This is a compelling, fascinating biography that tells the story of Midori Shimoda who was not only a photographer, but a really good photographer. He was pursuing a profession that was about the worst he could have, under the circumstances: his story is explained in a lovely way.
The story is touching, in the sense that I felt for Midori. He was a good guy who was really getting a bad deal: every time he tried to do something, somebody wanted to get in his face about it. Yet, he maintained a good attitude. He had to have that attitude, given the times.
I read a good bit. In fact, I’m always reading a number of books at the same time and never get through somewhere between a third and half of them. I’ll put down books as soon as I get bored, but I didn’t think about putting this to the side until I’d finished it. It’s a first-class book that belongs in bookstores everywhere.
author of Forrest Gump
- A beautiful life story in which beauty and goodness triumph over the ugly and the bad
A beautiful life story in which beauty and goodness triumph over the ugly and the bad
Within the first few pages of this beautifully written story, I fell in love with Midori. Brimming with thoroughly researched details, vivid descriptions of Midori’s travels and experiences, and lively conversations with persons in Midori’s life, this book tells the story of how Midori bravely and gracefully faced and conquered numerous adverse situations during an extraordinary period in time. The reader first learns of Midori’s incredible resolve and resourcefulness early in the book when Midori, at only age nine, traveled alone on a ship from Japan to the United States with only a few provisions for the three-week journey and even fewer instructions on what to expect from his new home country other than hope for a better life. Later, after WWII erupted, Midori came under scrutiny and was targeted for espionage by several people and entities, including the U.S. government, simply because of his having been born in Japan. Throughout the significant trials and tribulations Midori faced during this dark period in U.S. history, Midori maintained his resilience, gratitude, dignity, determination, curiosity for learning, work ethic and optimism. He lived his life with a focus on the good rather than the bad, the beauty rather than the ugliness — perspectives that Midorii’s talent in photography allowed him to capture and share with the world through the lens of his camera.
- Well written and inspiring!
Well written and inspiring!
This is the amazing story of Midori Shimoda who came from Japan to America as a boy and eventually established himself as a New York photographer. His experiences during the war years were shocking! Our country has a history of singling out ethnic groups and treating them shamefully. The story about his drive to reach New York and find success there is truly inspiring!
- A Heartwarming Tale of Courage and Grace
A Heartwarming Tale of Courage and Grace
From crossing the Pacific alone at nine to come to America, to internment during WWII, to photographing Hollywood stars like Grace Kelly, this is the story of an extraordinary man. Beautifully written in a narrative style, I found myself rooting for Midori Shimoda from the first chapter when he was a boy growing up in Japan. The authors do not sermonize about a black mark in our nation’s history, the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Rather, they simply tell Midori’s story. It is inspirational. When faced with unfounded suspicion and outright racism, he showed strength and grace. Astonishingly, he answered each tribulation, each injustice, each heartbreaking setback with grace, fortitude, and forgiveness. Midori Shimoda, though small in stature, provides a great example. His is the quintessential American story. This is a wonderful read.
- A must-read considering the political climate and treatment of immigrants today
A must-read considering the political climate and treatment of immigrants today
Photographic Memories: A Story of Shinjitsu is well researched and beautifully constructed–bringing to life the remarkable life of Midori Shimoda. The story is not only incredibly interesting and well told, but is also a must-read considering the political climate and treatment of immigrants today. It is impossible to not be deeply disturbed by the treatment of Midori and Japanese immigrants during and following World War II. Midori was an honorable man who can inspire us all by his perseverance, despite the endless and senseless obstacles put in his way. His passion, love, and talent for photography makes his life even more exciting to read about, and it certainly should make us rethink who we consider being the great American photographers in US history.
- Couldn’t Put It Down
Couldn’t Put It Down
Risa Shimoda and Bob Fleshner combined history and narrative to flesh out Midori Shimoda’s early, difficult years and make him come to life. The idea that taking beautiful nature photographs could be interpreted as potential hostile actions is so foreign as to be laughable. This young man’s superb qualities, talents and demeanor enabled him to impress even his captors. Throughout his internment and the twists of his encounters with the FBI, he never lost his ambition to be successful New York photographer. His story his profound, gripping and totally admirable. The book is a delight to read. It was a disappointment to see it end.
- Beautifully Written Tribute
Beautifully Written Tribute
Having grown up as a neighbor and best friend of Dori Shimoda, I knew Midori as a gentle man, always smiling, always busy with one amazing project after another. If it wasn’t something garden-related, it was building beautiful closets in their garage, flagstone steps, a perfect basketball court in the backyard that doubled as an above the ground swimming pool base in the Summer. I had absolutely no idea of the trials and tribulations Midori had endured earlier in his life. The chronicle that Risa and Bob created is masterfully written, capturing the essence of what must have been a very frightening and unsettling time in Midori’s life. It is a testimonial to his positivity, his drive and ambition, and his general “goodness” as a human being. His skills as a photographer could be seen weekly in TV Guide, where he received photo credits for the beautiful food photographs at the back of the magazine. I was fortunate enough to also see the wall of personal family photographs in their Dumont, NJ family room. Kudos to Risa and Bob for creating this tribute to Midori.
- An Incredible Journey
An Incredible Journey
How is it possible that a young boy born in Japan, coming to the United States alone at a very young age, somehow overcomes poverty, prejudice, and the shameful U.S. internship policy and becomes a world-renowned photographer? This could be quite a novel but in fact it is a true story. It is an incredible tale of love and perseverance extremely well told. It reaffirmed my faith in power of human nature and is a perfect read for these troubled times.
- Wonderful book – compelling, true story
Wonderful book – compelling, true story
I loved this book. It is such a compelling true story, the characters are easy to fall in love with. It is very well researched, beautifully narrated, and includes fantastic photographs as the main character was a brilliant photographer. I look forward to more books from these authors.
- This is a Must Read
This is a Must Read
I loved this book. From his trip to America as a six or seven year old alone on a large ship (in steerage) with only the food he could carry, to his life in and out of internment camps during WWII, to his rise to success as a photographer, his life story is an inspiration to us all. This story reminds us of why immigrants make our country so great. Once you start this book it is hard to put down. The authors, Risa Shimoda, Midori’s daughter, and Bob Fleshner, capture Midori’s personality and spirit. The authors bring Midori’s story top life with its humor and its challenges. I highly recommend this book as a reminder of why immigration today remains as important to our country’s success as it ever has in the past.
- Focus and grace
Focus and grace
This book tells the story of a gentle soul that stayed true to himself, to his family, and to his country despite how he was treated by those with closed minds. The research is impressive from finding details of his history and recreating his life’s story, with confirmations from those who knew him well enough to do so. The text and dialogue flow easily and you get drawn into the next chapter, one after the other. This story brings us back to a time that we hope to never repeat in our history – and to a person(s) who we hope to always be open to see with open minds and hearts. Thank you for sharing this story and for the accurate details of Midori’s life.