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Pure Beauty: Judging Race in Japanese American Beauty Pageants Paperback – October 23, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0816647903 ISBN-10: 0816647909 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (October 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816647909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816647903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DMB on March 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is ground-breaking in its effort to discuss racial identity, changing demographics, and their meaning in the context of beauty pageants, a Japanese American institution. For those of us working in community-based organizations, King-O'Riain's book explains and gives context to the tensions around multi-racial Japanese Americans and how our organizations are changing and need to change. For example, multi-racial people are asserting themselves as a part of the community and some community members are resisting their inclusion. This book helps us in the community to evaluate how our organizations will respond to this tension, which is a vital for us to be relevant and to survive. Not limited to those people in the Japanese American community, King-O'Riain's book is an important read for people working in any community that is facing these changes.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Young on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: the author is a personal friend. I was only dimly aware of this aspect of her work before I read this book; my eyes were OPENED by "Pure Beauty", and in a good way.

I never took sociology at school, and while I agree, heartily with the dictum, "I am a man, and whatever concerns humanity is of interest to me", I'm generally not one to read sociology textbooks (which is how "Pure Beauty" scans to me) for pleasure!

Yet pleased I was to take in the myriad details and interesting analysis of Dr. King's fieldwork as a beauty pageant volunteer, and later judge. I was fascinated by the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, multi-culturalism, identity, feminism, economics, exploitation and growth young Japanese-American women lived and explored as they sought to be crowned "Nisei Week" or "Cherry Blossom" Queen.

I think some of the repetition noted by an earlier reviewer is due to the what I perceive as the structure of the book as a college level text, which would often be assigned in chapters in a survey course. Thus each chapter has to be able to stand alone, and be understood in isolation, even if certain theses have already been tangentially explored in an earlier chapter. But if you look past that, the chapters each give a richer, more nuanced picture of the issues that the Introduction sketches, and as my understanding of the lived reality of this ethnic experience (not one I own in the slightest; I am a Majority Male) grew as I read, the later chapters built on the earlier.

In light of the election of President Obama, there has been a lot said and written about a "Post-Racial" society. I found "Pure Beauty" to be a well-researched and written opposition of empirical fact to this perhaps wishful notion.
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