Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman

Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman

Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman

Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman

Excerpt

Great adventure in a land of promise was an image many young Japanese women had conjured up in their minds when they followed their men to America at the turn of the twentieth century.Innocent dreams were quickly shattered by the harsh realities of their everyday existence, for before long they found themselves engaged in hard physical labor in addition to taking care of children and tending to household chores.

The process of acculturating to American social and cultural life was particularly slow for the Issei (first-generation immigrant from Japan) women.Efforts at orienting themselves to their new environment were hindered by the inability to speak English, by confinement to home and children, by lack of relatives or any network of social organizations and friends, and by the barriers of racism and discrimination.

This book was written out of respect and admiration for these courageous women who had managed to transform hardship, suffering, and despair into determination, understanding, and hope. In an attempt to capture their spirit and to learn more about my own cultural heritage, I had decided to write a life history of my mother, using her own words (as I translated them) to tell a story about an Issei woman's experience in America.

The book is basically divided into three parts. The first part gives the reader a background into the research, describing the trip to Japan to find out more information about my mother's past. The second section contains the life history itself; this is the main body of . . .

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