About Frank and his memoir

Frank T. Inouye grew up an American citizen in Los Angeles in the 1930s, enjoying hiking, tennis, and cowboy movies. He attended Catholic school and was preparing to graduate college in 1942.

He was surprised to learn, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that his Japanese heritage put him and his family and some 100,000 other Japanese Americans under suspicion by the U.S. government. (Frank was a nisei — a second generation Japanese American.)

Those living in West Coast states were sent to relocation centers, or internment camps as they’re also called since they were contained with barbed wire and armed guards. Frank’s family was sent to Heart Mountain, near Powell, Wyoming, where more than 11,000 Japanese Americans were held during World War II. (That’s a photo of the camp above.)

He later earned a Ph.D in American History, taught at Ohio State University, and became the first director of the University of Hawaii-Hilo (where he also taught). Unlike many autobiographical writers, Frank understood the political, economic, social, and historical relevance of events as they unfolded, so his writings are not just about himself; he often takes a broader perspective that seeks to answer “Why?” His memoir is funny, fascinating, and shocking, but always entertaining.

This blog discusses his work and the efforts of me (Brian Butko) and his daughter (Cookie Roberson) to publish his work as a full-length book. We have no agenda other than bringing Frank’s passionate, insightful words to a broader audience.


2 Responses to “About Frank and his memoir”

  1. gerald Says:

    Hello Brian,
    I’m currently writing a book on tourism development in postwar Okinawa and have in my possession a copy of a report (“Requirements for Successful Development of Tourism in the Ryukyus”) that Frank T. Inouye was commissioned to write for USCAR (U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands) in 1962. I was casting about for more biographical info about him (such as birth date, position at UH-Hilo, etc.) when I found your web site (thanks!). Are copies of his memoir available? I’d be interested to see if he recorded anything about his brief trip to Okinawa.

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