‘Looking After Minidoka’: Three Generations of JA Life

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“Looking After Minidoka: An American Memoir” by Neil Nakadate has been published by Indiana University Press.

neil nakadate (book cover)In this book, the wartime internment years become a prism for understanding three generations of Japanese American life, from immigration to the end of the 20th century. Nakadate blends history, poetry, rescued memory, and family stories in an American narrative of hope and disappointment, language and education, employment and social standing, prejudice and pain, communal values and personal dreams.

Nakadate is emeritus professor of English at Iowa State University. He received his B.A. in English from Stanford University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature from Indiana University-Bloomington.

“My doctoral work was in literary study, specifically fiction and American literature, and most of my teaching has been in those areas,” he said. “My teaching of rhetoric and writing led to developing that as an additional area of expertise and publication. Finally, when I began writing my three-generation memoir 15 years ago, it became clear that it would have to include poetry along with the creative nonfiction.”

neil nakadate (headshot)Nakadate has three adult children, two of whom hold degrees from Iowa State. One teaches high school English and is a writer; one is a digital artist; and one is a photo and video artist.

He dedicates the book to his parents, Katsumi (James) Nakadate (1914-2007) and (Meriko) Mary Marumoto Nakadate (1915-2000), and grandparents, Bun’ichi Nakadate (1877-1965), Moriji (Ashizawa) Nakadate (1892-1939), Minejiro Marumoto (1880-1963) and Hatsune (Imoto) Marumoto (1890-1966).

“Neil Nakadate’s clear-eyed, carefully researched but nonetheless passionate book is rich with the closely observed details of internment camp life,” said Lauren Kessler, author of “Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family.” “‘Looking After Minidoka,’ written with wisdom, understanding, and a writer’s eye for the stories worth telling, is not only an important contribution to the literature of internment but also a important story about the promise and peril of America.”

To order the book from the publisher, go to www.iupress.indiana.edu/.

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