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Kaya Press is thrilled to announce the publication of Hapa Japan: History (Volume 1) and Hapa Japan: Identities & Representation (Volume 2), edited by Duncan Ryūken Williams, founder of the Hapa Japan Database Project and Associate Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California.

Hapa Japan: History (Volume 1) is the first substantial collection of essays to survey the history of global mixed-race identities of persons of Japanese descent. This groundbreaking work unsettles binary and simplistic notions of race by making visible the complex lives of individuals often written out of history.

Bringing together studies of the representations of the Hapa Japanese experience in culture, Hapa Japan: Identities & Representations (Volume 2) tackles everything from Japanese and American films like Kiku and Isamu to hybrid graphic novels featuring mixed-race characters. This anthology is the first publication to attempt to map this wide range of Hapa representations in film, art and society.

The Hapa Japan books made their debut in February at the Hapa Japan Festival in Los Angeles, a five-day “celebration of mixed-race and mixed-roots Japanese people and culture,” which was held in conjunction with the Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) Conference at the University of Southern California.

The festival received a glowing write-up in The New York Timesin which editorial writer Lawrence Downes (who grew up Okinawan-Irish in Hawaii) reflects on the complexity and fluidity of Hapa identity:

“…in attending my first hapafest, wandering among people with whom I had nothing, and everything, in common, I got a jolt of a phenomenon that Dr. Uehara Carter writes about: a sense of what she calls the flux of being hapa, the ability to hack the system, to rewrite the rules of the game of identity and belonging. That sense that you are not bound to a static identity someone else chooses for you.”

Downes describes Hapa-ness as “a journey that can unfold in a million different ways,” and the Hapa Japan books explore this complicated, remarkable, and sometimes tenuous journey with unprecedented thoroughness. Ruth Ozeki calls the volumes “essential reading for all citizens of our transcultural, transnational, boundless, borderless, beautifully mixed-up world.”

We couldn’t be more proud and excited to publish these groundbreaking anthologies, and we can’t wait for you to read them. Order Hapa Japan: History (Volume 1) and Hapa Japan: Identities & Representations (Volume 2) today!

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“The most consistent intelligent wide-ranging committed press I know – Kaya is an example of how to turn ‘small’ books into literary arrows that shoot straight and true into the heart of our culture and (of course) ourselves.”

— Junot Díaz