October 2022 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
• Editor's Message • Events • An Interview with Duncan Ryūken Williams: About His Efforts to Remember Everyone • A Presentation by Simon Tam: An Asian American Troublemaker That Took on the Government • Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello AACP Newsletter Readers.

Hope you had a great Halloween and Diwali.


You ever wonder about the actual number of people that were incarcerated in the unjust Japanese American Internment during World War II? Our first article (An Interview with Duncan Ryūken Williams: About His Efforts to Remember Everyone) is about project Irei, a memorial that not only wants to get the exact figure, but wants to humanize this number by attaching the names of every one of them.

For our second article, we have a wonderful presentation that was done for us around three years ago. Musician, author, and activist, Simon Tam tells of his experiences, including his seven year legal battle (that would ultimately be heard by the US Supreme Court) to name his group The Slants. Through his presentation, he covers his moving struggle to explain the reasons for their group’s name and to be heard. Who would have thought that there would be such an interesting story surrounding the trademarking of a name?


With the coming of one of the biggest feast days for all Americans, Thanksgiving, our featured books for the month all have to do with food. We have books about dumplings (Dumplings for Lili  and Dumpling Day), Biryani (Anni Dreams of Biryani), kimchi (No Kimchi for Me!), Daal (Bilal Cooks Daal), a mystery dealing with bibingka (Blackmail and Bibingka), a father who works at a bakery (Dad Bakes), a book about a famed food truck chef (Chef Roy Choi), a child that learns to like food and be thankful for it (Thank you, Mama), and a graphic novel about a Taiwanese American girl learning about cooking and herself (Measuring Up).

For our remaining featured books, we have a plethora of cookbooks. Find your favorite style of cooking and let us know if you like our selection.


Did you vote yet? Are you going to vote? Don’t plan on it? Why not? See what other Asian Americans are thinking in the bi-annual Asian American Voter Survey.

It’s not only about winning and losing. It’s about participating. Please stay involved, vote!


November is National Novel Writing Month. Are you writing a novel this time around? Sign up and give it a try. It's easier than it sounds (writing 50,000 words in a month). That's only 1667 words each day. If Chan (me :) can do it, so can you!


Hey, if you’re on the island of Hawaii, check out “Wordsworth: The Musical” on November 4th through the 6th. It’s based on Frances Kakugawa’s wonderful Wordsworth the poet Mouse series of children’s books.


Thank you Duncan Williams and Simon Tam.

Thank you Amy Uyematsu for a copy of your poetry book, That Blue Trickster Time. I hope to be contacting you soon.

Thank you very much Mina.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! 

Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Feb. 24-26, 2023: California Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference

Marriott Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA


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

An Interview with Duncan Ryūken Williams

About His Efforts to Remember Everyone

Interviewed by Leonard Chan

The Ireichō book of names being assembled

Photograph by Kristen Murokoshi

Duncan Ryūken Williams is a professor (USC), author (American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War), and Buddhist Priest. He and a team of workers have created the Irei: National Monument for the WWII Japanese American Incarceration project.

For a long time, I’ve wondered why no one has tried to do what you have just done – create a complete list of everyone that was incarcerated in Japanese American internment camps and government facilities during World War II. Was that what you thought too? The US government had an opportunity to do it when they passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, but chose not to complete it. What finally got you to take on this truly monumental task and why?

There have been attempts to create lists of names for particular camps, but no one, including the Office of Redress Administration (ORA) that was created to process letters of apology and redress checks to camp survivors after the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, has managed to create a comprehensive list of all persons of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during WWII.

The barrier to fully counting everyone has been the large number of camps run by different agencies and government entities including the Department of Justice, the U.S. Army, the Wartime Civil Control Administration, and the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Other than the 10 camps run by the WRA that produced ten camp rosters that purported to account for everyone in those camps, there were at least 65 other camps that never had comprehensive rosters.

The challenge, then, has been to...

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A Presentation by Simon Tam

An Asian American Troublemaker That Took on the Government

To Reappropriate a Racial Name

Transcription made by Mina Harada Eimon

The following is a transcription of a presentation by musician and author Simon Tam which he did at the Foster City Library on October 21, 2019.

Simon Tam may be best known as the founder and bass player for the Asian American rock group The Slants. He and his group were also involved in a trademark battle that eventually went all the way to the US Supreme Court (Matal v. Tam).

Simon Tam made his presentation in coordination with his memoir Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court.

Parts of the transcription were taken from indiscernible sections in the audio recording. With our apologies to Simon Tam, we did our best to transcribe your wonderful presentation.

The recording was started after Simon began his talk. The transcription begins with his experience as a musician doing a performance at a prison in Oregon.


…And I was a Johnny Cash fan. I was like, really excited about this. I was like, I’m gonna wear all black that day! This is going to be our Folsom Prison Blues moment. But I didn’t really think about what it would feel like to send an all Asian band into a prison with one of the highest populations of Neo-Nazis in the country.

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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 and Young Adult Books