The American Japanese

Background: While interviewing and writing the memoirs of several veterans at a local Veterans Administration hospital, the author, Arthur Rathburn kept hearing about an American Japanese veteran whose story needed to be written. Upon meeting Akira Toki, Arthur agreed. This was a story that needed to be known by his readers. The life of Akira Toki, a common man in uncommon times, is a wonderful look at the way America treated her citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II, and how they responded. The interest of Arthur and his research partner, his wife Ursula, was further piqued when they finally convinced Akira’s wife, Mary to also tell her story of life in a California confinement camp for West Coast Americans of Japanese ancestry. Together this wonderful couple revealed a story of America’s good and bad sides during WW II. It is a story of love of country and brave partriotism despite the climate of racial prejudice.

Style: The book is a short biography. Every effort was made to make it as historically accurate as possible. For reader interest dialogue is often used. While it is impossible to authenticate what was actually said in these situations, care was taken to have the dialogue reflect the scene as it actually took place, as verified by Mr. Toki.

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Readers critiques and comments:

“I finished reading The American Japanese and found it very interesting. I don’t recall reading anything about a American Japanese’s experience in battle; have heard about the mainland Japanese living in the Midwest. Toki’s experiences with the Japanese from Hawaii and in Europe (esp. Italy made me wonder if by chance he met my uncle. Thank you so much for this book.”
Personal letter from Paula, an American of Japanese ancestry who was born in Hawaii to a California reader and forwarded to author.

“For students who are interested in World War II and having a different perspective these books (The American Japanese and The American German) are well worth reading.”
Lawrance M. Bernabo (reviewer The Zenth City, Duluth, Minnesota – as seen on

“The Story of Akira Toki was familiar to me – I have known people who were incarcerated in the Japanese internment camps in Arizona. They too had left the camps to farm in the Midwest – and faced similar hardships. Toki’s upbeat attitude, heroism and success in the face of hardship is a great tale and a great testament to his fortitude. If you liked Farewell to Manzanar you will enjoy reading The American Japanese.
Joanna Daneman, Middletown, DE (as seen on

“Arthur Rathburn’s short oral history of Akira Toki is an excellent study of America’s treatment of AJA (a term used during World War II for ‘American’s of Japanese Ancestry’). “This is a story rich in tales of racial tolerance, racial intolerance, and American Patriotism. One gets a fresh and interesting view of life in America for American born and raised persons of Japanese ancestry. It is not just a tale of regret and bitterness, but a good over view of many of the complicated aspects of the subject. When one reads the book there is a definite desire to want to meet this true American, Akira Toki.”
Bud (as seen on

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As writer, editor, and publisher Art has free rein to do what he wants.

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