John Okada: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy

The JASC Legacy Center Presents A “Memories of Now” (MON) Seminar Series Presentation

Co-sponsored by the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society (CJAHS) and JACL Chicago.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
6:30pm – 8:00pm
At the JASC (4427 N Clark St.)
Featured Speaker: Frank Abe, Co-Editor

John Okada was born and raised in Seattle, but he was living in the Midwest when he wrote his landmark novel revealing the emotional truth beneath the postwar resettlement of Japanese Americans. Published in 1957, No-No Boy centers on a Nisei resister who refuses to fight for the country that incarcerated him and his people in World War II and who, upon his release from federal prison, is cast out by his divided community upon his return to Seattle.

Okada’s novel faced a similar rejection until it was rediscovered and reissued in 1976 to be celebrated as a classic of American literature. Okada died at age 47, and his life and other works remained obscure after his widow, in grief, burned his manuscripts and letters.

Featured Speaker: Frank Abe, Co-Editor

Journalist and filmmaker Frank Abe has now written the first complete biography of Okada, and we are pleased to welcome him and JOHN OKADA: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy to Chicago. Abe wrote and produced the PBS documentary on the largest organized resistance to incarceration, Conscience and the Constitution. His own father was imprisoned at Heart Mountain, and Abe was born in Cleveland as a result of postwar resettlement.

Abe will trace Okada’s development as an artist, with a gallery of images drawn from the author’s life. The new book – co-edited by Abe, Greg Robinson, and Floyd Cheung – presents meticulously researched biographical details, insight from friends and relatives, and a trove of intimate photographs that illuminate Okada’s early life in Seattle, military service, and careers as a public librarian in Detroit, a technical writer in the aerospace industry, and ad man. This volume is an essential companion to No-No Boy.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Event and Parking are Free.
For further accommodation questions and requests, please contact Ryan Yokota at ryokota@jasc-chicago.org or at (773) 275-0097 ext. 222.

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