Tomorrow’s World Book Day

In 1995 UNESCO designated April 23 as World Book Day, celebrating books and reading worldwide.  Why April 23?  On that day in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (he wrote about the Spanish conquest and Inca civilization)  all died. Other prominent authors like Nabokov and Laxness were born on April 23. Literature brings understanding. […]

Meeting Manga with a Death Note

Manga are book-length comics that became popular during the American post-war occupation of Japan.  They appear in all genres: science-fiction, mystery, comedy, and romance.  Typically manga are printed in black-and-white. Manga have begun to enjoy increasing popularity in the United States.  An entire section of my local Barnes and Noble is devoted to them.  One reason for […]

Executive Order 9066

Melting pot notwithstanding, the United States has never received any immigrant group with unbridled enthusiasm. The Japanese have experienced  nativism at perhaps its worst. In 1907, Japan and the United States entered a Gentlemen’s Agreement whereby Japan agreed to end Japanese immigration to the United States. It was superseded by the Immigration Act of 1924, […]

The Cherry Blossoms Of New Jersey

In Japan, cherry blossoms are revered.   They symbolize new beginnings and fleeting beauty.  Throughout the nation, flocks of people participate in cherry blossom appreciation picnics called hanami. Just as Americans are prone to flavor dishes with chocolate or coffee, Japanese have invented butter and cherry blossom potato chips. Pepsi has introduced a cherry blossom […]

Nazi Sympathizers In Britain

The Remains of the Day and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie share characters attracted to fascism.  They were not atypical representations.  A swath of the British upper crust, including some royals, were slow in awakening to the Nazi threat.  The bogeyman was communism, not fascism. Under Hitler, the German economy had begun chugging again. As for […]