Soapberry Review features conversation with David Mas Masumoto, author of SECRET HARVESTS!

In 1942, a Japanese American family relinquishes their daughter to the state to protect her from being sent to forced relocation camps during the war. Seventy years later, her nephew will receive a call from a funeral home, asking for his mom. They want to reconnect his “lost” aunt with her family.

This is the story of farmer and writer, Mas Masumoto, and how he discovered his aunt, Shizuko, was still alive and living in a nursing home a few miles from his family home. In his memoir, Secret Harvests, Masumoto explores his family’s history to learn how Shizuko became a ward of the state during WWII, what her life was like during the 70 years she was institutionalized, and how history shaped his family’s journey in the U.S.

We met up over Zoom to talk about his memoir, alien land laws, farming, and how to share care with the world around us. This conversation has been edited for clarity.