT”, their current show is entitled “Crossing Paths: A Collaborative Exploration Between Writer and Architect”. It looks at the designs of houses by contemporary architects reinterpreted through the expressive vision of writers. Includes work by architects Machizo Tachihara, Kengo Sato, Toshiro Tanaka, Fuminori Nousaku, Naoya Mishina & Atsuka Mishina and writers/poets Kei Okamoto, Yasuhiro Yotsumoto and others.On view through May 30 2021. 2-6-10 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. Go to https://what.warehouseofart.org.
Puget Sound sculptor June Sekiguchi who is represented locally by ArtXchange Gallery is doing two public art projects at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. Locally she has projects at Glacier Middle School in Buckley, WA and in the Interfaith Mediation and Prayer Room at SeaTac Airport.
The Whitney Art Museum in New York presents a program entitled “Crash Course – Asian American Artists In The Whitney’s Collection.” Sesson 1: Art And Social Change” takes place on Friday, May 21 at 3pm (EST). It explores how Asian diasporic and Asian American artists such as Eitaro Ishigaki, Isamu Noguchi, Maya Lin, Walid Raad and the Godzilla Group have engaged with social and geopolitical issues. Session 2: Art And Social Change” takes place on Friday, May 26 at 3pm (EST) and will explore how Asian diasporic and Asian American artists such as Nam June Paik, Tala Madani, Anicka Yi and Xing Danwen have uniquely navigated the transforming landscape of media and technology. Curator and Whitney Teaching Fellow Xin Wang will be the speaker. For more details, try [email protected].
France has awarded Japanese architect Ando Tadao with the country’s highest order of merit, “The Legion of Honor” for his contributions to the cultural exchanges between Japan and France.
Playwright Leslie Lum (IE Board member) will have her play “Geomancer” which centers on a rocket scientist who is deported because of his Chinese ancestry performed on Zoom from May 22 – 29, 2021. Directed by David Hsieh in partnership with Playwrights Theatre Company in Canada. Inspired by a work by Iris Chang. All ticket sales will benefit the International Examiner. Go to https://www.facebook.com/GeomancerPlay/ and geomancer.site.
In observance of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Symphony Tacoma presents “Tacoma Method: Three Arias Performed by Hai-Ting Chinn” on May 22, 2021 at 7:30pm (PST) on YouTube. The songs are from an opera composed by Pacific Lutheran University professor and local composer Dr. Gregory Youtz based on the expulsion of the Chinese American population from Tacoma in 1885. Symphony Tacoma was to premiere this piece back in November 2020 but it was postponed due to COVID-19. The creative team behind the opera discussed the common themes still occurring today and the making of this music. You can view this interview at https://youtu.be/dyA98m4ETYO. Preview the performance on YouTube at httpas://youtu.be/YqO1ty91rjg. Symphony Tacoma will present excerpts from the full opera live in an upcoming season. “Tacoma Method” is presented in conjunction with Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation.
“Angel Island Insight – The Last Hoisan Poets And Del Sol Quartet” is the title of a performance that brings the island’s history into view through the emotional landscape of poetry and music. Presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center as part of the “United States of Asian America Festival 2021: Forging Our Futures – SOMA & Chinatown”, this zoom program presents poets Genny Lim, Nellie Wong and Flo Oy Wong with performances by the Del Sol Quartet who perform music by Asian American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Chen Yi and Huang Ruo. A Q & A will follow moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s executive director Edward Tepporn. Please reserve your tickets in advance for this concert set for May 22nd at 2pm (PDT). Go to https://www.apiculturalcenter.org and push “events” Then click the title of the event to register.
“First Voice Story Circle of The Japanese – Know Your Story” is a once in a lifetime intergenerational zoom gathering of people of Japanese descent featuring living treasures, culture bearers and wisdom keepers. Set for the days of May 28th and 29th, 2021. May 28th program is “When My Father Stopped Talking To Me” from 4:30 – 6:30pm (PT). The May 29th program is “Japanese Joy & Hear The Now Facing Future from 1 – 2:15pm (PST). During this time of rising hate, join musicians, poets, storytellers, filmmakers, spiritual leaders and visionaries as we remember the resilence of our ancestors, find strength in gathering together and leave strong facing the future. In honor of our multiracial children, family members who are not Japanese are encouraged and welcomed. Free with suggested donation. Limited to 100 participants. RSVP early. Go to http//www.firstvoice.org/enso-the-story-circle-of-the-japanese-diaspora.
Taiko Arts Center & Taiko Center of the Pacific presents a virtual live stream taiko concert broadcast live from the Hawaii Theatre with Kenny Endo & Taiko Center of the Pacific and special guests in a concert entitled “Ame, Tears of the Earth” on May 22, 2021 at 6:30pm Hawaii time. This concert is supported by donations. Reservations are required. Go to bit.ly/AmeTearsoftheEarth. A portion of the proceeds go to organizations fighting racism and protecting Mother Earth.
“The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes” by Jamyang Norbu, one of Tibet’s most prolific activists and authors is an homage to the famous British detective. It has been adapted by Bilal Dardai and marks Book-It Repertory Theatre Director Gus Menary’s debut (audio style). Missing years of the great detective’s life take him through the vistas of India and Tibet. To be presented in 5 separate episodes released each week for five weeks. All episodes available until June 30, 2021. Access to the play begins May 15, 2021 once you purchase a $25 ticket. [email protected].
Emerald City Music under the artistic direction of violinist Kristin Lee announces a new spring series of virtual musical experiences with concerts streaming February 26 – May 24, 2021 featuring concerts, Zoom events and backstage insights. All concerts will be available on Emerald City Music’s website and Vimeo platform for one month; at which point the next performance premieres. Listeners have a choice of how to gain access: pay for each performance for $20 (which supports future listening experiences), or share it on social media to gain free access. Go to emeraldcitymusic.org for more information or call 206-250-5510.
A new album “Hankyo” (Reverberation) is now available by Seattle-raised Hanz Araki who continues a shakuhachi tradition dating back generations in his family. Go to arakikodo.com for details.
Seattle Modern Orchestra announces its 2020-2021 season. Founded in 2010, the Seattle Modern Orchestra is the only large ensemble in the Pacific Northwest solely dedicated to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is led by co-artistic directors Julia Tai and Jeremy Jolley. SMO commissions and premieres new works from an international lineup of composers and often presents important pieces from the contemporary repertoire that are rarely if ever heard by Seattle audiences. This season will include six commissions and six concert broadcasts. The lineup of composers includes Iranian composer Anahita Abbasi, Cornish faculty member Tom Baker, saxophonist/composer Darius Jones, cellist/composer Ha-Yang Kim, Brown University assistant professor Wang Lu and SMO co-artistic director, Jeremy Jolley. The decision of whether each event will take place in person or virtually will be based on evolving community health guidelines throughout the season. Last concert date is June 6, 2021. Go to http://www.seattlemodernorchestra.org/2020/09/24/2020-2021-season-announcement-press-release/ for details.
Pacific Northwest Ballet has announced an all new virtual lineup for its 2020-2021 season. Some highlights include a world premiere by choreographer Edwaard Liang entitled “The Veil Between Worlds” on June 10 – 14, 2021. In their 2021-2022 season of live performances in McCaw Hall will be a world premiere by choreographer Robin Mineko Williams in a program entitled “Plot Points” set for March 18 – 27, 2022.For complete details, go to PNB.org/DigitalSubscription or call 206-441-2424 or try www.PNB.org..
The Meany Center For The Performing Arts has announced fall schedule changes with the season opening postponed to January of 2021. Some fall performances have been canceled or rescheduled for late winter or spring. Virtual programming is being developed with many of the artists as an alternative to live performances. For a complete listing, go to https://meanycenter.org/tickets/season. Current ticket holders to canceled events are encouraged to contact the Arts UW Ticket Office to request a refund, exchange into a later performance or other alternatives.
Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio now located in the CID continues their classes in various aspects of the theatre both virtual and in-person. For a list of current classes, go to freeholdtheatre.org for details or call 206-595-1927.
Even though the Wayward Music Series at Chapel Performance Space is currently closed, go to nonsequiter’s website to listen to free links by local musicians performing original music at wayward music.org or try gscchapel.com. Also listed are live streaming of local concerts by contemporary musicians that you can rent. Classically trained pianist and designer Tiffany Lin plays a piano program of originals in this series. Local sound artist Susie Kozawa has a piece she did invoking the space at the Chapel.
Toronto-based Tapestry Opera’s 2020/21 season hopes to “push the boundary of the genre”. The season includes the following – June 17 – 20, 2021 brings “Dragon’s Tale” with music by Ka Nin Chan and libretto by Mark Brownell. This new Canadian opera by the same team that did “Iron Road” explores the relationship between a young Chinese Canadian woman and her immigrant father. Go to tapestryopera.com to learn more.
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco presents a virtual program entitled “Celebrating Asian Futures: A Musical Conversation With Van-Anh Vo And Friends.” In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this Bay Area-based Vietnamese composer and multi-instrumentalist joins in musical conversations with artists of Japanese and Khmer heritage. Includes taiko player Jimi Nakagawa, Cambodian royal dance master and vocalist Charya Burt and Vo on the Dan Tranh (zither). After the performances, the performing artists will discuss the richness of Asian musical traditions and the power of new compositions with moderator Kahatharya Um, associate professor of Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies at UC Berkeley. Online on Thursday, May 27 at 6:30pm (PST). Public programs are free for members. Not a member? Use promo code NEWMEM20 for $20 off new memberships. Go to https://calendarasianart.org/event/celebrating-asian-futures-a-musical-conversation-with-van-ahn-vo-and-friends/.
The Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan is an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company. Their performance of “DUST” by Lin Hwai-Min portrays victims of war and persecution set to Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8. You can watch it by logging on to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSe6lx62nJg8+=3s.
A new violin concerto by composer Toshio Hosokawa entitled “Genesis” written for violin soloist Veronica Eberle received its world premiere in Hamburg with Staatsorchester Hamburg conducted by Maestro Kent Nagano.
The 2021 IDEA Awards for Theatre in New York were presented in a virtual ceremony on April 28, 2021. Some of the winners included Jessica Hagedorn for the 2021 Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Award and Haruna Lee for the 2021 Ollie New Play Award. For details, go to www.BretnPaulFoundation.org.
Hong Kong Philharmonic and Hong Kong Ballet teamed up recently in a new production entitled “Amadeus – (A Cyberpunk Dream) which was turned into a vibrant new video which can be viewed online.
The UW Taiwan Studies Program presents a streaming dance performance by B Dance, a contemporary dance troupe from Taiwan on May 26 -30, 2021. Adapted from a crime novel by Yoshida Shuichi and the film directed by Lee Sang-il. The dance piece exposes the violence and anger of our society. To register, go to https://forms.gle/QpdV4FYeoUv6nVoo7. For more information, try https://jsis.washington.edu/taiwan/202105/05/may-26-30-rage-by-b-dance/.
Film & Media
Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Japan premier new videos for their virtual version of “Kodomo No Hi (Japanese Children’s Day Festival) every Sunday at noon during the month of May, 2021. Download a free Japanese cultural booklet and activity pack. Try https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHEo_ory31QUvC_ _91qODGQ or log on to jcccw.org or email [email protected] or call 206-568-7114.
AARP presents the documentary film entitled “Manzanar, Divested: When Water Becomes Dust” on Friday, May 28 at 8pm (EST). Go to https://watch.aarp.org/aarpmfg/play/608a0faa2f1366b04d9892148. To see the trailer and registration link, go to https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/movies-for-grownups/screening-program/
PBS Digital Studios and The Center for Asian American Media will debut “A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF ASIAN AMERICA” beginning on May 6 continuing on May 13, May 20 and May 27, 2021 on PBS Voices, a YouTube channel documenting the human experience. This new miniseries will be hosted by Journalist Dolly Li and Professor Adrian De Leon and addresses the increase in hate crimes and anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. The episodes will be released on a weekly basis throughout Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Segments released in sequence include “How ‘The China Virus’ Has Always Been A Part of U.S. History”, “Unpacking Asian Fetish from an Intersectional/Feminist Perspective”, “AAPI, APA, APIDA, AANHPI or Asian American?” and “Microaggression or Not Microaggression.“ For more information, visit PBS.org and PBSYouTube_Channel. Viewers are encouraged to engage in online conversation by tagging @PBS and using #PBSVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Throughout May, PBS is illuminating stories on the Asian American experience on air. To see the schedule of programs, go to PBS.org.
“Asian Americans”, the groundbreaking five-part series that aired on PBS can now be viewed again through the month of May, 2021. The series traces the epic story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, international relations and cultural innovation. Go to https://www.pbs.org/weta/asian-americans/. Series producer was Renee Tajima-Pena. Executive producers are Jeff Bieber for WETA, Stephen Gong and Donald Young for CAAM, Sally Jo Fifer for ITVS and Jean Tsien. The producer for Flash Cuts is eurie Chung. The episode producers are S. Leo Chiang, Geeta Gandbhir and Grace Lee. The consulting producer was Mark Jonathan Harris.
The Center for Asian American Media in San Francisco announces CAAMFest 2021 which takes place from May 13 – 23, 2021 with an opening weekend featuring drive-in screenings at FOR’ MASON FLUIX. Most programs will be hosted directly on the festival website at www.caamfest.com or on Remo, a virtual video hangout space. General admission is $10. Festival guide can be found at https://caamfest.com/2021/festival-guide/. How To Festival Info. at https://caamfest.com/2021/how-to-festival/. A listing of all films and events can be found at https://caamfest.com/2021/all-films-events/. For tickets, go to https://caamfest.com/2021/ticketing/.
WORLD Channel celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Month with a series of featured documentary films in May. The films will be broadcast on WORLD Channel and stream on WORLDChannel.org. Four films, part of the WORLD Channel’s documentary series “America Reframed” will be screened. The films are subjects covering a Chinese American family tracing their roots to the deep South and uncover historic anti-Chinese bias and deep ties to the Black community; Asian children at a New York City elementary school drama program preparing for a production of “Frozen”; a cross-section of politically engaged Chinese Americans; and America’s first Muslim majority city during election season, an insightful look at multiculturalism at a challenging time in U.S. history.
“New Directors/New Films” is the annual showcase of emerging filmmakers presented by Film at Lincoln Center and MOMA in mid-May in New York City. New films screen in tandem with an online retrospective of selections from the past by directors like Charles Burnett, Gregg Araki, Lee Chang-dong and others. New feature films screened included “Pebbles” by P. S. Vinothraj, “Gull” by Kim Mi-jo, “Bipolar” by Qieena Li, “Dark Red Forest” by Jin Huaquin and “Short Vacation” by Kwon Min-pyo & Seo Han-sol. In the “Shorts” category, films screened included “I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face” by Sameh Alaa, “More Happiness” by Livia Huang and “Binh” by Ostin Fam. In addition, a retrospective program on the films of Youn Yun-Jung was screened.
Stanley Kwan’s 1991 classic film “Center Stage” has been digitally restored in 4k and arrives on Blue-Ray with bonus features for the very first time in North America on June 8, 2021. Maggie Cheung stars as the Shanghai film icon Ruan Lingyu. Distributed by Film Movement at www.filmmovement.com.
“Far East Deep South” is part of the PBS program series entitled “America ReFramed” and offers a poignant perspective on race relations, immigration and the deep roots of Chinese Americans in our national identity. It follows Charles Chiu and his family as they travel from California to Mississippi to learn about their grandfather and subsequently explore the history of the Chinese in the Deep South during segregation and the Chinese Exclusion era. To learn more, try www.FarEastDeepSouth.com. To see a trailer, try https://youtu.be/4ABGDr5k2HY. You can watch this film online at PBS.org from May 4 to June 3, 2021. Check for local listings and times as regions may differ at http:/bit.ly/ARF_FarEDeepS.
HBO Max will present eight days of digital community events to showcase the range diversity and spirit of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community during AAPI Heritage month. On Wed., May 19 HBO Max partners with AAPI Women Lead to host a conversation with “Genera+ion’s” Lukita Maxwell and AAPI women photographers, including Hannah Yoon, Cindy Trinh, Simrah Farrukjh, and Lagi Atoe, to discuss the intersections of their craft, activism and identity. Moderated by journalist SuChin Pak. Hosted on APPI Women Lead’s social platforms – Instagram TV and You Tube – and the participating photographer’s works will be amplified on sunstroke’s editorial platform. On Thurs., May 20th, HBO Max with Tastemade will host a roundtable conversation inspired by Lisa Ling’s upcoming HBO Max series, “Take Out”, to discuss how AAPI culture, heritage and identity have influenced food culture and revolution. The conversation features Lisa Ling and notable food stylists Chris Cho, Tway Nguyen, BADMAASH Brothers Nakul & Arjun Mahendro and Nicole Ponseca. To aire on Tastemade’s You Tube channel. On Friday, May 21st, HBO Max and The Hollywood Reporter will host a roundtable discussion around the significance of HBO Max’s Season 3 renewal of “Warrior”. The panel includes executive producer Shannon Lee and cast members Andrew Koji Dianne Doan and Hoon Lee. Moderator is THR’s Senior Editor of Diversity & Inclusion, Rebecca Sun. Available on The Hollywood Reporter and amplified across social media. Finally from Monday, May 24 through Friday, May 28 HBO Max and POPSUGAR will host a series of conversations centered on beauty – both figuratively and physically – as it relates to the AAPI experience. Participants include Judy Ho, Aunt Tina, Patrick Starr, Deepica Mutyala, David Yi and Charlotte Cho. Available on POPSUGAR’S “We Belong Here” editorial destination on POPSUGAR.com. For details on all this, go to [email protected].
“The Real Thing” is Koji Fukuda’s latest film premiering on June 4, 2021 via Virtual Cinema, VOD and Digital Platforms. Fukuda brings an idiosyncratic drama on human nature, fatalism and true love adapted from a popular manga. Naomi Kawase’s “True Mothers’ looks at a young adoptive family whose life is shaken by the surprising arrival of the birth mother who demands the return of her child. This film is available on June 8, 2021 as a DVD/Digital. Includes bonus short film and a discussion with the director and Juliette Binoche. “True Mothers” was the official entry by Japan for the 2021 Oscars. Distributed by Film Movement and Foundry Communications. For details, email [email protected].
Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s latest film “Cliff Walkers” is a spy thriller set during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. It stars Chang Yi and Liu Haocun as spies working in the city of Harbin.
Paramount Studio is going to give Rogers & Hammersteins’s musical “The King And I” a film remake in hopes of incorporating some diversity and contemporary perspective into the project. No writer or director has been selected as of yet. The real Anna Leonowens was a mixed-race Anglo-Indian woman who kept her racial identity a secret her whole life.
South African director Oliver Hermanus (“Moffie”) is currently working on a film adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru” with a script written by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Indian documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s films get a full retrospective on the streaming platform OVID. His latest film “Vivek” is a five hour dissection of Hindu nationalism.
“The Vow From Hiroshima” is a documentary film by Susan Strickler. It is an intimate portrait of Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor who was pulled out of a fiery building in which her other 27 classmates were burned to death. This experience shaped her life forever and she pledged to crusade against the global dangers of nuclear weapons. The film is being screened around Japan. Community screenings for this film can be booked at bullfrogcommunites.com.
MUBI presents the following – Tomu Uchida was a Japanese director much admired by his contemporaries like Kurosawa and Ozu but is little known in the West. His 1955 masterpiece, “A Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji” is set in the Edo period and is a tragicomic road movie in which a samurai and his escorts embark on a journey and encounter a set of characters met along the way. Stars Daisuke Kato “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” is the rarely seen debut from Academy Award-winning director Chloe Zhao. This stunning depiction of rural life in America helped establish the themes of grief and marginalization that punctuate her style. Climber-director Jimmy Chin’s 2015 film “Meru” documents his team’s drive to complete the first-ever ascent of Mt. Meru’s shark fin peak. An invigorating study of passion and experience. Shohei Imamura’s 1967 film, “A Man Vanishes” starts out as a standard documentary before developing into something more complex. It becomes a self-reflective meta-mystery that follows an existential and elusive, jagged line of inquiry. “The Fate of Lee Khan” made in 1973 was the third installment in the filmmaker King Hu’s unofficial “Inn Trilogy.” It features an all-star female cast in this martial arts adventure in which a female troop of Chinese resistance fighters corner a Mongolian emperor’s official at an inn. This film was a follow-up to “A Touch of Zen.” “Labyrinth of Cinema”, a final opus by Nobuhiko Obayashi (“Haus”) released in 2019 is now on MUBI. A three-hour time-traveling, genre-hopping anti-war masterpiece, the film the director’s love letter to the art of cinema and its capacity to change the world. Malene Choi’s 2018 film, “The Return” is the story of two Danish-Korean adoptees visiting their motherland for the first time and confronting their own identity struggles. Go to [email protected] to find out about this film streaming service where you can rent by the month or by the year.
The festival “GlobalASIAN – From Grassroots to Globalization” presents “LiterAsian – A Festival of Asian Canadian Writing” as their May Asian Heritage Month event. It features authors and cultural activists from Canada and across the Asian diaspora. It will be broadcast live across the world. All events are free. For information, go to https://literasian.com/. For registration/tickets/program schedules, go to https://literasian.com/2021-event-schedule/.
In the past, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Asian superheroes have dealt in too many stereotypes such as the Mandarin super villain in “Iron Man 3”, the Netflix Marvel TV show, “Iron Fist” with a white guy as a Kung-fu kicking rich kid and then Tilda Swinton cast as a “celtic” to replace the traditional Asian ancient one in “Doctor Strange.” They hope to rectify that by casting Hong Kong cinematic legend Tony Leung in “Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” Destin Daniel Cretton, the Hawaiian-born son of a Japanese American mother and Irish/Slovakian father will direct.
Farestart presents their series “Guest Chef Night at Home” with featured chefs Rachel Yang (Joule and Revel) and Melissa Miranda (Musang) on “Art of the Appetizers” on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 5pm (PDT). Free but you must register in advance at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/+ZMpdexhpzivG9XR/7ksloNYW600uzKp/FFF.
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that Vivian Hua and the Northwest Film Forum will receive the 15th Annual Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Film. Congratulations to Vivian and the crew at NWFF.
Town Hall Seattle has announced that local programs producer, curator and author Shin Yu Pai has been appointed as a full-time Program Director beginning May 28, 2021. Pai said, “I am thrilled to direct my energies towards supporting community-driven curation of public programming for Town Hall, an organization at the forefront of promoting civic dialogue in our city.” Pai began curating programs for Town Hall as an Artist-in-Residence in 2018 and served as interviewer on episodes of “In The Moment” podcast. Since 2020, she had curated and produced the Lyric World Podcast, a program focused on conversations with contemporary poets from underrepresented backgrounds. Town Hall also has digital programming of upcoming events on their live stream page. They have a media library of hundreds of video and audio free to enjoy. The discussion of the memoir “An Immigrant Daughter’s Story” by Senator Mazie K. Hirono with Viet Thanh Nguyen has been added. Laila Lalami who talks about “What It Means Be An American” and her book, “Conditional Citizens” with fellow author Viet Thanh Nguyen is also available. Go to townhallseattle.org for details.
Most local theaters are doing virtual screening via the internet where you can rent new films and see them at home. Go to the websites for Northwest Film Forum, Grand Illusion Cinema, Siff Uptown, AMC theatre chains and others.
The Written & Spoken Arts
UW American Ethnic Studies presents “Asian American Women Rising: NOT the Model Minority”, a forum with local experts of AAPI history and hate crimes. They will speak to the recent violence against Asian Americans and how to be an ally in Seattle. On Saturday, May 22, 2021 from 10:30am – 12:30pm (PST). Facilitated by Velma Veloria with Connie So, Sutapa Basu, Tianna Andresen and Arotha Basu. The link is 25646p.blackbaudhosting.com. Free but reserve your tickets and you will receive a zoom notification.
Bellevue College’s Asian Pacific Heritage Month’s program features a ZOOM series of interesting speakers. Helen Zia speaks on “Anti-Asian Hate, Violence Against Women” on May 26, 2021 at 1pm. Go to https://bellevuecollege.zoom.us/1/484497589 to register for ZOOM.
Humanities Washington presents a virtual discussion that explores the modern experience of being Asian in America. “On Asian America: AAPI Experiences and Identities” on May 24 at 6pm (PST). Free. Featuring Ron Chew, author of “My Unforgotten Seattle” and Michelle Liu, Associate Professor of English and Associate Director of Writing Programs at UW. Moderated by Tabitha Espina, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Eastern Oregon University. Presented by KUOW Public Radio Spokane Public Radio and UW Public Radio as part of a series of events and radio programs and The Asian American Experience. For details, email [email protected].
“We Hereby Refuse” is a graphic novel by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura with illustrations by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki. It brings to light three Japanese American voices and their acts of defiance during the WWII internment of persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. The stories of their refusal to submit without a fight are tied together within an epic narrative of the internment camp experience. Co-published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press. Book release on May 18, 2021. To purchase copies, go to Wing Luke Museum’s Marketplace online store. The Seattle Public Library presents “We Hereby Refuse”, a discussion moderated by Densho Director Tom Ikeda on Monday, June 14 at 6pm (PST). Visit SPL.org for registration. On Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 2pm (PST), another book event will be held at Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles.
Nguyen Phan Que Mai celebrates the paperback release of her novel of generations of a Vietnamese family before, during and after the war entitled “The Mountain’s Sing” in a conversation with Megha Majumdar on Thursday, May 20 at 4:30pm (PST). Register for this free virtual event at [email protected].
UW Japan Studies Program presents a virtual talk by Newcastle University’s Gitte Marianne Hansen on “Women in the World of Murakami” in which she questions critiques of gender and representation in Haruki Murakami’s novels. Free and open to the public. On Thrusday, May 20, 2021 from 12 – 1:30pm (PST) . Go to [email protected] for details.
Elliott Bay Book Company has a full slate of events in their virtual reading series. Here are a few. Mira Sethi, noted actor and writer appears in conversation with Shahina Piyarali on her new book of short stories, “Are You Enjoying?” (Knopf) set for Wed., May 19, 2021 at 6pm (PDT). Sethi’s stories open up fascinating slices of contemporary life in Pakistan. This event co-presented by Tasveer (www.tasveer.org) and EBBC. On Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 5pm (PDT), join Spokane writer Trent Reedy and Afghan writer/teacher Jawad Arash who co-wrote the novel “Enduring Freedom.” It tells the story of a friendship between a young Afghan man and an aspiring U.S. journalist who gets dispatched to Afghanistan. Virtually hosted by EBBC in audio only. Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/150674953843. On Thursday, June 10 at 6pm (PDT), Grace M. Cho, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology returns to the Pacific Northwest to read from her new memoir “Tastes Like War” (Feminist Press). Growing up in Chehalis, WA. as the daughter of a white American merchant marine and a young Korean bar hostess, Cho’s investigation of her mother’s schizophrenia also plumbs the depths of colonialism, war and violence on a Korean American family. The author will be interviewed by writer/teacher Noah Cho. On Saturday, June 12 at 2pm (PDT), the author, actor and children’s right activist Nandana Dev Sen will read the poems of her mother, the late, great Bengali poet and prose writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen in a book entitled “Acrobat” (Archipelago) which she translated. Interviewed by poet Karthika Nair. Elizabeth Miki Brina’s memoir, “Speak Okinawa” (Knopf) looks at a daughter’s quest to connect with her mother, the country of her origin and its colonial history. Interviewed by IE contributing writer Mira Shimabukuro. Set for Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 6pm (PDT). For making reservations to the virtual events, go to elliottbaybook.com and click on the “events” page or call 206-624-6600 or toll-free at 1-800-962-5311. Although all events are virtual for the time being, the book store is open.
Hugo House has the following. “Writing Off the Patriarchy: Literature as Love Letters For Change” on Thursday, May 27 at 7pm. (PDT). Join writers Sonora Jha, Kristen Millares Young, Soniah Kamal and Stuart Getty for a discussion on new literature for change. RSVP. Some upcoming classes offered include – “Lineation Elation” with Dilruba Ahmed from June 1 – 15 and “Narrative Reclamation for People of Color: Power on the Page” with Zain Shamoon. Try [email protected] for details.
E.J. Koh is the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Program Curator for 2021. She is the author of the award-winning memoir, “The Mystical Language of Others” and the poetry collection entitled “A Lesser Love”. The 2021 Jack Straw Writers selected this year by Koh are S. Erin Batiste, C.E. Glasgow, Patrycja Humienik, Grace Jahng Lee, Jose Luis Montero, Greg November, Tochukwu Okafor, Michael Overa, Paulette Perhach, Abi Pollokoff, Kristie Song and Daniel Tam-Claiborne. They will read in their debut on the first three Fridays streaming live in May 2021 on May 7, 14, & 21 at 7pm. Visit jackstraw.org for details. Streaming live on Facebook (no Facebook account required.)
Congratulations to IE contributing writer Betsy Aoki who won the 2020 Patricia Bibby First Book Award. Her manuscript “Breakpoint” won a $500 prize and future book publication. “Breakpoint” is a book about women in the tech industry and also includes Sci-fi/fantasy and horror topics. She also has her first Sci-fi story publication forthcoming in Uncanny Magazine.
“Open A New Window” is the title of Seattle Arts & Lectures new 2020/21 season. Set for June 9, 2021 is poet/fiction writer Ocean Vuong. His novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” in which he writes letters to his immigrant mother which she will never read was an immediate and enduring bestseller. Sponsored by Elliott Bay Book Company. For more details, go to lectures.org.
Humanities Washington has announced their 2021 – 2023 Speakers Bureau Roster with presentations ranging from the personal to the global. Public presentations are free and will start July 1, 2021. Some speakers include the following – Under “Arts & Literature”, Deepti Agrawal will speak on “The Ancient Art Of Madhubani Painting.” Under “History”, Julie Pham speaks on “Hidden Histories: The South Vietnamese Side of the Vietnam War.” Under “Life & Culture”, Lori Tsugawa Whaley talks about “The Samurai Code: How Bushido Changes Lives”. Under “Race & Identity”, Michelie Liu talks about “Laughing Matters: Asian Americans, Comedy And Inclusion.” To reserve an online virtual program, contact [email protected]. For more information, try [email protected].
EAST WIND BOOKS in Berkeley, California remains one of the most comprehensive bookstores in the country for Asian American and Asian titles. They are sponsoring the following free virtual events.” Instant Pot Asian Pressure Cooker Meals” book talk and demonstration with Patricia Tanumihardja who will show you how to make “Lemon Teriyaki Glazed Chicken”. This event takes place May 22 at 3pm (PST). Free Zoom event. You can buy the book at www.asiabookcenter.com. RSVP for this event at instantpot.eventbrite.com. On June 6 at 1pm (PST), there is a kids virtual storytime with picture book authors. Muon Thi Van reads from “Wishes” and Michelle Sterling reads from “Whe Lola Visits” with a special kids activity. Kids, bring a drawing of your grandparent to share. This free zoom event and live stream on Face Book. RSVP at kidstorytime.eventbrite.com. Long-time activist/singer/performer/dancer and now author Nobuko Miyamoto talks about her new memoir entitled “Not Yo’ Butterfly – My Long Song of Relocation, Race, Love And Revolution” (UC Press) in a virtual event on June 26, 2021 at 3pm (PST). This is a free online event but please RSVP at notyobutterfly.eventbrite.com.. To get more details on these events, email [email protected] or go to asiabookcenter.com.
Diode Editions has a chapbook launch for their 2021 releases. Live stream readings of new works by chapbook authors Teow Lim Goh, Joey S. Kim, Natasha Saje, Amorak Huey, W. Todd Kaneko, Kendra DeColo and Tyler Mills. On Sat., June 26 at 1pm (EST). Free but you must register via Eventbrite. Go to www.diodeeditions.com.
Kentaro Miura, the artist and writer behind the bestselling manga, “Beserk” since 1989 has died at the age of 54. His US publisher Dark Horse Comics described Miura as “a master artist and storyteller.” Dark, violent and humorous, “Beserk” ran to 40 volumes with 35 million copies sold worldwide and has also been adapted into an Anime TV series, films and video games.
The University of Washington Press is seeking writers working on a manuscript or new book proposal. UW Press editors are eager to connect with current and prospective authors about new projects and book proposals. Contact them via email of set up a meeting by phone or Zoom. Executive Editor is Lorri Hagman at [email protected].
Below is a partial list of new books by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia. If you are interested in reviewing any of them, please let us know –
“The Thousand Crimes Of Ming Tsu” (Little Brown) by Tom Lin. This fiction debut reimagines the classic western through the eyes of a Chinese American assassin on a quest to rescue his kidnapped wife and exact his revenge on her abductors. This book is a thriller, a romance and a story of one man’s quest for redemption in the face of a distinctly American brutality.”
A God at the Door” (Copper Canyon) by Tishani Doshi. Doshi is an award-winning writer and dancer of Welch-Gujarati descent. She has published seven books of fiction and poetry. This new volume of poems calls on the extraordinary minutiae of nature and humanity to redefine belonging and unveil injustice.
“Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan is back with “Sex And Vanity” (Anchor) tells the story of the daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father. She has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side and when she finds herself drawn to a Chinese American man, she denies her feelings. When they meet again and romance flares, she must spin a web of deceit to her fiancé and family to keep the affair alive. A comedy if manners set between two cultures.
“Tokyo Ever After”(Flatiron) by Emiko Jean. It’s hard growing up Japanese American in a small, mostly-white Northern California town with a single mom. But when Izumi or “Izzy” as she’s known discovers her missing dad is the crown prince of Japan, things become surreal. Traveling to Japan to find her dad, her life is turned upside down. Not American enough in the States, not Japanese enough in Japan. Will Izumi ever land on her feet?
“Angel & Hannah – A Novel in Verse” (One World) by Ishle Yi Park. The electricity of first love in the heart of New York’s neighborhoods. When a Korean American girl from Queens meets a Puerto Rican American boy from Brooklyn at a quincecanera, sparks fly and so does family opposition and cultural complexity. This former poet laureate of Queens uses bursts of language and imagery in sonnet and song form to bring alive the glow of first love.
“Swimming Back To Trout River” (Simon & Schuster) by Linda Rui Feng. It’s 1986 and a ten-year-old girl lives in a small Chinese village with her grandparents. Her parents left for the opportunities in America years ago. Now her father promises to pick her up and take her to America by her 12th birthday. The little girl is determined to stay. And what she doesn’t know is that her parents are estranged, burdened by demons from their past. Can one family, with an ocean between them, start anew without losing themselves –or each other? Jean Kwok calls this novel, “A beautifully written, poignant exploration of family, art, culture, immigration, and most of all, love.”
“Made In Korea” (Simon & Schuster) by Sarah Suk. A “rom-com” novel debut depicts two entrepreneurial teens who butt heads – and maybe fall in love- while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.
“At The End Of The Matinee” (Amazon Crossing) by Keiichiro Hirano as translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. Billed as a love story and psychological thriller, this novel traces the years long relationship between a concert guitarist and a journalist and examines whether the relationship will endure and perhaps blossom into something deeper.
Burying the Mountain (Copper Canyon) by Shangyang Fang. Deeply immersed in the music of ancient Chinese poetry, Fang’s debut alloys political erasure, exile, remembrance, and death into a single brushstroke on the silk scroll, where our names are forgotten as paper boats on water.
“Swimming to Freedom: My Escape from China and the Cultural Revolution” (Abrams) by local writer Kent Wong tells the harrowing tale of the author’s escape from China by swimming to Hong Kong. In 1974, it is estimated that half a million “freedom swimmers” risked everything to escape hardship and oppression by swimming to that city.
“Soul Lanterns” (Delacorte Press) by Shaw Kuzki. Translated by Emily Ballistrieri from the Japanese. Twelve–year-old Nozomi lives in Hiroshima and though not even born when the atomic bomb was dropped on that city, she participates in the lantern-floating ceremony to honor those lost in the blast. The names of the victims are written on each lantern but every year, Nozomi realizes her mom always releases one lantern with no name. When she investigates, complicated stories of loss and loneliness begin to unfold.
The work of Su Hwang, Samiya Bashir and Monica Youn appears in a new anthology entitled “There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters From a Crisis” (Vintage) as edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman. It’s a timely response to the Black Lives Matter movement by some of our country’s best writers in the form of poems, essays, letters and reflections.
Award-winning author Padma Venkatraman returns with her companion novel to “The Bridge Home” entitled “Born Behind Bars” (set for September 2021 release). This young adult novel on Penguin follows a boy who is unexpectedly released into the world after spending his whole life in Jail with his mother. Her previous book “The Bridge Home” received the SCBWI Golden Kite Award and was a 2019 Global Read-Aloud.
“Never Have I Ever” (Small Beer Press) by Isabel Yap is a collection of powerful short stories of speculative fiction/fantasy that explores themes ranging from monstrousness, shared trauma, systemic violence, friendship and the ambiguity of love.
“A Pho Love Story” (Simon & Schuster) by Loan Le is a romantic YA rom-com in which two Vietnamese American teens must navigate their new found love amid their family’s age-old feud about their competing pho restaurants.
“If I Were A Tree” (Lee & Low) by Andrea Zimmerman as imaginatively illustrated by local artist Jin Jing Tsong. This picture book traces two siblings journey into the woods and how they use the five senses to explore the natural world. Tsong’s kaleidoscopic art makes the wooded world come to life and illuminates the author’s poetic ode to trees.
“Shame On Me – An Anatomy on Race and Belonging” (Random House Canada) by Tessa McWatt. A mixed race woman asks tough questions about the necrotic legacies of race and affirming kinship and solidarity against the ongoing violence of silence and discrimination.
“Sato The Rabbit” (Enchanted Lion) written and illustrated by Yuki Ainoya and translated by Michael Blaskowsky. When a boy becomes a rabbit, he discovers the extraordinary can be found in the everyday, accepting and embracing the surreal in a world of endless possibilities. Charmingly illustrated with images that stretch the imagination.
“We Two Alone”(HarperVia) by Jack Wang. From the vulnerable and disenfranchised to the educated and privileged, the characters in this collection of stories embodies the diversity of the Chinese diaspora, past and present. An impressive fiction debut by this Chinese Canadian writer.
“Death Fugue” (Restless) by Sheng Keyi as translated by Shelly Bryant. This novel is a dystopian allegory of the Tiananmen Square massacre and banned in China. In this book, the author questions the role of art after an act of atrocity.
“When Father Comes Home” (Orchard) is written and illustrated by Sarah Jung. June’s father is like a goose: he flies away for long periods of time so when he comes home, it’s a special occasion. This picture book turns the story of migrant fathers who work abroad in hopes of widening the field of opportunity for their children into a heart-warming, reflective tale.
“The Intimacies of Conflict – Cultural Memory and The Korean War” (NYU) by Daniel Y. Kim. The author delves into novels, films and photos to reconstruct memories of war and what it means to Koreans, Asian Americans and people of color
“The Tangle Root Palace” (Tachyon) by Marjorie Liu (“Monstress”} is her debut collection of dark, lush and spellbinding fantasy fiction. It’s full of thorny tales of love, revenge and new beginnings.
“American Betiya” (Knopf) by Anuradha D. Rajurkar. This YA author takes an honest look at the ways cultures can clash in an interracial relationship. With themes of sexuality, artistic expression and appropriation, she gives voice to a young girl claiming ownership of her identity, one shattered stereotype at a time and going through the complex experience of her first relationship.
“Pop Song – Adventures in Art and Intimacy” (Catapult) by Larissa Pham. This is a memoir that plumbs the well of culture for clues and patterns about love and loss from paintings to travel, and sex and drugs before the author turns the gaze upon herself.
“Tastes Like War – A Memoir” (Feminist Press) by Grace M. Cho. The author grew up as the daughter of a white American merchant marine and the Korean bar hostess he met abroad. This book covers a daughter’s search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia. In her mother’s last years, the author learned to cook dishes from her mother’s childhood in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother’s multiple voices. Over these shared meals, she discovered not only the things that broke the brilliant, complicated woman who raised her but also the things that kept her alive.
“Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food” (Ten Speed Press) by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho. The acclaimed chef behind Mister Jiu’s Restaurant shares the past, the present and the future of Chinese cooking with personal stories and recipes.
“Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, And Identity” (Penguin Random House) by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi. Two 17 year old girls (a Chinese American and an Indian American) take a year off after high school and travel the country asking Americans how race has impacted their lives. Out of 500 stories, they edited it down to 115 for this anthology.
“Autumn Light – Season of Fire and Farewells” (Vintage) by Pico Iyer. Now, in a new paperback edition, the author returns to his second home of Japan after a father-in-law’s death. He immerses himself in the steadying patterns of everyday rites and reflects as the leaves turn to color and the heat begins to soften
“Yang Warriors” (University of Minnesota Press) by Kao Kalia Yang as illustrated by Billy Thao. In this inspiring picture book, the determined Hmong children of a refugee camp confront hardships and do what they can to provide subsistence to the younger kids and elderly. From this picture book emerges young heroes offering gifts of hope.
“Hiroshige – Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces” (Prestel) by Anne Sefrioul. Created during the Japanese master’s later years, this book contains images of each of Japan’s provinces. Panoramic views of the Japanese countryside captured before industrialization and Western influence.
Inspired by the Peabody Award-winning podcast, “The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel” (Walker) by Sheila Chari is a young adult thriller. As kids are disappearing one by one from a middle school and their parents don’t seem to care, Mars Patel and his crew go on a desperate search for answers.
“Mapping Abundance For a Planetary Future- Kanaka Maoli and Critical Settler Cartographies in Hawai’i” (Duke) by Candance Fujikane. Fujikane criticizes settler colonial cartographies that diminish life and instead highlights the all encompassing voices of Hawaiian communities and their perspective of abundant healing and protection for the land.
“All You Knead Is Love” (FSG)by Tanya Guerrero. When a 12 year old girl must leave her mother to live with her grandmother in Barcelona, she feels estranged. But then she grows to love that city that her mother once called home. She connects with her Spanish roots, becomes close with her Filipino grandmother and discovers a passion and talent for baking bread. When her favorite bakery is in trouble, she learns what she can do to help.
“Folklorn: A Novel” (Erewhon) by Angela Mi Young tackles complex issues about mythology, science, generational trauma and identity. It follows a Korean American physicist in the Antarctic who must return to her childhood home in California to deal with mental illness that runs through her family. It explores the myths we inherit and those we fashion for ourselves.
“Afterparties – Stories” (Ecco) by Anthony Veasno So. This book marks the short story debut that offers profound insight into the intimacy of queer and Cambodian American immigrant communities. These children of refugees create a new life in California as they shoulder the inherited weight of the “killing fields” and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship and family.
“The Woman in the Purple Skirt” (Penguin) by Natsuko Imamura as translated by Lucy North is a past winner of the Akutagawa Prize. It tells the story of two chambermaids whose lives intertwine and explores envy, loneliness, power dynamics and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, suspenseful narrative.
“Kiyoshi’s Walk” (Lee & Low) by Mark Karlins as illustrated by Nicole Wong. When a boy watches his grandfather compose a haiku, he wonders “Where poems come from?” His grandfather’s response is to take him on a walk through the city.
International bestseller “Kim Jiyong, Born 1982” (Liveright) by Cho Nam-Joo as translated by Jamie Chang is now available in a paperback edition. It follows one Korean millennial “everywoman” as she descends into a psychic deterioration in the face of a rigid misogyny. A rallying cry of feminism and gender that resonated with women all over Korea.
“Lady Joker – Volume One” (Soho Crime) by Kaoru Takamura as translated by Marie Iida and Allison Markin Powell. This book centers on a crime inspired by a true case in which a food chain is sabotaged and held for kidnapping. It also turns a kaleidoscopic eye on Japanese cultural norms and taboos over a period of four decades. This fictional opus will appear in several volumes.
“I Am A Bird” (Candlewick) by Hope Lim as illustrated by Hyewon Yum. When a little girl goes on her morning bike ride with her dad, she imitates the sounds of birds. But when she sees a strange woman with a stern demeanor and a mysterious bag, she becomes frightened. A children’s book that encourages readers to embrace over similarities rather then letting our differences divide us.
“Planet Omar Incredible Rescue Mission” (Putnam) by Zanib Mian as illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik. Omar is excited about his first trip to Pakistan but then tragedy strikes. His favorite teacher goes missing. Could his teacher been abducted by aliens? Omar investigates. Will creative thinking and a galactic spirit of adventure help solve this young adult mystery?
“The Human Zoo” (Grove Press) is the new novel by PEN/Faulkner Award-winning writer Sabrina Murray. It is the coming home story of a Filipino American woman who arrives in Manila under the throes of a dictatorship who must host a cousin’s fiancé in search of his roots, deal with a flirtation from an ex-boyfriend and co-exist with her upper class family. Due in August, 2021.
“Much Ado About Baseball” (Yellow Jacket/Little Bee) by Rajani LaRocca. When Trish finds herself on the same summer baseball team as Ben, her math competition rival, two people must set aside their animosity and join together to help their team win. Will solving a math puzzle help the team succeed? Trish and Ben think so.
“Winter in Sokcho” (Open Letter) by French Korean author Elisa Shua Dusapin is billed as a novel as if Marguerite Duras wrote “Convenience Store Woman.” In it, a young French Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse in a border town between the two Koreas. An unexpected guest arrives, a French cartoonist determined to find interest in this desolate landscape. The two form an uneasy relationship that has them searching for answers.
“The Unicorn Rescue Society – The Secret of the Himalayas (Dutton) by Adam Gidwitz & Hena Khan is a continuation of the New york Times bestselling young adult series about the juvenile members of this group who travel to the rugged mountains of Pakistan to rescue a unicorn.
“Paris Is A Party, Paris Is A Ghost” (FSG) is the debut novel by David Hoon Kim. Henrik Blatand is a translator living in Paris who was born in Japan and raised in Denmark as a Korean adoptee. In Paris he falls in with a group of expats from Korea and then falls in love with a Japanese student who has a nervous breakdown, eventually dying alone in her room. Haunted by this love, Henrik later becomes a parental figure to his best friend’s daughter who reminds him of his lost love. This is a transcontinental story of love, loneliness, strange bonds as well as race, calss, power and cultural identity.
“The Elephant Doctor of India” (Chicago Review Press) by Janie Chodosh. When a young elephant touching a sagging electric line in Assam, India gets stuck in the mud, there is only one person to call – Dr. Sarma, the elephant doctor. Chodosh spends time with the doctor and reveals to young readers what this unique veterinarian does for the elephants he encounters.
“Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation” (One World) by Mira Jacob. This is a graphic novel that examines what it means to be an immigrant and a first generation American. It delves into race, sex, love and family and discusses what these issues mean to her family and to the rest of the nation.
“Kudo Kids – The Mystery in Manhattan” (Razorbill) by Maia and Alex Shibutani. This brother & sister Olympic ice skating pair have turned their hands at writing young adult novels. The Kudo Kids come to New York to see the sights but when a dress from their fashion designer auntie’s collection goes missing, they end up in a chase around the city to nab the culprit.
“Tokyo Before Tokyo – Power and Magic in the City of Edo” (Reaktion) by Timon Screech. A beautifully illustrated volume on how the new capitol of Japan was formed set in the broader context of Japan’s cultural history and its extensive ties to China and Europe.
“From Little Tokyo With Love” (Viking) by Sarah Kuhn. Rika is an adopted bi-racial girl with formidable judo skills and a fiery temper. When she hears rumors in her neighborhood that her real mother is not only alive but a Hollywood movie star, she goes on a quest to find her. Accompanied by actor friend Hank, she must make some big decisions that could change the direction in her own life.
“Dial A for Aunties” (Berkley) by Jesse Q. Sutanto. In this rom-com/murder mystery mash-up of mistaken identity and sisterhood, a wedding photographer enlists the aid of her mother and her sisters in hiding the dead body of her blind date while attempting to pull off an opulent wedding for a billionaire client.
“Korean War Comic Books” (McFarland) by Leonard Rifas. Comic books have presented fictional and fact-based stories of the Korean War, as it was being fought and afterward. Comparing these comics with events that inspired them offers a deeper understanding of the comics industry, America’s “forgotten war” and the anti-comics movement. This book examines the dramatization of events and issues, including the war’s origins, germ warfare, brainwashing, Cold War espionage, the nuclear threat, African Americans in the military, mistreatment of POWS and atrocities.
“Renegade Flight” (Razorbill) by Andrea Tang. In this YA fantasy adventure, a young pilot-in-training is grounded when found cheating on an entrance exam. Eager to re-join, she competes in a combat tournament to regain entry only to find she must battle a strangely attractive nemesis.
“Daddy’s Love For Me” (Mascot) by Sarah and JoAnn Jung as illustrated by Chiara Civati. A daughter feels resentment towards her overworked dad when he has no time to spend with her and show his love. When she overhears a conversation between her parents, she realizes how wrong she was.
“Counting Down With You” (Inkyard) by Tashie Bhuiyan. A reserved Bangladeshi teenage girl looks forward to a restful break when her demanding parents go abroad. Instead, she is roped into tutoring the school’s resident bad boy and then talked into a fake-dating façade. But then her life changes as the days go by and the two get to know each other.
“City of Ash And Red” (Arcade) by Hye-Young Pyun as translated by Sora Kim-Russell. This futuristic novel about a rat-killer sent by an extermination company into a foreign country swept by a plague and flooded with trash is a story of lost identity and redemption in trying times.
“We Belong” (Dial) by Cookie Hiponia Everman. In this Young Adult novel-in-verse, the author weaves together Philipino mythology and a family’s immigration story.
“Dumplings for Lili” (Norton) written and illustrated by Melissa Iwai is a delightful tale of a young girl’s cooking with her grandmother and how it leads to borrowing ingredients and sharing food in a multi-cultural apartment building.
“Count Me In” (Nancy Paulsen) by Varsha Bajaj. A middle school Indian girl doesn’t care for the bad boy next door. But when her grandmother begins to tutor him, a friendship develops. When an act of racist hate leaves her grandfather injured, the two must band together to overcome adversity.
“Heart of Fire – An Immigrant Daughter’s Story” (Viking) by Mazie K. Hirono – U.S. Senator. The intimate and inspiring life story of the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. senate and her upbringing in immigrant Hawai’i.
“Bracelets For Bina’s Brothers” (Charlesbridge) by Rajani LaRocca as illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat. In this ingenious picture book, a young girl uses math to determine how she goes about making colorful bracelets for her many brothers.
“Utamaro and The Spectacle of Beauty” (Reaktion) by Julie Nelson Davis. This is the revised and expanded second edition. The author reinterprets this Japanese print artist within the context of his times. Looks at the roles of gender, sexuality and celebrity in Edo period Japan through Utamaro’s work.
“Nina Soni, Sister Fixer” (Peachtree) by Kashmira Sheth as illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky. This continuing series on the adventures of a young Indian American girl who looks for a new project while at the same time getting aggravated by her little sister’s behavior. Maybe there is a way to solve both issues at the same time?
“Mangoes, Mischief, And Tales of Friendship – Stories from India” (Candlewick) by Chitra Soundar as illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy. This volume includes eight original trickster tales inspired by traditional Indian folktales.
“Fatima’s Great Outdoors” (Kokila) by Ambreen Tariq as illustrated by Stevie Lewis. This picture book is a celebration of an immigrant family’s first outdoor camping trip and how it brings them all together for once inside one big tent under a canopy of stars.
“Abundance” (Graywolf) by Jakob Guanzon is a novel that looks at a father and son living on the streets down to their last dollar. It is a condemnation of capitalism and the cycles of poverty in which so many are trapped.
“Last Night At The Telegraph Club” (Dutton) by Malinda Lo. It’s 1954 and red-scare paranoia spreads across “cold war” America. Not the safest place for two teenage girls to fall in love. With deportation looming over her father, a Chinese American girl must risk it all to let her love for another see the light of day.
“Queen of Ice” (Duckbill) by Devika Rangachari. This young adult historic novel delves into the turbulent history of tenth-century Kashmir and Didda, princess of Lohara who learns how to hold her own in a court ridden with factions and conspiracies.
“Ten Little Dumplings” (Tundra) by Larissa Fan and illustrated by Cindy Wume. In a Chinese family, boys are traditionally valued but this quirky children’s picture book looks behind the ten little boys in the family to reveal a sister who is just as important.
“All of Me” (HarperCollins) by Venita Coelho. What happens to a child locked into a basement so long that he develops a personality fracturing into many characters that become his family?
“The Ramble Shamble Children” (Nancy Paulsen) by Christina Soontornva as illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Five children live in a simple run-down house where they have everything they need – a garden, chicken eggs and each other. But when they get the idea to “proper it up”, things won’t feel the same.
“Foreign Bodies” (Norton) by Kimiko Hahn. Inspired by her encounter with the Jackson Collection of ingested curiosities at the Mutter Museum, this poet investigates the grip that seemingly insignificant objects have on our lives.
“Black Water Sister” (ACE) by Zen Cho. A modern fantasy tale of ghosts, gods and the eternal bonds of family ties in the setting of modern-day Malaysia. A young woman returns to Penang and reunites with her extended family while at the same time navigating a world of spirits and gangsters.
Two-time Newberry Medal winner Lois Lowry’s new book “On The Horizon – World War II Reflections” (HMH) is a moving young adult account of the lives lost and forever altered in the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.
“Leave Society” (Vintage) is Tao Lin’s first work of fiction since 2013. It follows a thirty-year-old novelist living part-time with his parents in Taiwan and part-time in New York who grows increasingly alienated from friends and community back in the U.S. As he rotates between places, the novel chronicles his growth as son, writer and misfit.
“The Henna Wars” (Page Street Kids) by Adiba Jaigirdar. This romcom about two teen girls with rival henna businesses who find despite their competition, they have to come to terms with a realization of the affection they have for each other.
“In the Watchful City” (TorDotCom) by S. Qiouy Lu. An unforgettable futuristic tale in a secondary world that feels familiar in essence, and that centers trans, nonbinary, queer, mentally ill and Chinese-coded identities. It asks the eternal question, “What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?”
“The Sunflower Cast A Spell To Save Us From The Void” (Nightboat Books) by Jackie Wang. These poems emphasize the social dimensions of dreams, particularly the use of dreams to index historical trauma and social processes.
“A Future For Memory – Art And Life After The Great East Japan Earthquake” (UBC Anthropology Museum Books) by Fuyubi Nakamura. This is the exhibition catalog for this show held recently at The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia that revisits the scene of the earthquake and tsunami that engulfed Northern Japan many years ago and chronicles how it’s changed and how it’s stayed the safe and how it’s affected its people.
“Clues to the Universe” (Quill Tree) is the Young Adult debut novel by Chrsitina Li. What do an aspiring young rocket scientist reeling from her father’s death and an artistic boy who loves superheroes and comic books have in common? When the two become science class partners, they embark on an adventure and discover themselves while banding together to confront bullying, grief and their own differences.
“Love Without A Storm” (Blood Axe Books) by Arundhathi Subramaniam is filled with poems that celebrate an expanding kinship: of passion and friendship, mythic quest and modern day longing, in a world animated by dialogue and dissent, delirium and silence.
“American as Paneer Pie” (Aladdin) by Supriya Kelkar. As the only Indian American kid in small town America, Lekha leads two lives. Her Indian cultural world at home and the one where she’s trying to fit in at school as she gets bullied for looking different. Things change however when another Indian girl appears at school. When a racist incident rocks the school, decisions must be made.
“The Pandemic – Perspectives on Asia” (Columbia University Press) edited by Vinayak Chaturvedi. A collection of essays that look at the effect of COVID-19 in Asia as interpreted by leading scholars in anthropology, food studies, history, media stuydies, political science and visual studies. Reports from China, India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and beyond.
“Heiress Apparently” (Abrams) by Diana Ma is the first book in an epic, romantic young adult series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized regent of China. When a young Chinese American woman from Illinois embarks on an acting career in Los Angeles having abandoned plans for college – things turn strange. When she gets a role in “M. Butterfly” shooting in Beijing, she uncovers a royal Chinese legacy in her family her parents would rather she never knew.
“Catcalling” (Open Letter) is a book of poems by Lee Soho. This poet is part of the new wave of innovative feminist and queer poetry appearing in South Korea today.
“Magic Ramen – The Story of Momofuku Ando” (Little Bee) by Andrea Wang as illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz. The true story of the man who invented instant ramen through trial and error in his very own kitchen.
“Terminal Boredom – Stories” (Verso) by Izumi Suzuki. This book of short stories introduces readers to a cult figure in Japanese literature who takes a unique slant on science fiction and concerns about technology, gender and imperialism.
“Forty Two Greens – Poems of Chonggi Mah” (Forsythia) as translated by Youngshil Cho. Winner of the Korean Literary Award, this poet’s search for the infinite in nature illuminates moments of beauty in the subconscious.
“Experiments in Skin – Race And Beauty In The Shadows of Vietnam” (Duke) by Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu. The author examines the ongoing influence of the Vietnam War on contemporary ideas about race and beauty.
“Facing The Mountain – a True Story of Japanese American Heroes in WWII” (Viking) by Daniel James Brown. Based on extensive interviews, the book chronicles the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese American families and their sons during the war and their courage in combat and resistance.
“Yolk” (Simon & Schuster) by Mary H. K. Choi. Two Korean sisters once thick as thieves now can’t stand the sight of each other. But when one gets cancer, the other becomes the only one who can help her. Bound together by family secrets and sickness, will these sisters learn more than they’re willing to confront?
“Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing” (LACMA/Prestel) by Stephen Little and Virginia Moon is the exhibition catalog for a major show that illuminates the restrained beauty strength and flexibility of Korean calligraphy. It is the first exhibition held outside Asia to focus on the history of writing and calligraphy in Korea.
“A Sky Beyond The Storm” (Razorbill) is the finale to the popular “Ember in the Ashes” series by Sabaa Tahir. This fantasy series finds the soul catcher must look beyond the borders of his land and take on a mission that could save or destroy – all that he holds dear.
“The Surprising Power of a Dumpling” (Scholastic) by Wai Chin. A teenage girl balances looking after her siblings, working in her dad’s restaurant and taking care of a mother suffering from a debilitating mental illness. A deep true-to-life exploration through the complex crevices of culture, mental illness and family.
“Hokusai – A Graphic Biography” (Lawrence King) by Franceso Matteuzzi and illustrated by Giuseppe Lotanza. A vivid graphic biography that tells the story of Hokusai’s intriguing life and pioneering works.
“The Cat Man of Aleppo” (Putnam) is a Caldecott Medal winner by Irene latham and Kaerim Shamsi-Basha as illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. This picture book is based on a true story of an ambulance driver in the city who remained even as bombs fell and the war drove citizens away. He starts to care for all the orphan cats left behind and expands his charity to the children and the remaining survivors as donations come in to support his efforts.
“From A Whisper To A Rallying Cry – The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement” (Norton) by Paula Yoo. This award-winning children’s picture book author makes her YA debut with a compelling account of the killing of Vincent Chin, the verdicts that took the Asian American community to the streets in protest, and the groundbreaking civil rights trial that followed.
“The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World” (Overlook) by Laura Imai Messina. A Japanese woman loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami. When she hears of a phone booth where people come to speak to departed loved ones, she makes a pilgrimage there only to find her grief won’t allow her to pick up the phone. A novel based on a true story.
“Taking On The Plastics Crisis” (Penguin Workshop) by Hannah Testa is part of the “Pocket Change Collective” series. It’s a handy guide on how we can all reduce our use of plastics that clog our beaches, oceans and landfill.
“Almond” (Scholastic) is the latest picture book by master storyteller/artist Allen Say. In it he portrays a young girl named Almond who is a victim of self-doubt and is envious of the talented new girl in school who plays the violin. Yet, through trial and error she comes to find her place in the world and a role she can play.
“NARA” (Del Monico/Prestel/LACMA) is the official catalog for one of the first major museum exhibitions on the Japanese artist on the West Coast. It surveys his large output of paintings, sculptures, drawing and installations from the past 30 years. His wide-eyed yet vaguely menacing figures are now known world-wide but this exhibition connects the work to his inspiration taken from the early 70’s punk rock scene. To this end, the exhibition also includes selections of music by Yo La Tengo on vinyl. The catalog is edited by Mika Yoshitake with texts by Michael Govan, Yoshitomo Nara and Mika Yoshitake.
“HAO – Stories” (Catapult) by Ye Chun. This collection of short stories by a three-time Pushcart winner follows Chinese women in both China and the U.S. who turn to signs and languages to navigate the alien landscapes of migration and motherhood they find themselves in.
“Ten – A Soccer Story” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Shamini Flint. A good half-Indian girl in 1980’s Malaysia isn’t supposed to play a “boys” sport but Maya is all game as she achieves her goals while placating a bossy Indian grandmother and holding together a mixed race family on the verge of drifting apart. A young adult novel that will inspire.
“How To Not Be Afraid Of Everything” (Alice James) is the sophomore release by Washington poet Jane Wong due out in October, 2021. This book explores the vulnerable ways we articulate and reckon with fear: fear of intergenerational trauma and the silent, hidden histories of families. These poems speak across generations of survival in not always easy times.
“I’m Waiting For You and Other Stories” (Harper Voyager) by Kim Bo-Young. Translated by Sophie Bowman and Song Ryu. These short stories have been hailed by Academy Award-winning director Bong Joon-Ha as “a breathtaking piece of cinematic art itself.” This marks the debut in English of one of South Korea’s most treasured writers whose speculative fiction explores the driving forces of humanity and the very meaning of existence.
“The Smile Shop” (Peachtree) written and illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. When a boy goes to market to buy something special, disaster strikes and he becomes penniless. But when he sees a smile shop, his curiosity is aroused and he goes in. Will he find anything of value or will he leave empty-handed and disappointed?
“The Secret Talker” (HarperVia), a novel by Geling Yan as translated by Jeremy Tiang. Hongmei and Glen seem to have the perfect idyll life in the Bay Area even though their marriage is falling apart. When a secret admirer contacts Hongwei on the internet, his flirting turns into an obsession.
“The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa” (Modern Library) won the Pen Award for “Poetry in Translation” for translator/poet Sawako Nakayasu. Now it’s brought back in print in the new Modern Library Torchbearers Series that highlights women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity and a spirit of resistance. Sagawa was a turn-of-the-century daringly experimental voice in Tokyo’s avant-garde poetry scene. Her life was cut short by cancer at the age of 24 but the words she left behind linger on.
“Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon” (Simon & Schuster) by Kat Zhang as illustrated by Charlene Chua. When a classroom teacher asks her students to make their own dragon, Amy Wu is stumped until her grandmother’s story gives her new inspiration.
“CURB” (Nightboat) is a new collection of poems by Divya Victor. This book documents how immigrants and Americans both, navigate the liminal sites of everyday living, ripped by violence and paved over with possibilities of belonging.
“Ichiro” (Etch) by Ryan Inzana was a Will Eisner Award nominee, received the Asian/Pacific American Award and was a Junior Library Guild Selection. This graphic novel tells the story of a boy raised by his Japanese mother in Brooklyn who grows up idolizing his American father he never knew who was killed in combat. When he is forced to go to Japan with his mother who is on a work trip, he is left with a grandfather, a stranger to him in a country he doesn’t know. When he finds himself a fugitive in a land of mythic gods, he must figure out who he is and how he can escape.
“Séance Tea Party” (RH Graphic) by Reimena Yee. A lonely girl meets a ghost who haunts her home and finds a new friend. But what happens as the girl grows older and the ghost stays the same age?
“A Nail The Evening Hangs On” (Copper Canyon) by Monica Sok. A strong debut that illuminates the experiences of the Cambodian diaspora and reflects on America’s role in escalating genocide in Cambodia. A travel to war museums around the world re-shapes the imagination of a child of refugees and from these experiences tumble out powerful poems of voice and witness.
“Nina Soni, Master of The Garden” (Peachtree) by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky. This young adult series about an Indian American fourth grader finds her working on a garden project with her siblings supervised by their landscape architect mom. What they hadn’t counted on was the unpredictability of mother nature. Can Nina Soni help this garden survive?
“Banned Book Club” (Iron Circus) by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju and Ryan Estrada. This graphic novel is a young adult memoir that takes place in the 1980s under a repressive regime in South Korea. When she joins a reading group, a Korean girl finds more than books. This is a dramatic true story of the death of democratic institutions and the relentless rebellion of reading.
“Constellation Route” (Alice James) by Matthew Olzmann This new book of poems (due out March, 2022) by this mixed-race poet uses the form of the letter to explain issues related to contemporary American society. The book is a metaphysical tribute to both the Post Office and the act of letter writing as a way to understand and create meaningful connections with the world at large.
Mindy Kim, Class President” (Aladdin) by Lyla Lee is part of a series of books on the adventures of a teenage Korean American girl. In this story, she decides to run for class president but first she must overcome her fear of public speaking.
“The Truffle Eye” (Zephyr) by Vann Nguyen is the debut collection of poems by this Vietnamese-Israeli poet as translated by Adriana X. Jacobs. In it she tackles questions of identity and cultural legacy from points of emotion and shock.
“Donut Feed The Squirrels” (RH Graphic) is a graphic novel about two squirrels named Norma and Belly who conspire to steal the delicious donuts from a local food truck run by a grumpy baker.
“Flowering Tales – Women Exorcising History in Heian Japan” (Columbia University Press) by Takeshi Watanabe. This is the first extensive study of this historical Japanese tale. It unravels 150 years of happenings in Heian era society penned by female writers.
“Pippa Park Raises Her Game” (Fabled Films Press) by Erin Yun. This loose reimaging of “Great Expectations” follows a young Korean American girl learning to navigate her new life at an elite private school in this young adult novel.
National Book Award-winning poet Arthur Sze in “The Glass Constellation” (Copper Canyon) has his poetry spanning five decades assembled into a book of new and collected poems. Fusing elements of Chinese, Japanese, Native American and various Western experimental traditions, the poems illuminate a concern for our endangered planet and troubled species.
“Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame” (Tu Books) by Supriya Kelkar is a historical novel of a young girl in colonial India who becomes a runaway teenage widow only to be forced to work as a servant to a British captain. When she discovers a British plot against India’s citizens, what will she do?
“Some Girls Walk Into The Country They Are From” (Wave) is a new book by Sawako Nakayasu, an artist working with language, and translation – separately and in various combinations. She, alone is responsible for introducing a wide variety of modern Japanese poets to English readers throughout the years with her fresh and skillful translations. This new volume is a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry.
“Hello Rain” (Chronicle) by Kyo Maclear as illustrated by Chris Turnham. This joyful romp through a rainy day combines a captivating storyline with exuberant illustrations that kids will get lost in with joy.
“A Taste for Love” (Razorbill) by Jennifer Yen. When a rebellious teenage girl agrees to help her mom’s bakery stage a junior competition, she soon realizes it’s a setup. All of the contestants are young Asian American men her mom has handpicked for her to date. What can she do?
“That Was Now, This Is Then” (Greywolf Press) is the first new collection from Paris Review Editor Vijay Seshadri since his 2014 Pulitzer Prizewinning book, “3 Sections.” Rosanna Warren says of this new book, “These are poems of lacerating self-awareness and stoic compassion. It is a book we need, right now.”
“Midsummer’s Mayhem” (Yellow Jacket) by Rajani LaRocca. When her dad , a renowed food writer loses his sense of taste, it puts a damper on this eleven-year old girl’s dream of becoming a baker and winning a cooking contest. When she meets a boy in the forest, he teaches her about new natural ingredients. Will the everyday magic of baking give her the courage she needs to save her father?
“The World Turned Upside Down: A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution” (Farrar Straus & Giroux) as translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian is due out January 19, 2021. It is the only complete history of this major event written by an independent scholar based in mainland China. The author witnessed much of this history firsthand, as a student and then as a journalist His previous book “Tombstone”, his definitive history of the Great Famine received the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism presented by the Nieman Fellows at Harvard and Sweden’s Steig Larsson prize. This new book was published in Hong Kong in Chinese in 2016 but has been banned in mainland China.
“Every Reason We Shouldn’t” (Tor Teen) by Sara Fujimura. When a teenage girl’s Olympic figure skater dreams fade, she meets a young man at her family’s rink who’s driven to get to the Olympics in speed skating. As a rivalry develops, so does a romance.
“My Name Will Grow Wide Like A Tree” (Greywolf) by Yi Lei and translated from the Chinese by Changtai Bi and Tracy K. Smith. Yiyun Li says of this book, “Yi Lei, one of China’s most original and independent poets, documents not only Chinese history in the past four decades, but also more importantly a woman’s private history of rebellion and residence.”
“Disappear Doppelganger Disappear” (Little A) is by the author of “The Hundred-Year Flood”, Matthew Salesses. Laura Van den Berg writes “How to live in a world that refuses to see you? Matt Kim’s intoxicating battle with his mysterious doppelganger moves him deeper and deeper into the vast and urgent sea of this question – and towards a possible answer. Inventive and profound, mordantly hilarious and wildly moving.”
“The Boys in the Back Row” (Levine Querido) by Mike Jung. When band geeks, comic nerds and best friends Eric and Matt tire of being bullied by racist comments and being called “gay”, they hatch a plan to meet a famous comic book artist during regional marching competition but an enemy has other ideas.
“ACE – What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex” (Beacon) by Angela Chen. “ACE” explores the world of asexuality and those who have found a place in it. Through reportage, cultural criticism, and memoir, this book shows what we can gain from the ACE lens.
“The Future History of Contemporary Chinese Art” (University of Minnesota) by Peggy Wang. In the 1980s and 90s, a group of Chinese artists rode to international fame but their work received simplistic Western interpretations that did not always go deep enough. The author gives each artist here a new appraisal, addressing fundamental questions about form, meaning and the possibilities of art.
“The Girl Who Stole an Elephant” (Peachtree) by Nizrana Farook. Deep adventures in the Sri Lankan jungle await young readers as a nobleman’s rebellious daughter steals the queen’s jewelry and makes her escape on the king’s elephant. How will things turn out in the end?
“Pink Mountain on Locust Island” (Coffee House) by Jamie Marina Lau. In her debut novel, shortlisted for Australia’s prestigious Stella Prize, old hazy vignettes conjure a multi-faceted world of philosophical angst and lackadaisical violence. A teenage girl drifts through a monotonous existence in a Chinatown apartment until her dad and boyfriend plot a dubious enterprise that requires her involvement.
“Sakamoto’s Swim Club – How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory” (Kids Can Press) by Julie Abery and illustrated by Chris Sasaki. This picture book tells the true story of a school teacher who can barely swim and how he turned a group of children into skilled swimmers who won Olympic gold.
“Sachiko” (Columbia University Press) by Endo Shusaku as translated by Van C. Gessel. This novel tells the story of two young Japanese Christians in Nagasaki trying to find love in the painful war-time years between 1930 and 1945.
“Kimono Culture – The Beauty of Chiso” (Worchester Art Museum) by Vivian Li and Christine D. Starkman tells the story of a Kyoto-based draper that is one of the oldest and most prestigious kimono makers in Japan today.
“Anna K – A Love Story” (Flatiron Books) by Jenny Lee. A re-imaging of “Anna Karenina”. This time in the persona of a teenage Korean American girl in Manhattan.
“Bestiary” (One World) by K-Ming Chang. This debut novel brings myth to life, revealing layer by layer origin stories of what becomes of women and girls who carry the spirits of beasts within.
“Land of Big Numbers” (Mariner) by Te-Ping Chen. This debut story collection depicts the diverse people of China, their government and how it has tumbled into the present. The author is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
“Other Moons – Vietnamese Short Stories of the American War and Its Aftermath” (Columbia University Press) translated and edited by Quan Manh Ha and Joseph Babcock. In this anthology, Vietnamese writers describe their experience of what they call the American war and its lasting legacy through the lens of their own vital artistic visions.
“Two Trees Make a Forest – In Search of My Family’s Past Among Taiwan’s Mountains And Coasts” (Hamish Hamilton) by Jessica J. Lee. This award-winning memoir from Canada opens as the author finds her immigrant grandfather’s letters and traces his adventures in the nature of his country.
“Everything I Thought I Knew” (Candlewick) by Shannon Takaoka. A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just a heart from her donor when odd things begin to happen. As she searches for answers, what she learns will lead her to question everything she assumed she knew.
“On Fragile Waves” (Erewhon) by E. Lily Yu. This debut novel by a local author traces a family’s journey from Afghanistan to their eventual new home in Australia. A coming-of-age tale and meditation on exile, belonging, fragility and hope.
“New Deal Art In The Northwest – The WPA And Beyond” (UW) by Margaret Bullock. This book tells the story of hundreds of Northwest artists employed by the U.S. Federal government under the WPA Project and also serves as the catalog for an accompanying exhibition at Tacoma Art Museum. Includes work by Kamekichi Tokita, Kenjiro Nomura and Fay Chong.
“Edge Case” (Ecco) by YZ Chin. The dilemma of a Chinese woman’s life on a work visa in New York City narrows as her marriage disintegrates and her options grow sparse. The author explores the imperfect yet enduring relationship we hold to country and family.
“Goat Days” (Seagull Books) by Benyamin as translated by Joseph Koyippally. A poor young man in Southern India dreams of getting a job in a Persian Gulf country so he can earn enough money to send to his family back home. When his wish becomes reality, things don’t turn out as planned and he is locked into a slave-like existence herding goats in the desert. Circumstances force him to conceive of a hazardous scheme to escape his life of loneliness and alienation. But will it be enough?
“Last Tang Standing” (Putnam) by Lauren Ho. “Crazy Rich Asians” meets “Bridget Jones” in this funny debut novel about the pursuit of happiness, surviving one’s thirties intact and opening one’s self up to love.
“Paper Peek Animals” (Candlewick) by Chihiro Takeuchi. A die cut book that allows kids to peek through and pick out the animals in this wild search-and-find journey that will engage minds and counting skills as well.
“AN I NOVEL” (Columbia) by Minae Mizumura as translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. This novel focuses on a single day of a Japanese expatriate in America as she reflects on her life in this country and why she wants to return to Japan to become a writer and write again in Japanese.
“My First Book of Haiku Poems – A Picture, A Poem And A Dream – Classic Poems by Japanese Haiku Masters” (Tuttle) by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen and illustrated by Tracy Gallup. Classic Japanese haiku imaginatively illustrated with bilingual English and Japanese text. Each poem comes with questions for the young reader to think about.
“Sacrificial Metal” (Conduit Books & Ephemera) by Esther Lee. It won the Minds on Fire Open Book Prize. Sean Dorsey writes that the book “dances with astute curiosity and deep tenderness across the shifting grounds of grief, touch, bearing witness, memory, and our obstinate human instinct for future planning. With great compassion, Lee’s poems remind us that everything human eventually unravels…”
“SNEEZE” (VIZ) by Naoki Urasawa is a Japanese manga that collects some of the odds and ends of short pieces by this author in one collection. Urasawa’s career spans over thirty years and a multitude of subjects. Urasawa has been called one of the artists who changed the history of manga. He’s noted for his psychological storytelling style and detailed artwork. His stories touch upon the hopes, dreams and underlying fears of humanity.
Seattle poet Don Mee Choi calls Anna Maria Hong “the genius poet of fairy tale language and conventions in “Fablesque” (Tupelo), a new book by this former Seattle resident. She goes on to say how “Hong explores the grammar of horror and hunger, survival and abuse across the contorted historical, cultural, and familial terrains of the Korean diaspora.”
“Forbidden Memory – Tibet During the Cultural Revolution” (Potomac) by Tsering Dorje. Edited by Robert Barnett and translated by Susan T. Chen. The author uses eyewitness accounts with expert analysis to tell the story of how Tibet was shaken by foreign invasion and cultural obliteration. This book is a long-overdue reckoning of China’s role in Tibet’s tragic past.
“Paper Bells” (The Song Cave) by Phan Nhien Hao and translated by Hai-Dang Phan is a new volume of poems by a poet shaped by the Vietnam War, forced to re-start a life as a teenager in the U.S. His poems bear witness to a delicate balance between two countries and cultures.
“So This Is Love: a Twisted Tale” (Disney) by Elizabeth Lim. A young adult re-telling of the Cinderella story. In this one, Cinderella leaves the house where she works and gets a job as the palace seamstress. Here she becomes witness to a grand conspiracy to overthrow the king. Can she find a way to save the kingdom?
“From Maybe To Forever – An Adoption Story” (Creston) by M. L. Gold and N. V. Fong as illustrated by Jess Hong. Told from a big sister’s point of view, this picture book makes the complicated adoption process clear for the youngest readers and the colorful art shows how many different kinds of families there can be.
“Sonata Ink” (Ellipsis) by Karen An-Hwei Lee imagines Kafka in the city of angles seen through the eyes of a Nisei woman hired to be his interpreter and chauffeur. Los Angeles seen as the epicenter of “The Wasteland.”
“Story Boat” (Tundra) by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh. A picture book that tells the story of a little girl and her brother forced to flee home and create a new one out of dreams and stories amidst migration and crisis.
“Territory of Light” (Picador) by Yuko Tsushima as translated by Geraldine Harcout. This novel finds a young woman left by her husband starting a new life in a Tokyo apartment with her two year-old daughter. As the months go by she must confront what she has lost and who she will become.
“Butterfly Sleep” (Tupelo) by Kim Kyung Ju as translated by Jake Levine is a historical drama based in the early Joson Dynasty. With a mixture of magic realism and dark humor, he tells an existentialist allegory of Korean’s rapid development. This play is a modern fable of a rapidly changing country that must confront its ghosts.
“Lion Boys and Fan Girls” (Epigram) by Pauline Loh looks at teenage boys who make a pledge to ban dating and focus on lion dancing. But they must contend with unusual girls and cyberbullying. The rich culture of Singapore and the fascinating history of lion dance make this a compelling young adult read.
“Eat A Bowl of Tea” (UW) by Louis Chu is a classic influential novel that captured the tone and sensibility of everyday life in an American Chinatown. This new edition comes with a foreword by Fae Myenne Ng and an introduction by Jeffrey Paul Chan.
Set in a New England town where accusations led to the Salem witch trials, Quan Berry’s novel “We Ride Upon Sticks” (Pantheon) looks at a 1980’s girls field hockey team who flaunt society’s notions of femininity in order to find their true selves and lasting friendship.
“A Bond Undone” (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Jin Yong is the second volume of “Legends of The Condor Heroes”, one of Asia’s most popular martial arts novels. Translated by Gigi Chang.
“Taiwan In Dynamic Transition – Nation Building And Democratization” (UW) edited by Ryan Dunch and Ashley Esarey. This book provides an up-to-date assessment of contemporary Taiwan highlighting that country’s emergent nationhood and its significance for world politics.
“The Journey of Liu Xiabao – From Dark Horse to Nobel Laureate” (Potomac) edited by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman with Yu Zhang, Jie Li and Tienchi Martin-Liao. Liu Xiabao was more than a dissident poet and this collection of essays capture the intellectual and activist spirit of this late literary critic and democracy icon.
“Harris Bin Potter And The Stoned Philosopher” (Epigram) by Suffian Hakim. This young Singapore-based writer’s parody of Harry Potter bases the story in Malaysia and seasons it with local and pop cultural references.
“Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade” (Aladdin) by Lyla Lee and illustrated by Dung Ho. Mindy is excited to go to the annual lunar new year parade but things don’t go as planned. Can she still find a way to celebrate?
“Peach Blossom Paradise” (NYRB) by Ge Fei and translated by Canaan Morse. This novel is the first volume of the award-winning “South of the Yangtze” trilogy. It is a sweeping saga of twentieth-century China that follows a family from a tiny village through three generations of history.
“From Maybe To Forever – An Adoption Story” (Creston) by M.L. Gold and N.V. Fong and illustrated by Jess Hong. Told from the view of an eager older sister, this is an endearing story about adoption from an often-neglected point of view.
“Grievance is Their Sword, Subterfuge Is Their Shield” (OkeyDokeySmokeyPokey Publishing) in the words of former IE staff person Thomas R. Brierly is “an intersectional persuasion to elucidate and educate on matters of race, violence, white supremacy and the United States’ adherence to brutal capitalism…”. Go to vvovnn.bigcartel.com to order.
“In The Footsteps Of A Thousand Griefs” (Poetry Northwest Editons) is the debut poetry publication by Seattle Young Poet Laureate Wei-Wei Lee. She is the 2019/2020 Youth Poet Laureate of Seattle as sponsored by Seattle Arts & Lectures. Born in California but raised in Taiwan, she has made Seattle her home for the past few years. Her poems have a beauty of language that pays tribute to both cultures and countries.
The KCLS Civics Information Group sponsors an online event entitled “Stop Asian Hate Crime – Understanding Anti-Asian Hate: A Panel Discussion” set for Sat., May 8, 2021 at 3pm. Local author and community activist Ron Chew will moderate. Understand the history of anti-Asian hate and learn how to be part of the solution. Free but registration is required. Suitable for adults and teens. For more information, contact Ann at [email protected] or call 425-392-5430. Go to kcls.bibliocommons.com to register.
Monday, May 24, 2021 by 4:30pm (PST) is the deadline for proposals for the Bellevue Japanese American Legacy Project. The group seeks an artist or artist-team to develop a site-specific artwork that recognizes and preserves the legacy of the Japanese American farming community of Bellevue. The community was forcibly removed from their homes and farms as a result of Executive Order 9055 issued by President Roosevelt on Feb. 10, 1942. If applicants have questions, submit them in writing by May 10, 2021 to [email protected]. Go to the website https://bit.ly/2S1Tdur for details.
The University of Washington Press issues a call for writers working on a manuscript or new book proposal. The editors at this local press want to connect with current and prospective authors about new projects and book proposals. They invite writers to contact them by email to set up a meeting by phone or zoom. If interested, contact Executive Editor Lorri Hagman at [email protected].
Artist Trust is looking for volunteers that bring vital expertise, thought partnership, and community connections to join their Board of Trustees. Also a Mental Health & Wellness Mondays bi-weekly program happens which consists of artist stories, resource sharing and workshops that center self-care and encourage rest. The goal is to provide a platform for Washington State artists to share the tools and resources they use to better treat mental health and wellness, including how self-care might be incorporated as part of their artistic practice. The Future Ancient public art team has put together a survey and artist roster to create economic empowerment for API creative through an Artist Roster created by and for local API Creatives and cultural workers. Take some time to fill out the survey to move this crucial work ahead. A Washington State Food Bank Map was created by Artist Trust as a resource for finding alternative food sources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant is an annual grant that will be awarded to self-identified lesbians for making visionary moving-image art. Also check out the monthly digest of resources and opportunities for artists. Try [email protected] to find out about all of the above possibilities.
There are $10 million in grants available from Arts Fund and the Department of Commerce intended to help organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All applications received by May 24, 2021 will be considered. Go to [email protected] for details or try artsfund.org or [email protected].
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle Parks and Recreation want to commission an artist or artist team to design and install mural art that reflects the diversity of the Central District at Spruce Street Mini-Park. Deadline is June 3, 2021 at 5pm. Apply on Submittable ([email protected]). For more information, contact [email protected] or call 206-684-7278.