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ERIC Number: EJ937010
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
"Me Inwardly, before I Dared": Japanese Americans Writing-to-Gaman
Shimabukuro, Mira
College English, v73 n6 p648-671 Jul 2011
Although Japanese Americans' concept of "gaman" has been stereotypically associated with silent passivity, several practiced this principle as a form of resistance in personal writings about the U.S. government's incarceration of them during World War II. This article focuses on the relationship between gaman, an inherited cultural rhetoric often presumed to be passive, and the use of literacy to respond to the conditions of oppression. It addresses the ways a cultural rhetoric that values silence can still encourage verbal activity. Though a cultural ethos like gaman, with its emphasis on outward silence, may seem to simply stifle verbalization, a look at more private forms of literacy in the incarceration camps suggests that the technology of writing enabled many "Nikkei" (of Japanese ancestry) both to verbalize a wide range of emotion-thought and practice gaman at the same time. Before the author addresses the specific ways that the activity of writing made this possible, the author begins with a more in-depth discussion of the struggle over meaning that has often surrounded gaman. (Contains 6 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States