King O Riain, Rebecca
Book Review: Japanese American Celebration and Conflict: A History of Ethnic Identity and Festival 1934-1990.
Analyzing the Nisei Week Festival in Los Angeles, Lon Kurashige provides an important account of this community institution, which "reveals the false dichotomy between assimilation and ethnic retention". As the title implies, this book traces not just the celebrations but also the ever-present conflicts within Little Tokyo, thus contradicting any simplistic view of the assimilation of the community.
Through a beautifully written narrative that integrates individual life stories with more formal documentary research, Kurashige argues that Nisei Week represented more than just a reflection of Japanese American relations with the larger dominant society. It is also a window into understanding how class and gender evolved across the festival's history.
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