SAN JOSE — The Japanese American Museum of San Jose, 535 N. Fifth St. in San Jose Japantown, will host its second annual panel of researchers in Japanese American studies on Saturday, July 12, at 1 p.m.
The panel, a mix of graduate students and professors, will present core ideas from their research in this vital area.
• Dr. Amy Sueyoshi, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, will talk about her latest book project — “Sex Acts: Race, Leisure and Power in Turn-of-the-Century San Francisco.” In the late 1890s, San Francisco, a town reputed to be “wide and open,” was a place where men and women could configure their intimate lives in ways not permissible in other parts of America. Yet as city folks both explored and enacted new norms of romance and womanhood, these new freedoms would be less accessible to others, particularly for Asians in America. Acts of sexuality in San Francisco’s leisure culture affected Asians in a restrictive manner through the public dissemination of distinct characterizations for Chinese and Japanese that were different from white gender and sexual mores. Sueyoshi will examine how, more than a hundred years ago, the white middle-class expansion of their gender and sexuality norms marked the beginning of an Asian American stereotype.
• Dr. Tina Takemoto, associate professor at the California College of Arts (San Francisco), will present her artwork and archival research on Jiro Onuma, a gay Issei who was incarcerated at Topaz in central Utah. She will discuss “Looking for Jiro Onuma: Queer Perspectives on Wartime Incarceration,” a presentation exploring the hidden dimensions of same-sex intimacy and queer sexuality for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.
• Tim Yamamura, a doctoral candidate in literature at UC Santa Cruz, will discuss “Imagining ‘the Future’ in Nikkei Literature: On the Intersections of Science Fiction and Japanese Diaspora Writing.” This discussion will examine representations of the future in Nikkei literature in relation to the promises and perils of Japanese diaspora in the modern period. Starting with a brief survey of literary intersections within the science fiction and Japanese American canons, Yamamura will analyze two short stories — Toshio Mori’s “The Sweet Potato” (1940) and E. Lily Yu’s “The Urashima Effect” (2013). Using these two stories, he will explore how the science fiction context of futurity has afforded writers a means to contest the conditions of Nikkei diaspora in war and war’s wake.
Cost: Free with admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free). RSVP to [email protected] or call (408) 294-3138 to reserve a spot.