FRANK ABE has worked to reframe the public’s understanding of the WW2 incarceration of Japanese Americans ever since helping create the first Day of Remembrance for the camps in the campaign for redress and reparations. He has been selected for an Emerging Writers Residency at Port Townsend, WA, by the Centrum Foundation.
He is co-author of a new graphic novel, “WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration” (Chin Music Press, 2021), winner of the Historical Research Award from the Association of King County Historical Associations, which presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.
He wrote, produced and directed the award-winning PBS documentary “Conscience and the Constitution” on the largest organized resistance in the camps.
He won an American Book Award as co-editor of “JOHN OKADA: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy” (University of Washington Press, 2018).
He is currently co-editing a new anthology of camp literature for Penguin Classics. He’s contributed to Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine, The Bloomsbury Review, Case Western Reserve Law Review, Amerasia Journal, International Examiner, Nichi Bei Weekly, Rafu Shimpo, and Pacific Citizen, among others. He blogs at Resisters.com.
Abe helped produce the first-ever “Day of Remembrance” in Seattle in 1978 with Frank Chin and Lawson Inada, and together they invented a new Japanese American tradition to reclaim the history of wartime imprisonment and publicly dramatize the campaign for redress. He was an original member of Chin’s Asian American Theater Workshop in San Francisco, studied at the American Conservatory Theater, and was featured as an incarceration camp leader in John Korty’s 1976 NBC-TV movie, Farewell to Manzanar.
Professionally, Abe served 14 years as a reporter for KIRO Newsradio, the CBS Radio affiliate in Seattle. In that capacity, he helped found the Seattle Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and served as a National Vice-President, and taught broadcast writing at Seattle University. He later served 25 years as communications director for King County (Washington) Executives Gary Locke and Dow Constantine, and the Metropolitan King County Council.
Articles, Publications, and Appearances
Co-author, WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration (Chin Music Press, 2021), winner of the Historical Research Award from the Association of King County Historical Associations.
Wrote, produced and directed Conscience and the Constitution (PBS, 2000), winner of several film festival awards.
Co-editor and biographer, JOHN OKADA: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press, 2018), winner of the American Book Award.
Interviewed for the documentary films, Betrayed: Surviving an American Concentration Camp, The Registry, and others.