Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide

By Guiyou Huang | Go to book overview

KAREN TEI YAMASHITA (1951-)

Robin E. Field


♦ BIOGRAPHY

Karen Tei Yamashita, a third-generation Japanese American, or sansei, was born on January 8, 1951, in Oakland, California. She spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles and then attended Carleton College in Minnesota, studying English and Japanese literature. Yamashita spent her junior year abroad at Waseda University in Japan. During this year and a half, she pondered questions of global migration and ethnic and national identities, issues which figure prominently in her later fiction. To her acquaintances in Japan she was considered “pure Japanese, ” able to trace her family history back fourteen generations. But Yamashita was uncomfortable with a label that prioritized race without acknowledging nation and culture; and in an essay in her recent collection Circle K Cycles, she instead claims the term nikkei, of Japanese ancestry, whether a Japanese emigrant or Japanese American (10). Her story “The Bath” (1975) illustrates the cultural differences between three generations of a Japanese and nikkei family.

In 1975 Yamashita's interests in identity, migration, and assimilation led her to research Japanese immigration to Brazil, which is home to the largest population of nikkei in the world. Funded by a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, she researched the lives and accomplishments of these Japanese emigrants and their descendants. The story “Tucano” (1975) tells of one such emigrant seeking his fortune by farming reclaimed rainforest land. Yamashita spent a total of nine years in Brazil, where she married a Brazilian architect and artist, Ronaldo Lopes de Oliveira, and had two children. She and her family moved to Los Angeles in 1984, which meant, according to Yamashita, “immigrating back to my own country” (Circle K Cycles 13). Yamashita's research and ex-

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Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction - The Asian American Short Story—the Cases of Sui Sin Far, Yamamoto, and Penaranda xiii
  • Peter Bacho (1950-) 1
  • Himani Bannerji (1942-) 5
  • Susham Bedi (1945-) 11
  • Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (1947-) 17
  • Carlos Bulosan (1911-1956) 23
  • Jeffery Paul Chan (1942-) 31
  • G.S.Sharat Chandra (1938-2000) 39
  • Diana Chang (1934-) 45
  • Frank Chin (1940-) 51
  • Susan Choi (1969-) 61
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (1956-) 65
  • Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) (1865-1914) 73
  • Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954) 85
  • Jessica Hagedorn (1949-) 93
  • Gish Jen (1956-) 101
  • Ha Jin (1956-) 109
  • Lonny Kaneko (1939-) 115
  • Alex Kuo (1939-) 119
  • Jhumpa Lahiri (1967-) 125
  • Andrew Lam (1963-) 135
  • Evelyn Lau (1971-) 141
  • Chang-Rae Lee (1965-) 147
  • Don Lee (1959-) 151
  • Monfoon Leong (1916-1964) 155
  • Russell Leong (1950-) 159
  • Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (1944-) 167
  • David Wong Louie (1954-) 173
  • Darrell H.Y.Lum (1950-) 177
  • Rohinton Mistry (1952-) 183
  • Shani Mootoo (1958-) 189
  • Toshio Mori (1910-1980) 195
  • Bharati Mukherjee (1940-) 203
  • Fae Myenne Ng (1956-) 215
  • Hualing Nieh (1925-) 225
  • Susan Nunes (1943-) 237
  • Gary Pak (1952-) 243
  • Ty Pak (1938-) 251
  • Nahid Rachlin (1947-) 257
  • Raja Rao (1908-) 263
  • Patsy Sumie Saiki (1915-) 269
  • Bienvenido N. Santos (1911-1996) 273
  • Kathleen Tyau (1947-) 281
  • José Garcia Villa (1908-1997) 287
  • Sylvia A.Watanabe (1953-) 295
  • Hisaye Yamamoto (Desoto) (1921-) 303
  • Lois-Ann Yamanaka (1961-) 317
  • Karen Tei Yamashita (1951-) 327
  • Wakako Yamauchi (1924-) 333
  • John Yau (1950-) 337
  • Selected Bibliography 345
  • Index 349
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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