Asahina, Robert 1950- (Robert James Asahina)

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Asahina, Robert 1950- (Robert James Asahina)

PERSONAL:

Born 1950, in Toledo, OH; son of Soichi and Katherine Asahina. Education: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earned bachelor's degree, 1972; New York University, A.M., 1974.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. Office—New York Sun, 105 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Editor and publishing company executive. Public Interest, New York, NY, managing editor, 1975-78; George, New York, NY, administrative editor, 1978-79; New York Times, New York, NY, editor, 1979-82; Harper's Magazine, New York, NY, arts editor, 1982-83; Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, senior editor, 1983-96, Summit Books, editorial director, 1990-92; Golden Books Family Entertainment, New York, NY, president and publisher of the adult publishing group, 1996-98; Broadway Books, New York, NY, editor-in-chief, 1999-2002; New York Sun, New York, NY, deputy managing editor and staff reporter. Visiting scholar at New York University, 2002; chairman of the Tokunaga Dance Company, 1985.

WRITINGS:

Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad: The Story of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, Gotham (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to journals and periodicals, including New Leader, American Spectator, Hudson Review, Art International, Yale Theater, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and the Wall Street Journal.

SIDELIGHTS:

Robert Asahina is a publishing executive with a long and varied career history. After graduating from New York University with a master's degree, Asahina remained in New York and got his start as the managing editor at the Public Interest. From there he moved around to various editorial positions with George, the New York Times, and Harper's Magazine, before moving into publishing houses, including Simon & Schuster, Golden Books Family Entertainment, and Broadway Books. In addition to contributing to a number of periodicals, Asahina is a visiting scholar at New York University.

Despite the hectic pace of the publishing industry, Asahina made time to write his first book, Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad: The Story of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II. This story chronicles the lives of two volunteer Japanese American military units who fought in Europe during World War II while their relatives back in the United States were being rounded up unconstitutionally on the basis of a loosely worded executive order. Asahina discusses the soldiers' lives, those of the interned American citizens of Japanese descent, and of the connections with racial profiling and national security in a time of war.

Roland Green, writing in Booklist, called the historical account "a valuable volume of new material on Japanese Americans in WWII." In the New York Times Book Review, Jonathan Mahler called it "timely, thoughtful, and meticulously researched." Concluding his article in the Asian Review of Books, Brett F. Woods stated: "Just Americans emerges as an ambitious piece of scholarship that reflects no small measure of respect and compassion for the Japanese Americans who endured one of the more controversial episodes in American social history."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Army Times, July 3, 2006, Don DeNevi, review of Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad: The Story of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II.

Asian Review of Books, March 9, 2006, Brett F. Woods, review of Just Americans.

Biography, summer, 2006, Jonathan Mahler and Richard Overy, review of Just Americans, p. 554.

Booklist, May 1, 2006, Roland Green, review of Just Americans, p. 65.

Honolulu Weekly, June 7, 2006, Chris Haire, review of Just Americans.

International Examiner (Seattle, WA), March, 2007, Ken Mochizuki, author interview.

New York Sun, May 15, 2006, Katharine Herrup, "Japanese Americans: Victims to Heroes."

New York Times, October 4, 1990, "Editorial Director for Summit Books."

New York Times Book Review, June 18, 2006, Jonathan Mahler, review of Just Americans, p. 17.

Publishers Weekly, July 29, 1996, Judy Quinn, "Asahina's First Golden List Stresses Family," p. 29; April 21, 1997, Judy Quinn, "Bookbytes," p. 20.

ONLINE

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Web site,http://www.aei.org/ (March 20, 2007), author profile.

Just Americans Web site,http://www.justamericans.net/ (March 20, 2007), author profile.