This is the book club book for our June Meeting on the
16th–third Tuesday at 7 pm. It’s a very short book–only
129 pages. I’m wondering what the club will think–
It’s about Japanese “picture brides” in the 1930s and 40s
–who were chosen to be wives for Japanese men living in
California. Only photographs introduced the couples. And
sometimes the photos and written descriptions of the men
(and the women!) were not quite true.
It moves from the initial sea voyage to meet the husbands at
the pier, to the time in World War II when over 127,000 Japanese
were interned in concentration camps in the US.
Along the way, the author Ms Otsuko, relates the ways the new
Japanese brides did and didn’t adjust to a whole new life in
America. I felt that the emphasis seemed to be on the negative.
Surely, it was a good opportunity for some!
The first chapters are a little rough with descriptions of the nuptial
ceremonies and probably not recommended for young readers. But
overall the book brings us a close look at an interesting time in our
The author seems to have done vast research in interviewing the
families. And nearly thirty or so viewpoints are given for each kind
of situation—-employment, living conditions, incidents of racism,
difficulties of raising children (while working in the vegetable fields
of California), school experiences. At times the writing felt like a long
grocery list of items, but still, it remained very interesting to read.
To me, it was familiar territory for the most part, but well worth
reading about again to give a sense of value to a population and
time that might be forgotten about.
Now I’m curious Julie Otsuko’s writing and would like to read her first
book: When the Emperor Was Divine.
three button review . . .
Book club selection for July is Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak . . .