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 Douglas Kakinami Cloyd was born in Japan shortly after the U.S. Occupation officially ended. His African-American/Cherokee father was an occupation soldier in Korea and Japan while Fredrick's mother—a Japanese/Chinese/Austro-Hungarian girl of the war-ruins was from an elite nationalist family in Japan. Transnational racisms and sexisms during the rise of U.S. and Japanese global stature presents a foundation through which Fredrick weaves his stories of memory and family history.
He received a masters degree from a postcolonial/feminist-oriented social cultural anthropology program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He feeds his love of Asian and Latin foods, coffee, TV shows, music, and steam trains while working on his first interstitial auto-ethnography entitled: "Dream of the Water Children, dream of the water children."