Dream of the Water Children


Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific
by Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd
Edited by Karen Chau
Foreword by Velina Hasu Houston
Introduction by Gerald Horne
DEC. 2017 | ISBN: 978-1-940939-29-2 (eBook)
LCCN: 2014930046



SKU: DWC022017 Categories: , , , , , Tags: , , , , , , , Product ID: 9460


Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s debut, DREAM OF THE WATER CHILDREN, MEMORY AND MOURNING IN THE BLACK PACIFIC, is a lyrical and compelling memoir about a son of an African American father and a Japanese mother who has spent a lifetime being looked upon with curiosity and suspicion by both sides of his ancestry and the rest of society. Cloyd begins his story in present-day San Francisco, reflecting back on a war-torn identity from Japan, U.S. military bases, and migration to the United States, uncovering links to hidden histories.DREAM OF THE WATER CHILDREN tells two main stories: Cloyd’s mother and his own. It was not until the author began writing his memoir that his mother finally addressed her experiences with racism and sexism in Occupied Japan. This helped Cloyd make better sense of, and reckon with, his dislocated inheritances. Tautly written in spare, clear poetic prose, Dream of the Water Children delivers a compelling and surprising account of racial and gender interactions. It tackles larger social histories, helping to dispel some of the great narrative myths of race and culture embedded in various identities of the Pacific and its diaspora. Cover Design: Kenji C. Liu.  Website: www.dreamwaterchild.com; Blog: www.dreamwaterchild.net.

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Author Bio


FREDRICK D. KAKINAMI CLOYD is a scholar, writer and artist who focuses on uncovering Postwar Pacific racializations that maintain global social oppression and violence in both the U.S. and abroad. Born in Japan shortly after U.S. occupation to a mother who is a from an elite Japanese nationalist family, and an African-American/Cherokee father who served in the U.S. military, Cloyd is publishing his first book, the memoir, DREAM OF THE WATER CHILDREN: MEMORY AND MOURNING IN THE BLACK PACIFIC. He has published in Kartika Review, Oakland Word, The Pacific Reader, and Nikkei Heritage (Japanese Historical Society Journal), and has been featured on various websites such as Discover Nikkei and Black Tokyo. He has been interviewed in numerous articles, radio and television, we well as presenting at academic conferences and artists’ events. He has worked as an independent language instructor with some of the top language schools in the U.S., and as a diversity consultant and certified intercultural communication instructor since 1988. Cloyd received his Masters in post-colonial cultural anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he currently resides. He commits most of his time and energy on his historical project, “Black Pacific Memory.” www.dreamwaterchildren.com.


KAREN CHAU was an editor at phati’tude Literary Magazine and 2Leaf Press, and has published in Racialicious. She is originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and received her BA from Brandeis University, and is working on her MA at New York Univerity.


VELINA HASU HOUSTON is the Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Recognition, Director of Dramatic Writing, Resident Playwright and a Professor at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Houston is also a librettist (opera), bookwriter/lyricist (musical theatre), essayist, poet, screenwriter and novelist. Houston has written journalistically for the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, The Rafu Shimpo, Pacific Citizen and the Kansas City Star; and for film and television with Columbia Pictures, PBS, and several independent producers. She co-produced the documentary Desert Dreamers (narration by Peter Fonda) and served as Multicultural Consultant for Disney for Hayao Miyazaki’s film Kiki’s Delivery Service. www.velinahasuhouston.com.


GERALD HORNE holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. Horne received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and his B.A. from Princeton University.Horne is the author of more than thirty books and one hundred scholarly articles and reviews. His research has addressed issues of racism in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. He has also written extensively about the film industry. His current research focuses on a variety of topics such as the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the U.S.; a biography of Paul Robeson; an analysis of Pro-Tokyo Negroes before 1945; the internationalism of the Black Press; and African-Americans and Aviation before Sputnik.


KENJI C. LIU is a 1.5-generation immigrant from New Jersey, now in Southern California. His writing and art arises from his work as an activist, educator, artist, and cultural worker. A Pushcart Prize nominee and first runner-up finalist for the Poets & Writers 2013 California Writers Exchange Award, his writing is forthcoming or published in Barrow Street Journal, CURA, The Baltimore Review, RHINO Poetry, Generations, Eye to the Telescope, Ozone Park Journal, Kweli Journal, Doveglion Press, Best American Poetry‘s blog, Lantern Review, and others. His poetry chapbook You Left Without Your Shoes was nominated for a 2009 California Book Award. A three-time VONA alum and recipient of residencies at Djerassi and Blue Mountain Center, he is completing a full-length poetry book. He is the poetry editor emeritus of Kartika Review. www.kenjiliu.com.

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What People Are Saying

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd reflects on childhood narratives of growing up in Japan with his single mother as he reveals the stark realities of prejudice his brown body engenders in his present day home of San Francisco and raises larger questions about the geopolitical forces that produced his very existence.

—Laura Kina
artist and associate professor at DePaul University
co-author of War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art (2013)

Fredrick Cloyd reaches deep into violent pasts, encounters, and experiences and digs up memories of the American occupation of Japan, even when doing so hurts . . .A chronicler of his own and mother’s life and times, Cloyd sets in motion the pulsating pursuit of unbelonging; to take this Afro-Amerasian journey demands the refusal of normative thinking and historicity. The reader must be prepared to unlearn.

—Yuichiro Onishi, Ph.D
Professor of Asian-American Studies and African-American Studies at University of Minnesota

Like a swimmer who has made it through the break, Fredrick Cloyd looks back at the far shore of his war-touched past with fresh eyes. Eloquent, passionate and continually surprising, his meditation on history and the individual provokes and tantalizes the reader through a shared process of remembering. This is an ocean of a book.

—Walter Hamilton
author of Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story (2013)

In Dream of the Water Children, Cloyd illuminates not only the devastating effects of war between nations but also the pain of internal violence perpetrated within communities, societies, racial groups, and families.

—Wendy Cheng
Assistant Professor, Asian Pacific American Studies at Arizona State University

Can be read as a ghost story, a meditation on how to disassemble the heartbreak machines; a catalog of copious tears and small comforts. This is a challenging example of personal bravery and filial love. It puts the ‘more’ in memory.

—Leonard Rifas, Ph.D
Communications, University of Washington

Dream of the Water Children demands that its reader rigorously consider the constructed nature of memory, identities, and historical narrative. And it is also an enormously kind and passionate chronicle of a son’s long journey with his mother.

—Patricia Mushim Ikeda
Buddhist teacher and activist

This book will shift readers’ perceptions and assumptions and may change many lives. Above all, Cloyd is a master story-teller who honors and respects memory.

—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Indigenous Rights activist, historian and writer

Dream of the Water Children is a meditation on the condition of a Black Japanese diaspora born of war and U.S. imperialism as much as it is a personal story of love, loss and spiritual redemption.

—Grace M. Cho
author of Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy and the Forgotten War (2008)


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