Jeanette S. Arakawa

Jeanette S. Arakawa was born in San Francisco, California to Japanese immigrants. Between 1942 and 1945, during World War II, she was part of a diaspora that took her to Stockton, California, Rohwer, Arkansas, and Denver, Colorado.

She returned to San Francisco in 1946. Jeanette and her husband, Kiyoto, have two sons and a grown granddaughter. Over the years Jeanette's devotion to educational issues has permitted her to share her experiences in the classroom as well as other forums.

She continues to be an active member of her temple. Writing, line dancing, taiko (Japanese drumming), and singing occupy the spaces available in her busy life. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.



  • "Jeanette Arakawa has done a masterful job in bringing this tragic story to life. It should be required reading in our schools. We have to make sure that what happened to my parents, and tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans, never happens again. "The Little Exile" belongs on everyone's shelf.
    —Prof. Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics, author of "Physics of the Impossible"
  • “With the deftness and colorful detail of a gifted artist, Arakawa captures the WWII confinement experience of Japanese Americans as seen through the eyes of a young child. Little Marie’s innocent wisdom and spritely audacity frame the enormity of the trauma along with the minutiae of everyday life confined by barbed wire. Her story tugs at the conscience and inspires human kindness.”
    —Satsuki Ina, Ph.D., Producer, PBS documentary, Children of the Camps
  • "Few books about Japanese American incarceration capture so vividly the feel of community before the war, during the incarceration, and in the postwar relocation years. Arakawa has written an epic story in small, exquisitely remembered vignettes that glow with humor, warmth, and her own and her family's wisdom."
    —Gil Asakawa, author, Being Japanese American
  • "Set amidst the tumult and trauma of displacement and incarceration, Arakawa offers us the moving and poignant story of a young girl whose American identity is constantly challenged. The Little Exile dramatically captures not only the broad historical injustices, but also the small acts of kindness and cruelty that leave such an indelible impression on our lives."
    —Michael Omi, University of California, Berkeley
  • “Through the sharp and observant eyes of a preteen child, Jeanette Arakawa offers a readable, matter-of-fact account of wartime upheaval and the imprisonment of her family and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans. . . . "The Little Exile" should be required reading for every schoolchild and every U.S. government official.”
    —Sharon Noguchi, journalist