Comics History

Read We Hereby Refuse

Read WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Warti…

Three voices. Three acts of defiance. One mass injustice.

The story of camp as you’ve never seen it before. Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II — but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

In this groundbreaking graphic novel, meet:

— JIM AKUTSU, the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, who refuses to be drafted from the camp at Minidoka when classified as a non-citizen, an enemy alien;

— HIROSHI KASHIWAGI, who resists government pressure to sign a loyalty oath at Tule Lake, but yields to family pressure to renounce his U.S. citizenship; and

— MITSUYE ENDO, a reluctant recruit to a lawsuit contesting her imprisonment, who refuses a chance to leave the camp at Topaz so that her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based upon painstaking research, We Hereby Refuse presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.

Overall this was an effective and moving history. It was interesting to trace the path of three different forms of resistance. This expands on what I learned in Takei’s They Called Us Enemy.

Jim Akutsu’s story was the most fleshed out, followed by Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s. His could have used a bit more clarity, and I would have liked more on Mitsuye Endo.

Two artists use significantly different art styles to illustrate the stories. Though the art in Kashiwagi’s segment looked rough and sketchy, I did like it for the tone. I’m not sure it was complementary to the more traditional art style for the other two segments. Perhaps a third art style might have pulled the distinctive styles together better?

Fiction History

Watched The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Watched The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from

In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

Read the book ages ago but don’t recall much besides the ending, which the movie changed – I think for the better from my recollection? I feel like they added a big plot line but could be I’ve just completely forgotten it 😂 The book is epistolary so they had to adapt it quite a bit but also did a good job incorporating letters.

There was good yearning and tension between the romantic leads. The heroine came off pretty awkward for a lot of the beginning, and her unhappiness seemed apparent.

Activism Art and Design History Music

Violin Tsunami

Watched Kishi Bashi – Violin Tsunami (Official Video) by Joyful Noise Recordings from

“Violin Tsunami” from Kishi Bashi off the album ‘Omoiyari’ out on Joyful Noise Recordings. Stream/Download/Purchase:

Video Created by: Julia and Mike McCoy
Tandem Media:
With help from: Benjamin J. Strickland (Brian Box)

For more information on the Japanese American Incarceration, visit:

Info about the album ‘Omoiyari’:

In that pattern of things popping up all at once, this music video inspired by the Japanese internment camps comes right after reading They Called Us Enemy and visiting the bonsai exhibit about how Japanese incarceration during WWII changed the bonsai world.

Comics History

Read They Called Us Enemy

Read They Called Us Enemy

A graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon — and America itself.

Long before George Takei braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

Part memoir, part history, part tribute to his father — I think the storytelling approach worked well, using the personal and individual to tell the greater story, and tie this piece of history together to the present. George Takei credits his father with guiding him into advocacy, which has also been powerful. Things were even worse than I realized — we read a book about Manzanar in elementary school but I think I was too young to totally understand, and we glossed over Japanese internment later in school. It’s helpful to have the pieces assembled in a story to follow along the timeline and explain how people reacted to different things. A powerful story to read now, when fear of “the other” has surged out of the shadows. I really liked the art style and use of halftone shading.

Cool History

Two Clever Historical Uses of Weaving


Weaving computer memory out of wire for the moon mission!

Spying with knitting!