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From Thorns to Blossoms: A Japanese American Family in War and Peace with author Mitzi Asai Loftus

April 7 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Sunday April 7th  4 to 5 pm

“Mitsuko “Mitzi” Asai was not yet ten years old in the spring of 1942 when President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 sent 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry–about two-thirds of them US citizens–from their homes on the West Coast to inland prison camps. They included Mitzi and most of her family, who operated a fruit orchard in Hood River, Oregon. The Asais spent much of World War II in the camps while two of the older sons served in the Pacific in the US Army. Three years later, when the camps began to close, the family returned to Hood River to find an altered community. Shop owners refused to serve neighbors they had known for decades; racism and hostility were open and largely unchecked. Humiliation and shame drove teenaged Mitzi to reject her Japanese heritage, including her birth name. More than a decade later, her life took another turn when a Fulbright grant sent her to teach in Japan, where she reconnected with her roots. In From Thorns to Blossoms, Mitzi recounts her rich and varied life, from a childhood surrounded by barbed wire and hatred to a successful career as a high school English teacher and college instructor in English as a Second Language. Today, Asai descendants continue to tend the Hood River farm while the town confronts its shameful history.  It’s the remarkable story of a transformation from thorns into blossoms, pain into healing.

Born on a fruit orchard in Hood River, Oregon, in 1932, Mitzi Asai Loftus spent three years of her childhood in government incarceration camps in California and Wyoming. For more than seventy years, she has given public talks about her family’s experience to audiences of all ages. Having lived much of her adult life in Eugene and Coos Bay, she now resides in Ashland.


April 7
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Bloomsbury Books Ashland
290 East Main Street
Ashland, OR 97520 United States
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