Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month with Precious Yamaguchi, Ph.D

To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, we interviewed SOU Associate Professor and Author Precious Yamaguchi, Ph.D, about her work, as well as some of her favorite books by AAPI authors. 


What is your favorite thing about being a professor at SOU?

“I think the students at SOU are so unique, fun, and I love getting to know the students individually and as a class when we start building our learning community together throughout the quarter.”


What was the experience of researching and writing your novel, Experiences of Japanese American Women during and after World War II: Living in Internment Camps and Rebuilding Life Afterwards, like?

“It took me nearly eight years to write this book and I interviewed 16 Japanese American individuals who were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s – all of these individuals had experienced imprisonment in the World War II Japanese American internment camps. I had to be both patient and diligent in writing this book. I had to be patient because I needed each of these individuals to gain my trust in telling their story, so I met with many of these individuals numerous times. I also had to be diligent in my writing because many of them were passing away since some of them were in their 80s and 90s. I wanted them to read and see the finished outcome of their stories included in my book. This book was also personal for me since all of my grandparents were imprisoned in the internment camps when they were teenagers.”


What are some of your favorite books written by or about members of the AAPI community?

“I have a lot of favorite books by members of the AAPI community, my recent favorites are Jackson Bliss’s Counterfactual Love Stories and Other Experiments (Jackson Bliss is a hapa writer, meaning mixed Japanese American) and Jo Koy’s Mixed Plate. I used to work for an Asian American magazine a long time ago and our organization was also an Asian American talent agency and we helped Jo Koy get his start as a comedian. I also enjoy more academic-type AAPI writers such as Radhika Gajjala and her book Digital Diasporas, Margaret Rhee’s Love, Robot, and Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart is so good!”