Annal: 2000 Kiriyama Prize for Nonfiction

Results of the Kiriyama Prize in the year 2000.

Book:Things That Must Not Be Forgotten

Things That Must Not Be Forgotten: A Childhood in Wartime China

Michael David Kwan

To grow up in Beijing in the 1930s was to become engulfed in the colossal struggle between ideologies, and between nations, that shaped modern China.

Born into privilege, separated from the filthy chaos of the city by servants and limousines and the stone walls of the Legation Quarter, Michael David Kwan felt his pampered life disintegrate as the Japanese overran China in 1938 and the world moved closer to war. Gradually, inexorably, the family was drawn into the maelstrom.

Kwan’s father, a wealthy railway administrator, became active in the resistance against the Japanese. Chiang Kai-Shek’s nationalists and Mao Tse Tung’s emerging communists were united against the invaders, but Kwan’s father knew it wouldn’t always be so. He had to protect his interests, his family, and his future any way he could. …[more]

Book:Asian American Dreams

Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People

Helen Zia

This groundbreaking book is about the transformation of Asian Americans from a few small, disconnected, and largely invisible ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society. It explores the junctures that shocked Asian Americans into motion and shaped a new consciousness, including the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, by two white autoworkers who believed he was Japanese; the apartheid-like working conditions of Filipinos in the Alaska salmon canneries; the boycott of Korean American greengrocers in Brooklyn; the L.A. riots; and the casting of non-Asians in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. The book also examines the rampant stereotyping of Asian Americans, which has an impact on key issues concerning all Americans, from affirmative action and campaign finance to popular culture and national security.

Helen Zia, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, was born in 1952, when there were only 150,000 Chinese Americans in the entire country, and she writes as a personal witness to the dramatic changes involving Asian Americans.

Book:Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Herbert P. Bix

In this groundbreaking biography of the Japanese emperor Hirohito, Herbert P. Bix offers the first complete, unvarnished look at the enigmatic leader whose sixty-three-year reign ushered Japan into the modern world. Never before has the full life of this controversial figure been revealed with such clarity and vividness. Bix shows what it was like to be trained from birth for a lone position at the apex of the nation’s political hierarchy and as a revered symbol of divine status. Influenced by an unusual combination of the Japanese imperial tradition and a modern scientific worldview, the young emperor gradually evolves into his preeminent role, aligning himself with the growing ultranationalist movement, perpetuating a cult of religious emperor worship, resisting attempts to curb his power, and all the while burnishing his image as a reluctant, passive monarch. Here we see Hirohito as he truly was: a man of strong will and real authority. …[more]

Book:Ladder to the Clouds

Ladder to the Clouds: Intrigue and Tradition in Chinese Rank

Beverley Jackson, David Hugus

For thirteen centuries grueling examinations were administrated to male recruits of all ages for service to the emperor of China. For the fortunate few who passed, there were nine possible civil and military ranks to be earned. Each rank was identified by a finely embroidered silk square that was worn on the front and back of a surcoat. Ladder To the Clouds is the first comprehensive book on this subject and is divided into two distinct parts:

Part 1 is a fascinating exploration of Chinese customs and symbols, many of which are still practiced to this day.

Part 2 comprises the most thorough analysis of Mandarin rank badges in print, with detailed descriptions, photos, and illustrations for accurate identification.

Book:When Broken Glass Floats

When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge

Chanrithy Him

Chanrithy Him vividly recounts her trek through the hell of the “killing fields.” She gives us a child’s-eye view of a Cambodia where rudimentary labor camps for both adults and children are the norm and modern technology no longer exists. Death becomes a companion in the camps, along with illness. Yet through the terror, the members of Chanrithy’s family remain loyal to one another, and she and her siblings who survive will find redeemed lives in America.

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