Jeanette Arakawa’s ‘The Little Exile’ tells the story of Japanese American incarceration

Jeanette Arakawa’s ‘The Little Exile’ tells the story of Japanese American incarceration

The historical story of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II is still not well-known in mainstream American culture and literature. When it comes to books, there are only a handful that are based on JAs’ wartime experience. The 1994 novel Snow Falling on Cedars is the most familiar to non-JA audiences (in large part because of the 1999 Oscar-nominated Hollywood film version).

Now, we can add to this short list The Little Exile by Jeanette Arakawa, a first-time author who couches her memoir in a fictionalized novel.

The fiction framing serves the story well, and gives Arakawa the creative freedom of shaping the narrative and dialogue for a sweeping, epic look at her family’s history that starts in pre-war San Francisco and ends as her family returns to the Bay Area after the war, upon leaving the Rohwer concentration camp in Arkansas. Yet, that history is told in exquisite vignettes, as if she’s savoring one memory at a time, turning them over like a Rubik’s Cube in her mind and then lining up the colors before moving on to the next memory.

That may be because Arakawa, who was a child when she and her family were incarcerated, didn’t start out planning to write a book about her experience.

She had been writing, but not fiction. “I was pretty good with grammar and I could write essays. I never wrote for pleasure, so to speak.”

Her introduction to writing about being Japanese American came for a contest. “(The) Hokubei Mainichi (newspaper) had a essay contest. I saw a car that had no license plate but said ‘Pearl Harbor survivor,’ and I had a reaction and ducked under the dashboard.” So she explored her feelings about Dec. 7, 1941.

“I wrote this thing and called it ‘Pearl Harbor Survivor’ and in the process of writing it I added the background of the camp experience. That was like the first time something I wrote was published. I think I won second place or something.”

After her husband retired, the couple began traveling. “I started writing stories about our trips. I would pass them out to my friends. So I thought I would polish up my writing skills.”

She lives near Stanford so she signed up for a continuing ed program for writing skills. “The instructor wanted us to write something about an unusual life experience. I wrote something about camps.”

“The instructor asked, ‘did this really happen?’”

The writing teacher’s parents were professors, and he had gone to school in Little Rock, Arkansas, the state where Arakawa’s family was imprisoned during WWII. But this was the first time he had heard about camps. “He got so upset and said ‘you have to write this in a book,’” he counseled. “That was like 15 years ago.”

“I never faced discrimination in the neighborhood of recent immigrants where I was born. Further, by birthright, I have always thought of myself an American, just like most of my friends who were also born of immigrant parents. (This was demonstrated when I tried to correct my taunters in my new neighborhood. (Page 40 in the book.) I didn’t feel I wasn’t American, I felt that others didn’t regard me as such.

“That started with our move out of our immigrant neighborhood and reinforced by the treatment we received during the war. I believe my work with textbooks was fueled by my strong sense of identity, although severely challenged by internment, to ultimately prevail as an adult.”

Arakawa recounts the years in concentration camps, but unlike other books about the JA experience, she continues the story into the year she spent in Denver, before her family decided to return to the West Coast.

“We stopped in St. Louis on the way to Denver,” Arakawa says. “It was a shock to no longer see nothing but Asian faces. It was like we had come to a foreign country or something.”

As an adult, she became part of the Bay Area’s JA community, and was asked to speak to schools about her experiences.

In the late ’60s and ’70s she was elected to the position of Palo Alto PTA Council Human Relations Chair, and organized a task force for evaluating textbooks for a diverse perspective. She co-authored a handbook on evaluating books for multicultural content.

“One of reasons we aren’t seen as Americans is because we don’t appear in textbooks,” she says. “Our committee went to Sacramento and we had this clause added to the education code that all books be evaluated for multicultural perspective.”

That perspective — being open to all people — drives the narrative of Little Exile.

And, makes it a terrific addition to the JA library.

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Congratulations to AARP’s 2017 AAPI Heroes!

Congratulations to AARP’s 2017 AAPI Heroes!

AARP is proud to announce the winners of its 2nd Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Hero Awards that were created to acknowledge the hard-working staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations serving AAPIs age 50-plus.

We received 61 nominations from around the country including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Washington, DC.

The stellar submissions included executive directors, staff, and volunteers who work in healthcare, housing, social services, education, and media. Ten finalists were selected by AARP; the winners were chosen by AARP AAPI Facebook visitors.

These three AARP Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Hero Award winners and their organizations will each receive a $1,000 cash prize:

Dilafroz Nargis Ahmed
Desi Senior Center Director
India Home
Glen Oaks, N.Y.

Dilafroz Nargis Ahmed has helped new immigrants in the Bangladeshi community in Queens, New York for three decades. At Desi senior center India Home, Ahmed works to improve the quality of life of vulnerable South Asian seniors in a culturally appropriate environment. Since 2014, Ahmed has strived to make India Home a comfortable place for immigrant seniors to come together, adjust to living in a new country, and build community. Ahmed also helps Bangladeshi older adults access services and find jobs.

(Photo by Jacques-Jean Tiziou/

Shongchai Hang
Outreach Worker
South East Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition

Shongchai Hang has been dedicated to serving Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant elders for more than 30 years. For the past 11 years, Hang has worked as SEAMAAC’s Lao Outreach Worker to help diverse low-income communities in Philadelphia. At weekly Elders Gatherings, he plays an integral role in building bridges between elders from diverse communities. He helps community members to see their own leadership potential, by recruiting and supporting Lao elders to serve on SEAMAAC’s Elders Council. Hang also helps seniors apply for social services and navigate the health care system. Hang’s ability to speak Lao, Hmong, Thai, and English allows him to serve a diverse groups of seniors.

Linda Mayo
Founder and President Emeritus
Pan-American Concerned Citizens Action League (PACCAL)
Jersey City, N.J.

Linda Mayo has served the local Filipino & Asian American community for more than 30 years. In 1992, Mayo found PACCAL, the first organization in Jersey City to address the health and human service needs of Filipinos and other Asians with a focus on senior citizen and veterans programs. It holds the distinction of being the only Asian Provider Agency recognized by the Hudson County Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office on Aging. PACCAL is a multi-service organization that organizes social and recreational activities for seniors, assists seniors and veterans apply successfully for affordable housing, coordinates citizenship and voter registrations, helps victims of domestic violence, and holds education, art and cultural workshops.

“Congratulations to Dilafroz, Shongchai, Sharon, and Linda for their exemplary contributions and dedication to our seniors,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. “They are unsung heroes who every day are improving the lives of seniors and their families. They devote their time, talents, and passion to making a difference not only to the elders and their families but to the greater community. AARP commends all of our 2017 Heroes and all of those who were nominated for inspiring each and every one of us.”

Congratulations once again to our 2017 AAPI Heroes, and to their organizations!

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Re-Think How You Search and Hire for a Job

Re-Think How You Search and Hire for a Job

Are you ready for a new job? Want to start a second career?  Or, perhaps get a part-time gig?  AARP’s Job Board may be the solution to that question. Earlier this year, AARP launched a tool that allows 50+ jobseekers to identify opportunities that fit their unique skills and experiences.   The Job Board leverages AARP’s Employer Pledge Program, which includes 380+ companies, and gives job seekers direct access to their career sites. Membership in this program is an outward expression of the employers’ commitment to hiring across the age spectrum and leveraging the value experienced workers bring to the workplace.

So, perhaps you are asking how this Job Board is different from the others. First, AARP knows the 50+ community. We understand the challenges experienced workers have finding employment that aligns with their years of knowledge and capabilities.  Plus, AARP knows there is a need to connect with employers that acknowledge the complexities of being a caregiver, raising children, and the need to stay relevant in the workplace – all critical and necessary to sustaining quality and valuable personnel.  As a result, AARP created a job tool that speaks to the wants of both the job seeker and the job recruiter.

For job seekers, the AARP Job Board is designed to help experienced workers re-think how they search for jobs.  It allows you to search with easy-to-use filters, narrows your search, and matches to employers looking for your experience. This enables you to search by what you desire-whether it’s where you work or how you’d desire to work – full-time or part-time.

For talent managers, the AARP Job Board helps employers re-think their hiring strategy.  They’ll find applicants with the competencies, experience, commitment and motivation needed to propel innovation in the workplace.  Research has shown that hiring workers 50+ brings value to their company.  For example, 50+ workers bring knowledge and wisdom, are highly engaged, have workplace longevity and they bring a degree of reliability and dependability to the workplace.

The AARP Job Board is a great answer for the 50+ job seeker. It offers just what the experienced worker has been seeking – access to employers looking for candidates just like you to fill jobs. To help you prepare, AARP has a host of innovative tools and resources at that range from tips on writing your resume to how to search for a job online. And at there are featured videos on various aspects of your job search, from preparing for your next interview to creating your LinkedIn profile.

To learn more about the Employer Pledge Program or the Employer Resource Center, visit to access resources. To begin your job search now, visit And, if you want to directly connect with more than two dozen hiring employers, sign up for AARP’s upcoming Online Career Fair, scheduled for September 14, 2017, at

AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP.

Photo: AARP

Also of Interest

19 Ways to Prep for the Interview
5 Answers to Tough Job Interview Questions
7 Ways to Help Your Résumé Stand Out






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The Senate Health Reform Bill Slashes Medicaid Severely

The Senate Health Reform Bill Slashes Medicaid Severely

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) now under consideration in the Senate would drastically alter the Medicaid program. The proposed Senate bill would change the way the federal government currently funds Medicaid by limiting federal funding and shifting cost over time to both states and Medicaid enrollees. BCRA would subject older adults, adults with disabilities, and children to mandatory per enrollee caps beginning in 2020. State Medicaid programs would have the option to choose between block grants and per enrollee caps for non-elderly non-disabled non-expansion adults.

The Senate bill would start out using the medical care component of the Consumer Price Index (M-CPI)—a measure of the average out-of-pocket cost of medical care services used by an average consumer—as the growth rate for per enrollee caps.  However, beginning in 2025, it would slash the growth rate to the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U)—a measure of general inflation that examines out-of-pocket household spending on goods and services used for everyday living. CPI-U does not tie closely to medical costs and will not reflect population growth or the impact of aging. To be clear, none of the proposed growth factors—M-CPI, M-CPI+1, and CPI-U— keep pace with the growth in Medicaid spending.

Although studies have examined the impact of Medicaid spending cuts in the House-passed healthcare bill over a 10 year period (e.g. [CBO] [CMS] [Urban Institute]) we know of none that examine the impacts over a longer time horizon. To fill this gap, the AARP Public Policy Institute has developed a model that looks out an additional decade to capture impacts on Medicaid spending between 2027 and 2036.

By dramatically reducing the per capita cap growth factor beginning in 2025, we project that the Senate bill would cut between $2.0 and $3.8 trillion from total (federal and state) Medicaid spending over the 20-year period between 2017 and 2036 for the four non-expansion Medicaid enrollment groups: older adults, adults with disabilities, children, and non-expansion adults (children with disabilities are excluded because BCRA does not subject them to capped funding). A cut of this magnitude threatens the viability of the program in unprecedented ways and will increase the number of people who no longer have access to essential healthcare services and critical supports.  The projections do not include the proposed cuts to the adult expansion population, which would also be considerable.

Previous analysis by the AARP Public Policy Institute discusses why capping Medicaid is flawed and would leave states and the poorest and sickest Americans holding the bag for the shortfalls that will most certainly occur.

Table 1 shows the cumulative 20-year cuts to Medicaid by eligibility group under the Senate health reform bill for three growth rate projections.  The bill would cap per enrollee cost growth using two measures of inflation (M-CPI and CPI-U), which are highly variable and uncertain, though well short of what is needed to maintain the integrity of the Medicaid program.  It is difficult to plan for such uncertain growth rates, and reasonable projections are far apart.

We present the high, middle, and low case for M-CPI/CPI-U growth rates based on the following:

  • Low Case. Based on historical growth rates. Over the last five years (2012-2016), the M-CPI growth rate has averaged 3.0% per year, and the CPI-U growth rate has averaged 1.32% per year.
  • Middle Case. Based on projections from the Congressional Budget Office. CBO projects M-CPI to grow by 3.7% per year, and CPI-U by 2.4% per year.
  • High Case. Based on projections from 2016 CMS Medicaid Actuarial Report.  From 2019 onward, this report projects M-CPI to grow by 4.2% per year, and CPI-U by 2.6% per year.


In short, the lower the cap growth rate, the more severe the Medicaid cuts will be.



The charts below demonstrate that for any projection of the bill’s cap growth rates, BCRA will lead to significant funding shortfalls for older adults, adults with disabilities, and non-disabled low-income children and adults. The end result is that states and beneficiaries will be left with severe funding shortages, and states will be forced to cut eligibility, provider rates, or covered services—or very likely all three.











Susan Reinhard is a senior vice president at AARP, directing its Public Policy Institute, the focal point for AARP’s public policy research and analysis. She also serves as the chief strategist for the Center to Champion Nursing in America, a resource center to ensure the nation has the nurses it needs.





Jean Accius is vice president of livable communities and long-term services and supports for the AARP Public Policy Institute. He works on Medicaid and long-term care issues.





Lynda Flowers is a Senior Strategic Policy Adviser with the AARP Public Policy Institute, specializing in Medicaid issues, health disparities and public health.





Ari Houser is a Senior Methods Adviser at AARP Public Policy Institute. His work focuses on demographics, disability, family caregiving, and long-term services and supports (LTSS).





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Utilizing Technology To Enhance Life

Utilizing Technology To Enhance Life

Have you ever asked yourself these questions, “What’s the best mobile app to use or the best device to purchase for achieving your everyday goals?” “How can I use technology to stay connected to family and friends, search for jobs,manage my homes, care for loved ones and learn a new skill?” Most of us have.  To help with answers, AARP is hosting a free Online Technology Fair, Thursday, June 8 from 1PM to 6PM EST.  You can register now to learn about the latest technologies for your daily life without feeling overwhelmed.

The fair will focus on utilizing technology to prioritize and simplify your life, finding work and connecting caregivers to loved ones, fellow caregivers and find local resources. You will find interactive videos and games, plus live webinars and video chats featuring industry experts.  You can get your questions answered by representatives from about two dozen non-profit organizations and government agencies that include American Institute for Cancer Research, Consumer Technology Association, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Volunteer Match and Next Avenue, to name a few.

By now, we probably all use technology to achieve and engage in most of our life activities. Through the use of our smart phones, computers, and now smart cars and smart homes, there is always something new being created to make our lives simpler.  To hear more about this and others, representatives from AARP Driver Safety will discuss the latest in smart vehicle technologies, and AARP Fraud Watch Network will discuss how to stay safe online. In addition, Dean Reistad of HelloTech will talk about how to simplify your life by using smart home automation, and author Jason Rich will discuss how companion robots, technology-controlled pill boxes, and other gadgets can enhance your life.

Using technology to find a job is now common practice. If you are job hunting you are probably using one or more online job boards. For this event, AARP work & jobs expert Kerry Hannon, Tom Ogletree of  General Assembly, and other knowledgeable staff will talk about how to better use technology to boost your skills, stand out in your field or transition into a new career. You will also learn about how the AARP Job Board and the AARP’s Employer Pledge Program can help you find relevant jobs for your skills and experiences. They will share information about AARP’s job seeking resources that range from how to prepare your resume to preparing for the interview.  You’ll even learn more about teleworking – from how to find a job that allows you to work from home, to how you can stay connected as you work from home.

Now that caregiving has now stepped into the world of technology, apps and gadgets can help you stay connected to your loved one as well as a network of other caregivers. We know caregiving takes a village to provide relief, moral support and help with identifying needed resources. Attend to hear about AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center and Caregivers in the Community (CINC) app that will help you prepare to care and connect to local resources and fellow caregivers.

Register now for the AARP’s free Online Technology Fair and participate from the comfort of your home or office. Take advantage of the myriad of tools and resources offered and discover surprising tricks and shortcuts that can help you from dawn to dusk.  Can’t make the live event? Register and you can view the event on demand.

 AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP.

Photo: AARP

Also of Interest

9 Ways to Use Technology to Save on Technology

Do You Know Tech Talk?

New Tech Tools For Working Smarter





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Reporter David Louie celebrates 45 years on the air

Reporter David Louie celebrates 45 years on the air

David Louie, rookie reporter in 1972 (Courtesy of David Louie)

David Louie, a familiar face to TV viewers in San Francisco, turns 67 next month. On May 29 — Memorial Day — he will celebrate another personal milestone: 45 years with ABC as a reporter, spending most of his career at KGO ABC7 Bay Area.

Louie began his career at KGO in 1972, then left for a management position at an ABC station in Detroit in 1977. He missed the Bay Area and returned in ’79 and has stayed ever since. He covered the burgeoning technology scene out of Silicon Valley, and is now a general assignment reporter based in San Jose.

When Louie was hired at KGO, he was one of the first Asian Americans in broadcasting. “We were among the pioneers,” he recalls. “Stations were heavily pushed by the community, ‘Where are Asians? We see no one like us.’”

“The Bay Area was the perfect breakthrough ground,” he adds, because of the large Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population in San Francisco and surrounding cities.

On camera today (Courtesy of David Louie)

In his long career, Louie’s survived the evolution of broadcast news from film and video to the Internet and digital media.

There are more AAPI faces as reporters today, but outside of the big cities on the west and east coasts, there are still few AAPI anchors. Richard Lui on NBC News and MSNBC, AARP’s Caregiving Champion, is one of the few national exceptions.

Louie has thought about sitting in the anchor chair, but notes he is happy as a reporter. “We all have that desire or to explore every opportunity in our careers,” he says. He’s been a substitute anchor in the mornings and weekends. But believes his place is in the field, not the studio.

David Louie interviewing Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang on the floor of the Internet startup’s office in 1985 (Courtesy of David Louie)

His decision has led to a fruitful career doing what he loves. “I have people coming up to me, and say,”‘How do you stay so positive?”‘” he says. “You gotta be flexible, go in to work every day no matter what they throw at you, and do the best job. Change is the only constant.”

Change has driven the news industry — especially change brought on by the rise of the Internet. “Technology has changed, and the platforms we push our content out on has changed. We can’t be rigid.” TV reporters these days have to produce their on-air reports, but also write their web stories and post on social media. It’s a constant stream of new information.

It’s like going to school, he adds: “I like to think I’m doing a term paper every day. I learn as much as I can about a topic and produce a term paper that day.”

Louie was born in Ohio and grew up in a suburb of Cleveland before earning his journalism degree from Northwestern in Chicago. Until he was hired by KGO, he had never visited San Francisco. When he arrived in the Bay Area, his family’s Toisanese language was useful to communicate with older shopkeepers in Chinatown. But today, the main language in the community is Mandarin, he says.

Over the years, he embraced his AAPI identity, joining the Asian American Journalists Association and other AAPI organizations. “In my soul I’m very Chinese, but I’m thoroughly American,” he says. “Being immersed in an Asian American community gave me a better sense of who I was, and learned to respect my culture.”

But he was also wary of becoming known for only Asian community assignments. “Initially I wanted those kinds of stories. But the station recognized — and I also pushed — to cover everything. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as an ‘Asian American reporter.’”

He’s probably best-known today for his role covering the area’s tech scene. He remembers interviewing Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo, early on in the company’s sparsely furnished offices. Still, the story he thinks was the biggest of his career was the 9/11 terror attacks.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta gave David Louie an exclusive interview at the DOT just days after the terror attacks of 9/11. (Courtesy of David Louie)

Louie was in Nashville attending a news industry conference on September 11, 2001. Because air travel was banned by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Louie offered to drive to Washington D.C. to cover the story for KGO. He filed nightly stories from the damaged Pentagon. During one press briefing, he was told by an aide that Secretary Mineta had asked to speak with him — alone. He got an exclusive interview with Mineta, a San Jose native who was a Congressman before he served as Commerce and Transportation Secretary under President Clinton, then asked to stay on as Transportation Secretary under President Bush. Louie considers that a high point in his career.

As he marks his 45th anniversary in television news, Louie is also proud of the merging of two of of his non-journalism passions: photography and food. He’s an avid cook and foodie, someone who appreciates fine — and funky — dining. He’s also an avid photographer, chronicling his travels with quality equipment. The two combine and result in his shots of food at his favorite restaurants.

“It’s part of our heritage, our culture,” he explains with a laugh. “Food has always been at the center of every culture in the world, and it’s at the very heart of Chinese culture.  You greet people with ‘Have you eaten yet’?

“I started taking pictures many many years ago. For me, it helps me remember good times and good experiences. We can’t remember the sensory but we can capture the emotional response.”

As a journalist, Louie has been capturing the emotional responses to local and world events for 45 years. And viewers’ lives have been enriched by the stories he’s served up.

We can hardly wait for his next course.

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