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Hirahara, Yamato to Speak at Pasadena Central Library

PASADENA — Two women writers who hail from Pasadena will join in conversation to present a special program at the Pasadena Central Library’s Asian Pacific Islander Day, Saturday, May 11, at 11 a.m.

Naomi Hirahara and Sharon Yamato

Titled “Moving Histories: Japanese Americans after the Wartime Incarceration,” the program features author Naomi Hirahara and writer/filmmaker Sharon Yamato talking about their most recent works focusing on stories about the effects of the WWII forced detention. They will also talk about their families’ personal postwar experiences growing up in Pasadena.

Award-winning mystery novelist Hirahara will read excerpts from her historic novel in progress, “Clark & Division,” set in postwar Chicago, as well as share photos of Japanese Americans temporarily settling there immediately after being released from WWII camps.

The author of the popular Mas Arai mystery series, Hirahara has also written several nonfiction books dealing with subjects relevant to the mass incarceration, including her most recent book, “Life After Manzanar.”

Yamato will show her latest documentary, “Moving Walls,” which tells the little-known story of what happened at Wyoming’s Heart Mountain concentration camp when hundreds of WWII barracks were sold for a dollar apiece to veterans-turned-homesteaders. The film has been shown at film festivals throughout the country and was recently awarded “Best Documentary Short” at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.

She will also talk about her accompanying book, “Moving Walls: The Barracks of America’s Concentration Camps.”

Growing up in Pasadena from the age of 3, Yamato moved there with her family from Denver, where they resettled after being held at the Poston camp in Arizona. Hirahara, whose parents spent the war years in Hiroshima, was born in Pasadena and raised in South Pasadena.

The event will be held in the Great Hall & Donald Wright Auditorium of the Central Library, located at 285 E. Walnut St. in Pasadena. The program is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Department.

Funded by the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program for the year 2014-2015, Yamato’s book and film were produced under the fiscal sponsorship of Visual Communications, Inc.

More information about this event can be found online at or by contacting Yamato at

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