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No-No Boy (1957)

by John Okada

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5512031,410 (3.65)13
"No-No Boy has the honor of being among the first of what has become an entire literary canon of Asian American literature,? writes novelist Ruth Ozeki in her new foreword. First published in 1957, No-No Boy was virtually ignored by a public eager to put World War II and the Japanese internment behind them. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel's importance and popularized it as one of literature's most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience. No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life ?no-no boys.' Yamada answered ?no? twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. As Ozeki writes, Ichiro's ?obsessive, tormented? voice subverts Japanese postwar ?model-minority? stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man's ?threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world.' The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.… (more)
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This book was written in1956 and is considered to be the first Japanese American novel. This book is so powerful not just because it is considered an Asian American classic, but it allows the reader to understand the decision many Japanese American men had to make when it came time to serve in the American Armed Forces.
  twalsh212 | Jul 10, 2020 |
Really really good. His breathless internal monologue stuff really worked for me

Lots of heartbreaking stuff but some of the saddest to me revolved around the vision of a particular and very dated optimism about the American Project. I think the q of whether there's anything redeemable about the idea of American liberty is an important political one (cf Aziz Rana's stuff) and it was really affecting to see that playing out in the life of this brutally minoritized American subject
  theodoram | Apr 7, 2020 |
This is another case where the social significance of the work and experiences it portrays are perhaps more significant than it's merit as a work of fiction alone. It's a so-so read which I warmed up to over time, but nothing to get excited about. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Just taught this to high school Juniors. I had to make myself like it a bit more than I otherwise would, but overall it is solid. It's more readable for the historical/social aspects than the literary ones, but worth the read nonetheless. ( )
  CLPowers | Dec 6, 2019 |
Four and a half stars. ( )
  doryfish | Jul 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Okadaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chin, FrankAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inada, Lawson FusaoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ozeki, RuthForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my wife Dorothy
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Two weeks after his twenty-fifth birthday, Ichiro got off a bus at Second and Main in Seattle.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"No-No Boy has the honor of being among the first of what has become an entire literary canon of Asian American literature,? writes novelist Ruth Ozeki in her new foreword. First published in 1957, No-No Boy was virtually ignored by a public eager to put World War II and the Japanese internment behind them. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel's importance and popularized it as one of literature's most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience. No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life ?no-no boys.' Yamada answered ?no? twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. As Ozeki writes, Ichiro's ?obsessive, tormented? voice subverts Japanese postwar ?model-minority? stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man's ?threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world.' The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.

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