The George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in the Americas Series
"It is in fact everything that Kashiwagi doesn't say, everything between the lines of his pen, everything hovering so delicately above the narrative, that is so heartbreaking and painful. . . . These stories recuperate from erasure the history of Japanese American immigration and wartime detention, especially that of the Tule Lake incarceration, and the sensibilities and trauma of a Nisei whose long life, creative talents, and desire to write have allowed him to reflect on this past."
—Karen Tei Yamashita, University of California, Santa Cruz
"When you're listening to Nisei talk, you'll hear the phrase, 'Before the war . . . ,' followed by a momentary pause or silence. Hiroshi Kashiwagi fills that silence with a rich and evocative narrative voice rooted in the American literary landscape named Loomis."
—Shawn Wong, University of Washington
A memoir in short stories, Starting from Loomis chronicles the life of accomplished writer, playwright, poet, and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi. In this dynamic portrait of an aging writer remembering himself as a younger man, Kashiwagi recalls and reflects upon the moments, people, forces, mysteries, and choices—the things in his life that he cannot forget—that have made him who he is.
Central to this collection are Kashiwagi's confinement at Tule Lake during World War II, his choice to answer "no" and "no" to questions 27 and 28 on the official government loyalty questionnaire, and the resulting lifelong stigma of being labeled a "No-No Boy" after his years of incarceration. His nonlinear, multifaceted writing not only reflects the fragmentations of memory induced by traumas of racism, forced removal, and imprisonment, but also can be read as a bold personal response to the impossible conditions he and other Nisei faced throughout their lifetimes.
San Francisco Chronicle profile
Reading at the Western Addition Branch of the San Francisco Public Library release party
Auburn Journal, review, February 2014
International Examiner, review, March 2014