Dream of the
Memory and Mourning
in the Black Pacific
by Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd
Published by 2Leaf Press
Distributed by University of Chicago Press
Released April 9, 2019
At the nexus between memoir and social history, Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s work crosses boundaries of race, nation, discipline, and genre to give us a glimpse into little known territory – the Black Pacific collective memory. 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. Written in multiple voices, Cloyd lets his ghosts speak. This book is a beautiful tribute to . . . . all the water children that have been swept under the rug of history."
--Grace M. Cho, author of Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy and the Forgotten War
Dream of the Water Children:
Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific
Author: Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd
Introduction: Gerald Horne
Foreword: Velina Hasu Houston
Editor: Karen Chau
Cover design: Kenji Chienshu Liu
Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd has written a profoundly moving and thought-provoking book.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Historian and Writer
Author of "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States"
about the BOOK
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
(Rutgers University Press, 2013)
This genre-bending book is not “experimental writing.” The author knows what he wants to say and he knows how he wants to say it, seeking, in his own words, “restoration and reclamation” for silenced voices and histories never erased because they have not yet been written. '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. To read it is to marvel, to learn, and to discover anew what surrealist poet Paul Éluard said: “There is another world, but it is in this one.”
Patricia Mushim Ikeda, Buddhist teacher, Writer and Activist in Oakland, California
At the nexus between memoir and social history, Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd's work crosses boundaries of race, nation, discipline, and genre to give us a glimpse into little known territory -- the Black Pacific collective memory. 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. Written in multiple voices, Cloyd lets his ghosts speak. This book is a beautiful tribute to his mother and sister, and to all the water children that have been swept under the rug of history.
Grace M. Cho, author of Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy and the Forgotten War.
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. These memories have shaping power beyond the era of occupation; they are intergenerational and transnational. Dream of the Water Children is an enactment of such irresolution - multi-layered, jarring, shattering, and often elegiac. Its narrative lets loose an aesthetic authority punctuated by vivid remembrances and dream-like sequences, dialogues with himself and with his Japanese mother that appear at once near and far. . . . . . . . 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.
Yuichiro Onishi, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
African & African American Studies,
Asian American Studies, University of Minnesota.
Author of Transpacific Antiracism (NYU Press 2013
In Dream of the Water Children Fredrick Kakinami Cloyd delineates the ways imperialism and war are experienced across and between generations and leave lasting and often excruciating legacies in the mind, body, and relationships. . . . . 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,
Arizona State University
Weaving together ghostly dreamscapes and poetic fragments that chart "collective memory in story," 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 geoepolitical forces that produced his very existence.
Laura Kina, Artist and Associate Professor of Art, Media and Design, Depaul University, and Co-author of War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art.
Dream of the Water Children is an examination into the fallacy and for some, ignorance, of taking our own identities as-is. Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd provides the reader with an eye-opening and soul-searching collective of experiences he and Others faced due to assimilation, racism and the stigma of growing up in post-war Japan, colonized Pacific nations and America. . . . . . Cloyd passionately provides the reader with a very rare insight into the relationship between U.S. military personnel and their Asian spouses, Black-American occupation forces and the Japanese (who were seen as having shared a similar experience), postwar Amerasian children and those that did not love them, and the tortuous relationship between the victor and victims –both foreign and domestic. Dream of the Water Children will tug at your heart, open your mind and lead you to reexamine a consciousness often ignored, denied or distorted.
Eric L. Robinson, Black Tokyo.com
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
Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd was born in the 1950s, shortly after the official U.S. Occupation of Japan, to a Japanese national Mother and African-American G.I. father.
He worked for and received a Masters Degree in Cultural Anthropology and Social Tranformation. His doctoral work in advocacy-focused Postcolonial Anthropology led him to do participatory community-building research with various Dersim communities in Turkey and their diaspora in Europe and the United States.
Fredrick's professional work experience has spanned diversity consulting, intercultural communication, social justice community-building, social justice consulting, teaching and research, Japanese/English language instructor, and speaker/performer on issues including displacement, identity, liberatory advocacy social justice and social change. He is a retired high school and Junior Olympic competitive volleyball coach and club director, which he did since 1976.
He is a staff writer for the online journal of the Hapa Project, sponsored by the Shinso Into Center for Japanese Religion and Culture at University of Southern California. His first book, Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, will be published by 2Leaf Press (New York) and distributed by University of Chicago Press, in March 2019.