Despite Okinawa’s long and close relationship with the United States, most Americans know little about the rich and remarkable culture of Japan’s southernmost islands. And they know even less about the Okinawan immigrants who brought their heritage to the U.S. over one hundred years ago. In this landmark publication—the first literary anthology showcasing Okinawan Americans—their voices are heard in plays, essays, and memoirs. Through the beauty, humor, and heartbreak in Jon Shirota’s award-winning plays, the experiences of an extraordinary people are illuminated. And in personal essays and interviews, the compelling life stories are told of June Hiroko Arakawa, Philip Ige, Mitsugu Sakihara, and Seiyei Wakukawa. The distinctive cultural perspectives and literary excellence of Voices from Okinawa, edited by Frank Stewart and Katsunori Yamazato, expand our definition of American literature, showing it to be more inclusive, complex, and multilayered than we have imagined.
February 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3391-6 / $20.00 (PAPER)