In the 1970s, a dearth of books on history, culture, art,
literature, and stories about Asian Americans particularly,
Chinese and Japanese, existed. Response to racism had
virtually silenced Asian America.
My brother was one of many Sansei, who cried out,
“No More!” Not only was he searching for his identity,
but he was also addressing how he/we all fit in American
Society. He wanted to break the “silence.” He wanted us to
be seen and heard by adding depth and diversity as a
counterpoint to the American characterization of Japanese
Americans in movies, theater and arts as flat, shallow,
inscrutable, faceless horde, or pedestaled as a model minority.
He began a decade long journey to publishing a book on Japanese Americans in art and literature with a focus on local artists from the Bay Area and introducing his poetry to a broader audience. Published in 1986, the Hawk’s Well was Jerry’s gift to the San Jose community and nation that was coming of age for a young and exciting new wave of third-generation Japanese Americans and featured the works of Tom Kamafuji, Sharyn Yoshida, Richard and Mark Hamasaki, James Mitsui and Janis Mirikitani along with his poetic offerings under his name and a pseudonym, Zukin Hirasu. Jerry’s work had previously been published in poetry chapbooks out of the University of Washington Press, St. Louis, and Harvard University Press, Boston. His free-verse poetic stylings, is quite colorful indeed and yes, slanted Japanese American.