In honor of the late Masao Miyoshi, whose work has opened a transpacific dimension in Asian American studies, this essay first explores the notion of asymmetry, which is seminal to his critical vision, to build an analytical framework for understanding and evaluating the transnational impulses in recent Asian American literature. Using asymmetry as an analytical lens, it then provides a critical interpretation of Ruth Ozeki’s important novel A Tale for the Time Being (2013) to consider the intricate connections between Asia and North America that are embedded in the subterranean history of war, migration, resistance, and hope. By foregrounding the entangled, even complicit, transpacific transactions in Asian American narratives, this essay will not only speak to the complexities of the transpacific turn in Asian American studies but will also remind us of the importance of Miyoshi’s off-centered approach to questions of culture, history, and politics undeterred by borders.

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