John Okada

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John Okada
Born (1923-09-23)September 23, 1923
Died February 20, 1971(1971-02-20) (aged 47)
Nationality American
Notable works No-No Boy

John Okada (September 23, 1923 — February 20, 1971) was a Japanese American writer. Born in Seattle, Washington, he was a student at the University of Washington when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Okada and his family were interned at Minidoka in 1942. He was released from internment to enlist in the Army. He served as a Japanese translator in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), overflying Japanese forces in the Pacific and translating intercepted Japanese communications.[1] He earned two bachelor's degrees from the University of Washington and a master's degree from Columbia University. In 1957, Okada completed the manuscript for the novel No-No Boy.[2] Okada is interred at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park.

Literary Output[edit]

His only finished and published novel, No-No Boy, deals with the aftermath of the Japanese American internment during World War II and how this event divided the Japanese American population after the war.[3]

In his introduction to the novel, Lawson Fusao Inada writes of meeting Okada's wife, Dorothy, in La Grande, Oregon 1976:

Dorothy is a truly wonderful person. It hurt to have her tell us that "John would have liked you." It hurt to have her tell us that "you two are the first ones who ever came to see him about his work." It hurt to have her tell us that she recently burned his "other novel about the Issei, which we both researched and which was almost finished." It hurt to have her tell us that "the people I tried to contact about it never answered so when I moved I burned it, because I have him in my heart." [...] You could say John was "ahead of his time," that he was born too early and died too young.

The Asian American ethnic theme dorm at Stanford University is named Okada in John Okada's honor.[4]

See also[edit]



Critical studies[edit]

(from the MLA database, March 2008)

  1. A Lacanian Reading of No-No Boy and Obasan: Traumatic Thing and Transformation into Subjects of Jouissance By: Chen, Fu-Jen; Comparatist: Journal of the Southern Comparative Literature Association, 2007 May; 31: 105-29. (journal article)
  2. Psychology and Asian American Literature: Application of the Life-Story Model of Identity to No-No Boy By: Cheung, Floyd; CR: The New Centennial Review, 2006 Fall; 6 (2): 191-214. (journal article)
  3. A Passion for the Impossible: Richard Rorty, John Okada, and James Baldwin By: Bush, Harold K., Jr.. pp. 171–86 IN: Griesinger, Emily (ed. and introd.); Eaton, Mark (ed.); The Gift of Story: Narrating Hope in a Postmodern World. Waco, TX: Baylor UP; 2006. xii, 391 pp. (book article)
  4. Once More, with Feeling: Cold War Masculinity and the Sentiment of Patriotism in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Kim, Daniel Y.; Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, 2005 Winter; 47 (1): 65-83. (journal article)
  5. John Okada By: Pulliam, June. pp. 260–64 IN: Madsen, Deborah L. (ed. and introd.); Asian American Writers. Detroit, MI: Gale; 2005. xxiv, 460 pp. (book article)
  6. Two Negations: The Fear of Being Excluded and the Logic of Self-Esteem By: Sakai, Naoki. pp. 159–92 IN: Calichman, Richard F. (ed. and introd.); Contemporary Japanese Thought. New York, NY: Columbia UP; 2005. viii, 309 pp. (book article)
  7. Wounded Bodies and the Cold War: Freedom, Materialism, and Revolution in Asian American Literature, 1946-1957 By: Nguyen, Viet Thanh. pp. 158–82 IN: Lawrence, Keith (ed.); Cheung, Floyd (ed.); Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP; 2005. xii, 308 pp. (book article)
  8. Suffering Male Bodies: Representations of Dissent and Displacement in the Internment-Themed Narratives of John Okada and Toshio Mori By: Arakawa, Suzanne. pp. 183–206 IN: Lawrence, Keith (ed.); Cheung, Floyd (ed.); Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP; 2005. xii, 308 pp. (book article)
  9. 'A Prisoner of Forever': Cognitive Distortions and Depressions in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Storhoff, Gary; Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, 2004 Fall; 6 (1): 1-20. (journal article)
  10. Two Negations: Fear of Being Excluded and the Logic of Self-Esteem By: Sakai, Naoki; Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 2004 Summer; 37 (3): 229-57. (journal article)
  11. English as a Postcolonial Tool By: Eoyang, Eugene Chen; English Today: The International Review of the English Language, 2003 Oct; 19 (4 [76]): 23-29. (journal article)
  12. The Mother That Won't Reflect Back: Situating Psychoanalysis and the Japanese Mother in No-No Boy By: Gribben, Bryn; MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, 2003 Summer; 28 (2): 31-46. (journal article)
  13. Sticky Rice Balls or Lemon Pie: Enjoyment and Ethnic Identities in No-No Boy and Obasan By: Xu, Wenying; Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory, 2002 Jan-Mar; 13 (1): 51-68. (journal article)
  14. Not Waving but Drowning: Creativity and Identity in Diaspora Writing By: Lim, Shirley; Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, 2001 Spring; 31 (1): 31-47. (journal article)
  15. No-No Boy by John Okada By: Ling, Jinqi. pp. 140–50 IN: Wong, Sau-ling Cynthia (ed. and introd.); Sumida, Stephen H. (ed. and introd.); A Resource Guide to Asian American Literature. New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America; 2001. vi, 345 pp. (book article)
  16. Resilient ImagiNations: No-No Boy, Obasan and the Limits of Minority Discourse By: Amoko, Apollo O.; Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, 2000 Sept; 33 (3): 35-55. (journal article)
  17. John Okada (1923–1971) By: Chen, Fu-jen. pp. 281–88 IN: Nelson, Emmanuel S. (ed. and preface); Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood; 2000. xi, 422 pp. (book article)
  18. Shakespeare, Okada, Kingston: The First Generation By: Kehler, Dorothea; Comparatist: Journal of the Southern Comparative Literature Association, 1998 May; 22: 110-22. (journal article)
  19. An Issei Woman's Suffering, Silence, and Suicide in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Usui, Masami; Chu-Shikoku Studies in American Literature, 1997 June; 33: 43-61. (journal article)
  20. 'Double Consciousness,' Sociological Imagination, and the Asian American Experience By: Wang, Qun; Race, Gender & Class: Asian American Voices, 1997; 4 (3): 88-94. (journal article)
  21. 'You Had to Be One or the Other': Oppositions and Reconciliation in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Yogi, Stan; MELUS, 1996 Summer; 21 (2): 63-77. (journal article)
  22. Race, Power, and Cultural Politics in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Ling, Jinqi; American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography, 1995 June; 67 (2): 359-81. (journal article)
  23. To Belong or Not to Belong: The Liminality of John Okada's No-No Boy By: Yeh, William; Amerasia Journal, 1993; 19 (1): 121-33. (journal article)
  24. The Collapse of Difference: Dysfunctional and Inverted Celebrations in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Yogi, Stan; Revue Francaise d'Etudes Americaines, 1992 Aug; 53: 233-44. (journal article)
  25. Momotaro's Exile: John Okada's No-No Boy By: Sato, Gayle K. Fujita. pp. 239–58 IN: Lim, Shirley Geok-lin (ed. & introd.); Ling, Amy (ed. & introd.); Kim, Elaine H. (fwd.); Reading the Literatures of Asian America. Philadelphia: Temple UP; 1992. xvii, 376 pp. (book article)
  26. Discourse and Dislocation: Rhetorical Strategies of Asian-American Exclusion and Confinement By: Palumbo-Liu, David; Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory, 1990 July; 2 (1): 1-7. (journal article)
  27. No-No Boy de John Okada (1957): Les Japonais Nisei après la deuxième guerre mondiale et les affres de l'américanisation By: Rigal-Cellard, Bernadette. pp. 89–104 IN: Séminaires 1985. Talence: Centre de Recherches sur l'Amér. Anglophone, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine; 1986. 153 pp. (book article)
  28. Of Place and Displacement: The Range of Japanese-American Literature By: Inada, Lawson Fusao. pp. 254–265 IN: Baker, Houston A., Jr. (ed. & pref.); Ong, Walter J. (introd.); Three American Literatures: Essays in Chicano, Native American, and Asian-American Literature for Teachers of American Literature. New York: Modern Language Assn. of America; 1982. 265 pp. (book article)
  29. After Imprisonment: Ichiro's Search for Redemption in No-No Boy By: McDonald, Dorothy Ritsuko; MELUS, 1979 Fall; 6 (3): 19-26. (journal article)
  30. The Vision of America in John Okada's No-No Boy By: Inada, Lawson Fusao; Proceedings of the Comparative Literature Symposium, 1978; 9: 275-87. (journal article)
  31. No-No Boy By: Inada, Lawson Fusao. Seattle: Combined Asian-Amer. Resources Project (U of Washington P); 1978. 276 pp. (book)