No-no Boy

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University of Washington Press, 1981 - Biography & Autobiography - 260 pages

" No-No Boy has the honor of being the very first Japanese American novel," writes novelist Ruth Ozeki in her new foreword to John Okada's classic of Asian American literature. First published in 1956, 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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About the author (1981)

Botan (pseud. Supa Sirising) is a native of Bangkok, born of Chinese parents. She has published more than ten novels, most of which reflect women’s and children’s perspectives. Susan Fulop Kepner has been translating Thai literature for more than 30 years, including A Child of the Northeast by Kampoon Boontawee and the anthology A Lioness in Bloom.

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