Counterpoint: Perspectives on Asian America (1976)


Editor: Emma Gee
Associate Editor(s): Bruce Iwasaki, Mike Murase, Megumi Dick Osumi, Jesse Quinsaat
Assistant Editor: June Okida Kuramoto

Hardcover & Paperback: Out of Print
ISBN-10: 0934052034
ISBN-13: 978-0934052030

Product Details: 595 pgs, 9 x 11.5 x 1.75 in, with photos

Categories: Activism; Asian American; Asian American Studies; Asian American Movement; Book Review; Class & Social Status; Education; Ethnic Studies; Global/Transnational Connections; History; Immigration and Migration; Internment; Labor, Business & Economy; Law & Politics; Literature; Media Studies; Narrative; Poetry; Race Relations; Sociology; U.S.-Asia Relations; War and Peace Issues



In the late 1960's, Asian Americans, following the example of Afro Americans, began to reassess their past experience in America and to reaffirm their ethnic identity. This anthology includes works which explore their racial and economic conflicts and analyze the impact of international politics on them. From the standpoint of various Asian American groups, each with their own distinctive identity and history, these works examine the diverse responses to the dynamic forces in society. Half of the selections appear in print for the first time. The remainder are expanded, revised, or verbatim reprints. Part I, Critical Perspectives, offers bibliographical essays and book reviews which critique the conventional approaches of past works and suggest new ones for future studies. Part II, Contemporary Issues, covers some of the major present concerns of Asian Americans. Articles are presented on education; communications and mass media; land, labor and capital, and recent immigration. In Part III, Literature, the writings exemplify the literary creativity of Asian American writers whose works communicate a vision rooted in the social realities of Asian America. The two appendices, one on statistical highlights of the 1970 census and the other on bibliographical sources, serve as aids for further study.



The tumultuous events of the sixties and seventies dramatized the existing fissures in our nation, belying the smug self-image of America as a harmonious, democratic, and open society. The struggles of Afro-Americans to achieve equality revealed how racism is still deeply embedded in national attitudes and established institutions. The brutal intervention in Southeast Asian raised disturbing questions about our foreign policy and its relationship to domestic politics permeated by that racism. In the late 1960s, following the example of Afro-Americans, other racial minorities (and even some white ethnic groups) began to reassess their past experience in America and to reaffirm their ethnic identities, which had survived despite overwhelming pressures to obliterate them).


All these events influenced Asian Americans. They too turned to reexamine their own histories, experiencing mixed emotions of anger at past injustices, of pride in their own distinctive ethnic identities and cultures, and of hope in solving present problems. In short, they deepened their understanding of their own past and present political, economic, and social position in American society. Concurrent with and inseparable from this richer understanding was the emergence of Asian American studies in many colleges and universities. A pioneering venture, the scope and direction of Asian American studies have yet to be defined clearly, but certain lines of development can be discerned. The purpose of this anthology is to present works which reflect some of the current trends.


Realizing that no one anthology can be comprehensive, we have selected works which explore racial and economic conflicts and analyze the impact of international politics. These forces of conflict substantially shaped, and continue to shape, the experience of Asian Americans. Although the selections take different approaches, with few exceptions they share a common thread. They view Asian Americans as active participants in the making of history. From the standpoint of various Asian American groups, each with their own distinctive identity and history, these works examine their diverse responses to these dynamic forces within the larger American socio-economic context.

(From the "Preface" by Emma Gee)

Table of Contents



Part I: Critical Perspectives


  • A Buried Past: A Survey of English-language Works on Japanese American History, Yuji Ichioka
  • The Chinese American in Sociology, Lucie Cheng Hirata
  • The Concentration Camp Experience From a Japanese American Perspective: A Bibliographical Essay and Review of Michi Weglyn’s Years of Infamy, Raymond Okamura

Book Reviews

      • Jerry Surh
        • Harry H. L. Kitano. Japanese Americans: The Evolution of a Subculture (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, 1970)
        • William Peterson. Japanese Americans: Oppression and Success (New York, Random House, 1971)
      • Linda P. Shin
        • Gunther Barth. Bitter Strength: A History of the Chinese in the United States, 1850-1870 (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1964).
        • Betty Lee Sung. The Story of the Chinese in America (New York, Collier, 1967).
        • Stanford M. Lyman. Chinese Americans (New York, Random House, 1974).
      • L. Ling-chi Wang
        • Ivan H. Light. Ethnic Enterprise in America: Business and Welfare Among Chinese, Japanese and Blacks (Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1972).
      • Don T. Nakanishi
        • Roger Daniels and Harry H.L. Kitano. American Racism: Exploration of the Nature of Prejudice (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, 1970).

Recent Perspectives

  • Early Issei Socialists and the Japanese Community, Yuji Ichioka
  • A Historical Survey of the Chinese Left in America, H. Mark Lai
  • Minorities and International Politics, Don T. Nakanishi
  • Iva Ikuko Toguri: Victim of an American Fantasy, Raymond Okamura
  • An Exercise on How to Join the Navy and Still Not See the World, Jesse Quinsaat
  • Korean Nationalist Activities in Hawaii and America, 1901-1945, Kingsley K. Lyu
  • The Vietnam Evacuees... What Now?, Le Anh Tu
  • The Story of the Marcos Coercion, From Philippine News
  • KCIA Agents All Out to Get New Korea and the Activities of the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency in the United States, From the New Korea, an editorial; and Woon-Ha Kim, a congressional hearing statement
  • The Kuomintang in Chinatown, Brett de Bary and Victor Nee
  • China Politics and the U.S. Chinese Communities, H. Mark Lai
  • Towards an Understanding of the Internal Colonial Model, John Liu
  • The 1909 and 1920 Strikes of Japanese Sugar Plantation Workers in Hawaii, Alan Moriyama
  • From the Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California, Alexander Saxton
  • From Carlos Bulosan and the Imagination of the Class Struggle, E. San Juan Jr.
  • The 1921 Turlock Incident: Forceful Expulsion of Japanese Laborers, Yuji Ichioka


Part II: Contemporary Issues


  • Introduction: Mike Murase
  • Ethnic Studies and Higher Education for Asian Americans, Mike Murase
  • Asian American Studies in Berkeley High, Linda Wing
  • An Experience in Community Work, Chinatown Education Project
  • Teaching a Course on Asian American Women, May Ying Chen
  • Lau v. Nichols: History of a Struggle for Equal and Quality Education, L. Ling-chi Wang

Communications and Mass Media

  • Introduction: Jesse Quinsaat
  • Ambush at Kamikaze Pass, Tom Engelhardt
  • Farewell to Mananar: A Case of Subliminal Racism, Raymond Okamura
  • Anna May Wong, Judy Chu
  • Kung-Fu Fan Klub, Irvin Paik
  • Media Guerillas, Ron Hirano
  • Going Beyond Vol. 1, No. 1: Asian American Publications
  • Toward Barefoot Journalism, Mike Murase

Land, Labor, and Capital

  • Introduction: Megumi Dick Osumi
  • Redevelopment in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Little Tokyo Anti-Eviction Task Force
  • Forty-four years of Raising Avocados, Hashiji Kakazu
  • Life in a Chinese Laundry: Interview with John Gee, Buck Wong
  • Six in the Morning, Six at Night: Growing Up in a Chinatown Grocery Story – Interview with Frank Eng, 33, Victor G. and Brett de Bary Nee
  • Chinatown Sweatshops, Dean Lan
  • Issei Women, Emma Gee
  • Organizing Pilipino Farmworkers in the 1930s, Carlos Bulosan
  • It Ain’t All Smiles and Sukiyaki, Sandy Maeshiro
  • The Emergence of a New Working Class, Victor G. and Brett de Bary Nee
  • Plantation Struggles in Hawaii, Koji Ariyoshi
  • The AAFEE Story: Asian Americans for Equal Employment, R. Takashi Yanagida

Recent Immigration

  • Introduction: Emma Gee
  • The Social Organization of an Urban Samoan Community, Joan Ablon
  • The Forgotten Asian Americans: The East Indian Community in the United States, Gary R. Hess
  • Filipinos in the United States, H. Brett Melendy
  • Small Business Among Koreans in Los Angeles, Edna Bonacich, Ivan Light, and Charles Choy Wong


Part III: Literature

  • Introduction: Bruce Iwasaki
  • Good Luck, Happiness, and Long Life, Shan Hsu Wong
  • Chronicle, Mei Berssenbrugge
  • The Suspension Bridge, Mei Berssenbrugge
  • History, Mei Berssenbrugge
  • Interview with Toshio Mori, Peter Horikoshi
  • The Chessmen, Toshio Mori
  • A Photograph, Serafin Syquia
  • A Letter, Sam Tagatac
  • From America is in the Heart, Carlos Bulosan
  • Traveled North to the Woods
    • Humboldt to Oregon-Washington
    • Northwestern Cascades, Alfred Robles
  • Carlos Bulosan Pilipino Poet, Alfred Robles
  • Seventeen Syllables, Hisaye Yamamoto
  • Juk, Wing Tek Lum
  • To Li Po, Wing Tek Lum
  • To My Father, Wing Tek Lum
  • Birthday Child/Innercity Queen, Oscar Penaranda
  • From No-No Boy, John Okada
  • The Day the Dancers Came, Bienvenido N. Santos
  • Hospitals Are to Die In, Janice Mirikitani
  • The Only Real Day, Frank Chin
  • Piano Lessons, Luis Syquia
  • From Second City Flat, Momoka Iko
  • The Boatmen on Tonch River, Wakako Yamuachi
  • Lin John, Sui Sin Fah
  • Miss Philippine Islands, Emily Cachapero
  • Geography, Laura Tokunaga
  • Tiger Year, Laura Tokunaga
  • Rooms, Lonny Kaneko
  • Boku NoMichi, Ronald Tanaka
  • Furusato No Fruit, Ronald Tanaka
  • Congratulations, Ronald Tanaka
  • Pumice, and Obsidian, Lawson Fusao Inada
  • Backtalk, Frank Chin


Related Center Press Publications:

Odo, F., Tachiki, A., Wong, B., & Wong, E., (1971). Roots: An Asian American Reader.
Louie, S. & Omatsu, G. (Eds.) (2001). Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment (2001).