Roots: An Asian American Reader (1971)

Roots: An Asian American Reader

Editor(s): Amy Tachiki, Eddie Wong, Franklin Odo, and Buck Wong

Paperback:Out of Print.
ISBN-10: 0-934052-06-9
ISBN-13: 978-0934052061

Product Details:
345 pp., 8.5 x 11 x .75 in, Illustrated, with photos.

Categories: Activism; Asian American; Asian American Movement; Asian American Studies; Chinese; Civil Rights; Ethnic Studies; Filipino; History; Immigration and Migration; Japanese; Korean; Myths and Stereotypes; Narratives; Poetry; War and Peace Issues


Roots: An Asian American Reader was the first of over 200 books that the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press has produced in the past 35 years. Intended for college classroom use, Roots was the standard textbook for Asian American Studies courses throughout the nation for many years, and went through twelve printings, and sold over 50,000 copies.

A mix of essays, poems, and scholarly and political pieces, it was also the first published anthology focused on Asian Americans.


"As the title indicates, this volume was written and edited with the intent of going to the "roots" of the issues facing Asians in America. It may, therefore, strike the reader as "radical" - a term which derives from the Latin radix, meaning, appropriately enough, roots. Fair enough. The selections were chosen to encourage readers to consider and compare the experiences of Asian Americans, individually and collectively, within the context of the human condition. Our work is designed to meet the particular needs of Asian Americans. At this point in time, the lack of appropriate materials in readily accessible form is one of the greatest immediate problems. Asian Americans who have tried to serve their communities as social workers, organizers, lawyers, businessmen, workers, housewives and students have long expressed the need for a convenient anthology focusing on the lives of our people. Equally important is the increasing number of people who have sought a convenient book with which to begin their reading on this neglected subject.

Several points need to be made about this work. It contains a variety of materials written from a multitude of perspectives. There are scholarly pieces which rely on traditional, academic sources for information and present a mixed sociological and historical picture of Asian Americans. There is, however, equal emphasis on the contemporary expression of the Asian American condition by the people themselves. ROOTS is, therefore, not only a handy repository of secondary writings on the subject but a documentary collection from our time.

These are critical times for Asian Americans and it is imperative that their voices be heard in all their anger, anguish, resolve and inspiration. Many selections have not been edited at all; others only to avoid undue repetition. We have felt it important to preserve something of the person who wrote the piece - thus insisting that the reader make a positive effort to understand the author’s intent and examine it critically. The wide variety of styles and viewpoints have helped create a work which, we hope, suggests the riches awaiting those who pursue an interest in the experiences of Asian Americans." (from the Preface)

Table of Contents

Preface by Franklin Odo

  • Introduction, Amy Tachiki
  • Success Story of One Minority Group in America, U.S. News and World Report
  • The Emergence of Yellow Power in America, Amy Uyematsu
  • The Intolerance of Success, Daniel Okimoto
  • An Interview S.I. Hayakawa, Editorial Board
  • The Nature of G.I. Racism, Norman Nakamura
  • G.I.’s and Asian Women, Evelyn Yoshimura
  • That Oriental Feeling, Irvin Paik
  • Selective Acculturation and the Dating Process: the Patterning of Chinese – Caucasian Interracial

  • Dating, Melford Weiss
  • White Male Qualities
  • ‘I hate my wife for her flat yellow face,’ Ron Tanaka
  • Generation and Character: the Case of the Japanese Americans, Stanford Lyman
  • Chinese – American Personality and Mental Health, Stanley Sue and Derald W. Sue
  • An Interview with Harry Kitano, Editorial Board
  • Response and Change for the Asian in America: a Survey of Asian American Literature, Bruce Iwasaki
  • Roots, Ron Tanaka
  • A Brief Biographical Sketch of a Newly Found Asian Male, Ron Low
  • From a lotus blossom cunt, Tomi Tanaka
  • Am Curious (Yellow?), Violet Rabaya
  • Revolution point zero: 1967 (or whenever), Mary Uyematsu
  • Autobiography of a Sansei Female
  • Rapping with One Million Carabaos in the Dark, Al Robles
  • The trouble with losing face is, you become invisible Marie Chung
  • Stormy Weather, Shin’ya Ono
  • Asian Brother, Asian Sister, Lawson Inada


  • Introduction, Buck Wong
  • Causes of Chinese Emigration, Pyau Ling
  • One Hundred Years of Japanese Labor in the USA, Karl Yoneda
  • Strangers in the City; the Chinese in the Urban Frontier, Stanford Lyman
  • Filipino Immigration: the Creation of a New Social Problem, Violet Rabaya
  • Koreans in America, 1903 - 1945, Linda Shin
  • The Failure of Democracy in a Time of Crisis, Isao Fujimoto
  • The Cherishing of Liberty: the American Nisei, Bill Hosokawa
  • Book Review of Nisei: The Quiet Americans, Yuji Ichioka
  • The U.S. in Asia and Asians in the U.S., Franklin Odo with Mary Uyematsu, Ken Hanada, Peggy Li, Marie Chung


  • Introduction, Eddie Wong
  • AAPA Perspectives
  • Understanding AAPA
  • An Interview with Pat Sumi, Editorial Board
  • Concept of Asian American Studies
  • Need for Awareness: an Essay on Chinatown San Francisco, Buck Wong
  • Asian Community Center
  • An Interview with L. Ling-Chi Wang, Editorial Board
  • New York Chinatown Today: Community in Crisis, Rocky Chin
  • I Wor Kuen: twelve-point program
  • Asian Women as Leaders
  • The Asian American Experience in Sacramento River Delta, Ken Suyama
  • Sour Grapes: Symbol of Oppression, Phillip Vera Cruz
  • An Interview with Phillip Vera Cruz, Editorial Board
  • International Hotel
  • Filipinos: a Fast Growing U.S. Minority Philippines Revolution, KALAYAAN Editorial Collective
  • Save Kalama Valley Hawaii
  • This Land is Mine
  • Raising the Fist
  • Tourism: Decline of Aloha, Roy Tsumoto
  • Hawaiian Homestead Struggle, Laura Alancastre and Gloria Burbage
  • Little Tokyo: Searching the Psat and Analyzing the Future, Jim H. Matsuoka
  • An Interview with Warren Furutani, Editorial Board
  • J.U.S.T. Platform
  • List of Movement Journals

Related Center Press Publications:

Amerasia Journal 15:1: Salute to the 60s and 70s: Legacy of the San Francisco State Strike (1989).
Louie, Steve & Omatsu, Glenn (Eds.) (2001). Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment.