Spark Matsunaga: U.S. Senator and Warrior Poet

By Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary: Spark Matsunaga was a member of the 100th Battalion in WWII. He was elected to be a U.S. Senator from Hawaii and spearheaded the Redress Act through the Senate compensating Japanese Americans who were incarcerated…

Chinese Immigrants Help Complete the Transcontinental Railroad

By Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary: Two young men leave China and voyage to Gam Saan, Gold Mountain (San Francisco), America in 1850. They become two of the 12,000 Chinese who are hired by to help complete the first Transcontinental Railroad…

My Chinese Grandfather

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary As a child, Brenda visits her Grandfather who collects, dries and sells seaweed along the coast of California. When she is older, she helps him with his work. Brenda finds his ways strange and…

On the Train to the Japanese American Incarceration Camps

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary Brenda recounts a story that was told to her by a woman who was a nurse and who, along with 120,000 of other Japanese Americans, was forced to leave her home and all she…

Racism on the Road and Into the Next Generation

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary Brenda performs a children’s song in Japanese and is told to stop using “demonic language” and is called “a witch.” She is told by a producer that he is disappointed she isn’t a “real”…

My Japanese Parents’ Unromantic Marriage

by Karin Amano Story Summary Karin never dreamed about marriage growing up because of her Japanese parents’ unromantic arranged marriage. But when her father had a severe stroke and fell into a profound state of dementia, her mother, who had…

Loss and Acceptance

By Karin Amano Story Summary: Karin had been a practical Asian woman and everything, such as “going to America by age 24”, “being a professional actor by 31”, “finding a partner from match.com by age 37”, “getting pregnant by age…

When a Japanese City Person Moves into a Small Town in America

By Storyteller Karin Amano Story Summary: Five years ago, when Karin moved to a small town in the Midwest after previously living in Tokyo, New York City and Orlando, Florida she worried at first about fitting in but was glad to…

Sagebrush Santa: Christmas, 1942 in the Minidoka Internment Camp

By Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary Five-year-old Kiyoshi, tries his best to make sense of his world which has been turned upside down since Japan attacked a place called Pearl Harbor. Since his father was taken away, he has had to…

Exotic Food: The Legendary Origin of a Chinese American Dish

by Storyteller Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary People from all over the world came to America in the 1850s in search of riches during the California Gold Rush.  Many young Chinese men immigrated to America to earn money to support their…

Becoming a Woman of Color: Discovery in the Philippines

By Storyteller Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor Story Summary Rebecca, a Filipino American, grew up in nearly all-white neighborhoods and schools. In 2000, she began reconnecting with her Filipino heritage and became a woman of color. 

December 7, 1941: An Eyewitness to the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

by Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary Charles Ishikawa grew up in Plantation camps in Waipahu, Hawaii in the 1930s and 1940s.  He was 14 years old and on his way to his high school basketball practice when Japanese planes attacked Pearl…

The White Boys: Korean-Puerto Rican Girl Seeks Anybody

by Storyteller Elizabeth Gomez Story Summary: In The White Boys, Elizabeth tells of her struggle to be comfortable with her own identity outside the boundaries of the racial norm. She tells of the normal awkward struggles of adolescent love with…

The Importance of Representation on Our Stages: Role Models for Young Audiences

By Rives Collins Story Summary: In this story, Rives Collins, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University,  recalls his work directing plays for children.  He shares the discoveries the young people helped him make regarding the importance of representation on our stages…

My Life as an Engrish to English Translator: Learning to Accept My Korean Immigrant Mother

 by Elizabeth Gomez Story Summary: A story about Elizabeth, an “Army brat”, who must navigate the world for her Korean immigrant mother. Through this process she learns to stop being embarrassed by her mother and shifts to fighting for her.

Zebra Children: A Guide to Interracial Dating from the Closet for Immigrants and their Children

by Storyteller Archy Jamjun Please Note : The following video is part of a comedy routine. The video includes some mild sexual content. Story Summary: When in high school, Archy and his Thai family get into a fight about him…

My Names: Gender Expectations for a Taiwanese Woman

By Ada Cheng Story Summary: In this story, Ada Cheng explains the meanings of her Chinese name: Shu-Ju. She explains the connection between her name, her parents’ expectations for her as a daughter, and the cultural expectations for her as…

To Prove You Are Legal: Immigration from Taiwan

 by Storyteller Ada Cheng Story Summary: In this story, Ada Cheng explores her experience with the U.S. citizenship ceremony. She discusses the institutionalized vulnerability that immigrants are subject to during the process of becoming Americans. She also compares her experience…

The Story of My Teacher

By Kiran Singh Sirah   Story Summary:  Kiran reveals the experiences of living between two worlds: on one hand, his experiences with racism being one of the few brown boys in his town contrasted with the kindness of strangers as…

Bittersweet: A Chinese American Daughter’s Legacy

The stories offered here—Immigrant History and Mom’s Story—come from Chinese American storyteller, Nancy Wangs longer story Bittersweet: A Chinese American Daughter’s Legacy. In this story, Wang explores the history of her own family, beginning with the immigration of her great-great-grandparents…

A Link in the Circle: Learning to Lean on My Indonesian Family

By Arianna Ross   Story Summary:  What is it like to be so immersed in a culture that a lady on the bus becomes your adopted “Aunt” and a bus driver your “Brother? While Arianna Ross travelled alone through Indonesia,…

Chinese New Year’s Frogs: A Collision of Culture and Nature

By Linda Yemoto   Story Summary: “Ranger Linda” describes her encounter with a group of well-intentioned Chinese Americans bearing bullfrogs. This surprising incident illustrates how cultural differences can have unintended consequences and how cultural awareness can lead to greater understanding…

Diwali – From Darkness to Light, Hindus in America – Happy New Year!

By Archana Lal-Tabak   Story Summary:  A Goddess inspired story of the adversities faced and overcome by Archana’s family as they move form India to America. This is a story of identity, assimilation and race relations that ultimately honors different…

Memorial: Youth Violence Then and Now

By Susan O’Halloran PART ONE:   PART TWO:   Story Summary: Susan O’Halloran attends a Chicago Memorial service in November of 2011 for children who have died through violence. Being at the Memorial sparks a high school memory for Susan…

Vietnamese Refugees: An American Immigration Story

By Susan O’Halloran   Story Summary:  The true story of a Vietnamese teenager who makes it to America after a harrowing boat journey and refugee camp. At a commemorative storytelling event honoring Vietnamese Americans, Sue witnesses the transformative power of…

Where Are You From?

By Storyteller Arif Choudhury   Story Summary:  Bangladeshi-American Muslim storyteller, Arif Choudhury, shares stories about growing up as the only “brown-skinned boy” in the neighborhood and how 9-11 changed how others might perceive him and his family. 

Evacuation

By Storyteller Anne Shimojima   Story Summary: What if the U.S. went to war with your country of origin? Anne Shimojima tells of the difficult days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, when her Japanese-American family were forced to evacuate…