Manoa, vol. 21, no. 1 (2009): Voices from Okinawa

Voices from Okinawa coverPresented by Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing

Voices from Okinawa: Featuring Three Plays by Jon Shirota

Edited by Frank Stewart and Katsunori Yamazato

VOICES FROM OKINAWA features through literature the rich and remarkable culture of Japan’s southernmost islands. In this landmark publication—the first literary anthology showcasing Okinawan Americans—Okinawan voices are heard in plays, essays, and interviews. Through the beauty, humor, and heartbreak in Jon Shirota’s award-winning plays, readers will discover the exuberance and excellence of Okinawan American literature. And in personal essays and interviews, the compelling life stories are told of June Hiroko Arakawa, Philip K. Ige, Mitsugu Sakihara, and Seiyei Wakukawa. The distinctive cultural perspectives and literary excellence of VOICES FROM OKINAWA show that American literature is more inclusive, complex, and multilayered than we have imagined.

Cover Art


Poem, i
Wesley Iwao Ueunten

Preface, vii-viii
Katsunori Yamazato


Lucky Come Hawaii, 1
Jon Shirota

Leilani’s Hibiscus, 52
Jon Shirota

Voices from Okinawa, 94
Jon Shirota


History and Okinawans, 134
Mitsugu Sakihara

Grandfather to Grandson: Perspectives on a Life, 140
Seiyei Wakukawa

The Gift: An Interview with June Hiroko Arakawa, 149
Kinuko Maehara Yamazato

The Dawning of an Okinawan, 157
Jon Shirota

An Okinawan Nisei in Hawaii, 174
Philip K. Ige

Sparrows of Angel Island: The Experience of a Young Japanese Prisoner of War, 187
Mitsugu Sakihara

Afterword, 203
Frank Stewart

About the Contributors, 208

Permissions and Acknowledgments, 210

Further Readings, 212