- PUBLISHED: September 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian American Studies, Literature / Fiction, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 256 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in
- SERIES: Classics of Asian American Literature
- ISBN: 9780295751122
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Seeking an escape from life in her small village in Japan, Hana Omiya arrives in California in 1917, one of thousands of Japanese “picture brides" whose arranged marriages brought them to the United States. When she finally sets foot on a pier in San Francisco, she is disappointed to meet her soon-to-be husband, the stoic Taro Takeda, who looks much older than in the photo his family had shared. Far from the fantasy life she dreamed up back home, Hana confronts emotional distance from her husband and hostility from white neighbors, eventually focusing her energy to support others in her tight-knit community.
Showing the complexity of Issei life, Hana's story is intertwined with the stories of others: her best friend Kiku and Kiku's husband Henry, who reject demeaning city work to become farmers; Reverend Okada, a community leader who eventually decides to return to Japan; and Hana's daughter, Mary, who rejects her family and runs away with her boyfriend. Ultimately, as Japanese Americans are evacuated from their homes and imprisoned in concentration camps, we see how Hana and others cope with the heartache of losing everything they worked hard to build.
Revealing the human impact of migration, evacuation, and incarceration, Picture Bride is a wide-ranging portrait of Japanese American life in the early twentieth century.
Authors & Contributors
Yoshiko Uchida (1921–1992) was the award-winning author of several books, including Journey to Topaz and Desert Exile. Picture Bride was Uchida’s only novel for adults. Elena Tajima Creef is professor of women's and gender studies at Wellesley College and author of Shadow Traces: Seeing Japanese/American and Ainu Women in Photographic Archives.
[B]eautifully written, lyrical and heart-rending.- Times Literary Supplement
Beautifully written—a jewel of a book that eloquently portrays the extraordinary courage of which our forebears were capable.- Michi Wegyln, author of Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of American Concentration Camps
A moving tribute . . . A rare insight into the hearts and minds of Japanese immigrant women and the important role they played in the establishment and survival of ethnic family and community life in America.- Judy Yung, San Francisco Chronicle