Duncan Ryuken Williams was born in Tokyo, Japan to a Japanese mother and British father. After growing up in Japan and England until age 17, he moved to the U.S. to attend college (Reed College) and graduate school (Harvard University). Williams is the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture and the founder of the Hapa Japan Database Project. Previously, he held the Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at University of California, Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies. He also served as the Executive Vice President of Japan House/LA, a public diplomacy initiative of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Williams is the author of The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Soto Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan (Princeton University Press) and editor of 7 books including Issei Buddhism in the Americas (U-Illinois Press), American Buddhism (Routledge/Curzon Press), Hapa Japan: History, Identity, and Representations of Mixed Race/Mixed Roots Japanese Peoples (Ito Center/Kaya Press), and Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard University Press). He has also translated four books from Japanese into English including Putting Buddhism to Work: A New Theory of Economics and Business Management (Kodansha). He is currently completing a monograph titled American Sutra: Buddhism and the World War II Japanese American Experience and writing a manifesto for Japan in the 21st-century titled Hybrid Japan (in Japanese).
FREDRICK D. KAKINAMI CLOYD is an independent scholar-artist-performer-anti-oppression activist whose work focuses on unraveling forces that interplay between history and the individual in relation to social change. He was born in Japan shortly after the official U.S. Occupation of Japan to a Japanese mother and African-American father in the U.S. military. Cloyd has been published in such publications as Kartika Review, Oakland Word, Nikkei Heritage, and The Pacific Reader, as well as featured on various radio and television programs and interviews. His poetry has been featured at the Japanese National Historical Society and his presentations have been featured in various Asian-American, social justice, Queer-of-Color, Mixed-race, and African-American history websites and publications and has been a public speaker and performer for four decades. He received his Masters in Social-Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation. In 2017, Fredrick's essay: “On Being a Black-Japanese Amerasian Being,” was published by 2Leaf Press in the anthology: The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives About Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century. His first book: Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, was released by the same publisher in New York in Spring 2018.