Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lies and Decorations

The University of Washington Press has published a new edition of John Okada's NO-NO BOY. Jeffery Chan, Lawson Inada, Shawn Wong and me pooled our money and formed a publishing company, CARP, the Combined Asian Resource Project, to publish NO-NO BOY. We were all self-centered writers mightily impressed with John Okada and his novel.

The University of Washington Press has added a preface authored by Yellow White racists associated with the Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL). My "Afterword" is still attached at the back of the book.

Next month, in New York City, the Pan Asian Repertory Company will open Ken Narasaki's rewrite of Okada's NO-NO BOY with a musical ending for the stage. Car crashes and death are too difficult for the AAstage.

Okada's work convinced four hungry competitive Asian American writers of a writer better than themselves. Okada was better, but his book talked to us. We learned from him, looked into his life in Seattle, and said, "We have to publish this book." And we did.

I like to think that John Okada's NO-NO BOY is special to Yellow readers because four Yellow writers and an artist restored it to print.

My writer's sensibilities are offended by the intrusion of an illiterate editorial authority, over a work the illiterate editorial authority doesn't like.

If you don't like Okada, stay out of his bathroom, bedroom, stay out of his house, get out of his fucking book. Just leave it alone. If you publish it, the people will read. If you publish what you hate on page one, shame on you. Tsk tsk tsk. Sniff. Sniff. I smell the slime of the JACL!

What is the next step beyond Okada's NO-NO BOY? The oppressor JACL and 442nd face to face with their victims the camp people and their offspring. The guilt driven grandchildren of Goering, Himmler, and Hoes and the grandchildren of victims harboring vengeance are seeking each other out and connecting. The Japanese Americans and the White racists don't know the other exists in the same story. "The moving hand writes, and having writ, writes on," as the non-Chinese, Omar Khayaam wrote. Thanks, Omar.


[Download Frank Chin's new article here]

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