February 2022 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
• Editor's Message • Events • A Barefoot Boy From Hilo: In Sacramento and Arboga – Interviews with Mas Hongo • Eileen Gu, Citizenship, and Self-identity • Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello Newsletter Readers,

For those of you that celebrate the Lunar New Year and even those that don’t, I hope you are having a healthy and prosperous start.


When we thought of the articles for this month, I thought we should do something to mark the 80th anniversary of the February 19, 1942, signing of Executive Order 9066 (Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential order that resulted in the incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of America).

Although I did have knowledge of the Japanese American internment prior to joining AACP, I didn’t personally know anyone that experienced it until I met Florence and Mas Hongo (two of the main people for AACP during my time with the organization). They have been my teachers on this topic through the stories of their past and through their efforts to educate the wider public and me.

For years they would tell me their life stories, but we never had a chance to record any of it until we received a grant from the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation in 2015. That funding gave us the impetus to get started on recording Mas’ life through interviews.

The pie in the sky goal was to hopefully turn these recordings into a book and, at the very least, preserve his stories for family and friends.

Prior to the pandemic, we never had the time and manpower to transcribe these recording and edit them. With the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and some time on our hands, this newsletter gave us further cause to continue this project.

Although we are late with this newsletter in marking the exact day of the signing (Feb. 19), the real impact of 9066 was not felt until after they started acting on the removal of the West Coast Japanese Americans some short time after the signing of Public Law 503 (the March 21, 1942, law that gave teeth to 9066).

We hope you like the article of the excerpts from the Mas Hongo interviews (A Barefoot Boy From Hilo: In Sacramento and Arboga) and give us feedback that will motivate us to keep this project going.


Thank you to the authors and publishers that have been giving us samples of your books. We truly appreciate it and hope that more of you will do the same.

It takes a lot of work to find books for our newsletter featured books each month. Any help with samples and letting us know about new releases helps this efforts.

For this month’s featured books we have 10 books that in some way tell the story of the World War II Japanese Internment, both in America and in Canada (it happened there too).

We also have Joanna Ho’s new companion book to “Eye’s that Kiss in the Corners” called “Eye’s that Speak to the Stars” and one of Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh’s last books (this time a Children’s book) called “Where Is the Buddha?” Thank you Master Thích Nhất Hạnh for writing so many books on Buddhism and helping people learn to live better lives.

Please have a look at this month’s complete book selection. We’re trying something different this month and putting links to all of the featured books in our emailed version of the newsletter too. If you like this format, please let us know (either by clicking on the book titles and covers, or by giving us your feedback).


Thank you very much Mina for helping us transcribe some of the Mas recordings.

Thanks as always to Philip and Susan for your edits and general help with the newsletter.

Take care everyone.

Hope to see you soon.


Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


March 4-6, 2022: California Council for the Social Studies Conference

This event is happenning at the Hyatt Orange County in the city of Garden Grove. We won't be attending, but this is usually the best conference for social studies education in California each year.


March 29-April 2: California Association for Bilingual Education Conference

This event was scheduled to take place in San Francisco this year, but has been turned into a virtual event. If you are an author of a bilingual book, please contact us about possibly doing a virtual presentation at this event.


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

A Barefoot Boy From Hilo

In Sacramento and Arboga – Interviews with Mas Hongo

Interviewed by Leonard Chan and Susan Tanioka

With transcriptions by Mina Harada Eimon

Edited by Leonard Chan

The following interview is taken from multiple recordings with Masanori Hongo, husband of Florence Hongo (head of AACP).

This is just a small portion of more than ten hours we recorded with him over a four year period (from 2016 to 2019). We apologize if this article seems a little disjointed and pieces of the discussion seem missing. Mas spoke on several different occasions about his World War II experience – some of it overlapped. We merge parts of different interviews so that we could feature this one period in Mas’ life.

Mas Hongo was one of over 110,000 Japanese Americans to be incarcerated in one of the War Relocation Administration’s concentration camps during World War II. Even though he was born in Hawaii, he was sent to one of these camps because he happened to be in California at the beginning of the war. As a result he suffered the same fate as thousands of other Japanese Americans that were living on the West Coast of America.

This part of the interviews does not deal directly with his overall thoughts on the internment, but does shed some light on his experiences during the days leading up to his incarceration and the beginning of his confinement experience.

There are many stories about the internment, and each person had very different experiences even though many had similar parts in common. One of the unique things with Mas’ story is that he experienced these events as a young adult. Most of the survivors that are still living today tell their 80-year-old recollections from their perspective as children.

If you like this article, we hope to continue bringing you more of Mas’ transcribed recordings in future newsletter articles.

Please continue reading this one and let us know what you think.

Thank you.

Read More

Eileen Gu, Citizenship, and Self-identity

An editorial by Leonard Chan

When I was at my relative’s home recently, the subject of Eileen Gu came up. We were watching the 2022 Winter Olympics and one of my relatives said she thought Gu was a traitor. I had never heard of Eileen Gu before these Olympic games, but now I have, including all the controversy that surrounds her.

I am not sure if I have that much to contribute to Gu’s story, but her situation brings up thought about citizenship, self-identity, and even a connection to Asian American history.

I won’t go too deep into the Gu specific controversy, but will share some of my thoughts of how it connects with me and AACP.

Read More

Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at Bookshop.org where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Children's Books

Children's Chapter Books and Young Adults

Japanese American and Canadian World War II Internment