Synopses & Reviews
John Okada was born in Seattle, Washington in 1923. He attended the University of Washington and Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, wrote one novel and was dead of a heart attack at the age of 47. John Okada died in obscurity believing that Asian America had rejected his work.
"Asian American readers will appreciate the sensitivity and integrity with which the late John Okada wrote about his own group. He heralded the beginning of an authentic Japanese American literature."--Gordon Hirabayashi, Pacific Affairs
"Nisei will recognize the authenticity of the idioms Okada's characters use, as well as his descriptions of the familiar Issei and Nisei mannerisms that make them come alive." --Bill Hosokawa, Pacific Citizen
"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.