Category Archives: Japan/Japanese Literature

Day of Remembrance

Monument at Manzanar Cemetery

“Our differences in beliefs do not truly separate us or elevate us over others. Rather, they highlight the rich tapestry that is humanity.”
   ~ George Takei

In the United States during World War II, about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast, were forcibly relocated and incarcerated in concentration camps in the western interior of the country. Approximately two-thirds of the internees were United States citizens. (Wikipedia)

A few books I have read and recommend highly on the subject of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II:

The Cat Who Saved Books

The Cat Who Saved Books, by Sosuke Natsukawa, is a book I read for Dolce Bellezza’s fifteenth Japanese Literature challenge.  It is a book for book lovers! There are many books in that genre of books and bookstores, but this book was a sweet fantasy that didn’t disappoint. It’s a perfect read for a dark January afternoon.

From the publisher:

Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for–or rather, demands–the teenager’s help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and Tiger and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners.

Some wise words from the book:

“Suddenly the cat spoke.
‘ Books have a soul.’
‘ A book that sits on a shelf is nothing but a bundle of paper. Unless it is opened, a book possessing great power, an epic story is a mere scrap of paper. But a book that has been cherished and loved , filled with human thoughts, has been endowed with a soul”

“I think the power of books is that – that they teach us to care about others. It’s a power that gives people courage and also supports them in turn. [. . .] Empathy – that’s the power of books.”

.

A Man and His Cat

My first book read in 2022 was a manga/graphic novel called A Man & His Cat, by Umi Sakurai. It is a story about a lonely widower who adopts a cat and of all the changes that happen because of that new relationship. It was delightful!  A gentle, sweet story that warmed my heart was the perfect beginning for 2022!

And then I discovered that it is the first in a series of six books — oh joy! — so I’m off to the library to find the other volumes!


I read this book as part of Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature #15 challenge.

 

Japanese Literature #15


My friend, Meredith (@Dolce Bellezza) is hosting her fifteenth Japanese Literature challenge. I have participated in it many times over the years and always enjoyed the books I read and the films I watched for it, so I am happy to join her once again. Here are her instructions:

The term ”challenge” comes from the early days of blogging, when reading challenges were set forth by so many of my blogging friends. But, this is not really a challenge; it is more of an opportunity to read and share works written by Japanese authors.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Read as many books as you like from January through March. (Even if that is ”only” one.)
  • Make sure the work was originally written in Japanese.
  • Choose from classic to contemporary works, whatever appeals to you.
  • Leave a link on her website to your review.

I have a number of books I’d like to read for this challenge already on my bookshelves, but instead of listing them ahead of time, I’ll just keep a growing list of the books I read here on this post. Please check back often to see what I’ve been reading and enjoying for this challenge.

Red = Link to my review
Blue = Read but not reviewed

  • A Man and His Cat, (volume 1) by Umi Sakurai
  • A Man and His Cat, (volume 2) by Umi Sakurai
  • A Man and His Cat, (volume 3) by Umi Sakurai
  • A Man and His Cat, (volume 4) by Umi Sakurai
  • The Cat Who Saved Books, by Sosuke Natsukawa
  • Descending Stories, Volume 1, by Haruko Kumota

 

Looking Ahead

I have started looking ahead to my 2022 reading. I will continue with my personal reading projects, and  “round 2” of my Classics Club reading. I always look forward to the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge in the fall. And in January, I will again participate in Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge #15. It’s always such a lovely one. All of that should keep me busy and out of trouble next year!

They Called Us Enemy

 

They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, is a beautifully written and illustrated autobiography of his childhood years when he and his family were relocated to the American concentration camps during World War II.  This is a book that I think should be a must read for everyone. It is so alarmingly relevant today, and I mean this very day, with Iranians now being detained at our borders and children that continue to be separated from their families and incarcerated at our southern border!

from the publisher:

In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon—and America itself—in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

I was very moved by this book and learned a lot that I didn’t know about that shameful period of time in our nation’s history. It was both moving and uplifting. An excellent book, in my opinion, and one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time!

Looking Back at 2019


Looking back at 2019, I am happy with my reading year. In addition to my usual reading,  I took on a number of challenges and enjoyed the books I read for each one. I love the journey of each challenge and the exposure to new authors, genres, and ideas that really expand my world.

Turning seventy years old felt like a big milestone and I wanted to celebrate it in some special way. So I put together a self-challenge called “EMBRACING SEVENTY.”  I created a 1949 list of books and movies– anything to do with 70. It turned out to be a fun research project. Here are the books I read, and the one movie from 1949 that my husband and I watched:

”WANDERLUST” was another self-challenge I put together this year in an effort to read more international literature. I read both children and adult books and liked the glimpses into other cultures. I will continue this challenge in 2020 and beyond.

For a second year in a row, I signed up for Adam’s 2019 OFFICIAL TBR challenge. Last year I read 4 books for his challenge, and this year I did the same. That’s 8 books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for far too long, so I’m happy to have been motivated to finally read them. Thank you, Adam, for hosting this challenge. I’ll miss it! Here’s my list of books read in 2019:

Dolce Bellezza’s JAPANESE LITERATURE Challenge always calls to me, and in 2019 I read one book and watched three Japanese films. Meredith always puts together a really classy challenge! My 2019 books and movies:

Films:

I had good intentions when I signed up for Rachel’s (@hibernatorslibrary) A YEAR of SHAKESPEARE Challenge this year. I was going to read three Shakespeare plays, but I ended up only reading one (which I enjoyed very much!). But I also read a lot of different books about that play, so it really was an immersive experience, and a lot of fun. Here’s what I read for this challenge:

A Shakespeare Comedy : The Winter’s Tale

READERS IMBIBING PERIL- XIV was a great challenge this fall! It’s one of my favorite challenges each year, and I enjoy it more and more each year!  I love mysteries and suspense novels, good book series and good TV mystery series, so I had lots of fun reading and watching movies!

PERIL the FIRST:

  1. The Lost One, by Mary Stewart
  2. The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler
  3. Christmas in Absaroka County, by Craig Johnson
  4. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  5. The Religious Body, by Catherine Aird
  6. An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten
  7. The Case of the Famished Parson, by George Bellairs
  8. Rose Cottage, by Mary Stewart
  9. The House on the Strand, by Daphne du Maurier
  10. Trouble in Nuala, by Harriet Steel
  11. Whiteout, by Ken Follett

PERIL on the SCREEN:

  1. 4:50 From Paddington
  2. Murder at the Gallop
  3. The Mirror Crack’d
  4. Murder Most Foul 

I joined THE CLASSICS CLUB in March of 2017 and agreed to read 50 Books in 5 Years. This is a great challenge, so well organized and with fun activities. I’ve always loved reading classics so it’s a perfect fit for me. As of right now, I’ve read 28 of my 50 books list. This year I read these classics:

Having time to read is such a precious luxury for me and this year has been full of reading joy. And now I’m looking forward to my 2020 reading.

For all my reading friends, may 2020 be a year of joyful reading for you, too!

Wanderlust

When I was 17 years old, I spent a year in Argentina as an exchange student, and after that experience I always considered myself a “Citizen of the World,” not just a citizen of my own country. But I’ll admit it:  I’m more of an armchair traveler than a real traveler, although I would love to visit many different far off places!  Books have always encouraged and mostly satisfied my wanderlust, so I will continue to read books from other countries and cultures.

There are many booklists online about books from countries around the world, and many blogging friends have put together challenges to encourage a broader range of reading. I love putting together lists, so I thought I would build this post with a list of the countries of the world so that when I read a book from or about that country, I can log it here. It’s the journey that calls to me, not the finish line.

I will read as many books in translation as possible. There are also many books for young people that provide wonderful stories and information about other cultures/countries, so I look forward to reading some of those, as well.  Since I’m starting in 2019, I will include books I’ve already read this year that qualify for this self-challenge and will provide links to my reviews.

It is important to me, as a “citizen of the world,” that I broaden my reading journey even more during this time of increasing nationalism. I truly believe the motto of the American Field Service (now known as AFS Intercultural Programs):

“Walk Together, Talk Together, 
O ye peoples of the Earth,
For then, and only then,
Shall ye have peace.”

46/196 books read.
Red = click to read my review
Blue = Read but not reviewed

  1. AFGHANISTAN:  Nasreen’s Secret School, by Jeanette Winter
  2. ALBANIA
  3. ALGERIA
  4. ANDORRA
  5. ANGOLA
  6. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: A Small Place, by Jamaica Kincaid
  7. ARGENTINA:  Argentinian Adventures: A Planthunter in Argentina, by John Lonsdale
  8. ARMENIA
  9. AUSTRALIA
  10. AUSTRIA:  Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke
  11. AZERBAIJAN
  12. THE BAHAMAS
  13. BAHRAIN: Round the Bend, by Nevil Shute
  14. BANGLADESH
  15. BARBADOS
  16. BELARUS
  17. BELGIUM:  A Dog of Flanders, by Ouida
  18. BELIZE
  19. BENIN: Idia of the Benin Kingdom, by Ekiuwa Aire
  20. BHUTAN
  21. BOLIVIA
  22. BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA
  23. BOTSWANA
  24. BRAZIL:  Manuscript Found in Accra, by Paulo Coehlo
  25. BRUNEI
  26. BULGARIA
  27. BURKINA FASO
  28. BURUNDI
  29. CABO VERDE
  30. CAMBODIA:  The Elephant’s New Shoe, by Laurel Neme
  31. CAMEROON
  32. CANADA:  The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, by Catherine Reid
  33. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
  34. CHAD
  35. CHILE
  36. CHINA: Bronze and Sunflower, by Cao Wenxuan
  37. COLOMBIA:  Waiting for the Biblioburro, by Monica Brown
  38. COMOROS
  39. CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF
  40. CONGO, REPUBLIC OF THE
  41. COSTA RICA
  42. COTE D’IVOIRE
  43. CROATIA
  44. CUBA:  Island Treasures: Growing Up in Cuba, by Alma Flor Ada
  45. CYPRUS
  46. CZECH REPUBLIC
  47. DENMARK
  48. DJIBOUTI
  49. DOMINICA
  50. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
  51. EAST TIMOR (TIMOR-LESTE)
  52. ECUADOR
  53. EGYPT
  54. EL SALVADOR
  55. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
  56. ERITREA
  57. ESTONIA
  58. ESWATINI
  59. ETHIOPIA
  60. FIJI
  61. FINLAND
  62. FRANCE:  Travels With a Donkey in the Cévennes, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  63. GABON
  64. THE GAMBIA
  65. GEORGIA
  66. GERMANY:  The Solitary Summer, by Elizabeth von Arnim
  67. GHANA:  Emmanuel’s Dream, The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, by Laurie Ann Thompson
  68. GREECE:  The Moonspinners, by Mary Stewart
  69. GRENADA
  70. GUATEMALA
  71. GUINEA
  72. GUINEA-BISSAU
  73. GUYANA
  74. HAITI
  75. HONDURUS
  76. HUNGARY
  77. ICELAND:  The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 Miniature Essays on the Quirks and Foibles of the Icelandic People, by Alda Sigmundsdottir
  78. INDIA:  A Tiger for Malgudi, by R. K. Narayan
  79. INDONESIA:  The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene Du Bois
  80. IRAN
  81. IRAQ:  The Librarian of Basra, by Jeanette Winter
  82. IRELAND:  A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy
  83. ISRAEL
  84. ITALY:  Marcovaldo, or The Seasons in the City, by Italo Calvino
  85. JAMAICA
  86. JAPAN:  Sweet Bean Paste, by Durian Sukegawa
  87. JORDAN
  88. KAZAKHSTAN
  89. KENYA:  Facing The Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna, by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton
  90. KIRIBATI
  91. KOREA, NORTH:  North Korea Journal, by Michael Palin
  92. KOREA, SOUTH:  Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
  93. KOSOVO
  94. KUWAIT
  95. KYRGYSTAN
  96. LAOS:  Mali Under the Night Sky: A Lao Story of Home, by Youme Landowne
  97. LATVIA
  98. LEBANON:  The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran
  99. LESOTHO
  100. LIBERIA
  101. LIBYA
  102. LIECHTENSTEIN
  103. LITHUANIA
  104. LUXEMBOURG
  105. MADAGASCAR:  The Aye-Aye and I, by Gerald Durrell
  106. MALAWI
  107. MALAYSIA
  108. MALDIVES
  109. MALI
  110. MALTA
  111. MARSHALL ISLANDS
  112. MAURITANIA:  Deep in the Sahara, by Kelly Cunnane and illustrated by Hoda Hadadi 
  113. MAURITIUS 
  114. MEXICO
  115. MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES of
  116. MOLDOVA
  117. MONACO
  118. MONGOLIA
  119. MONTENEGRO
  120. MOROCCO:  Mrs. Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish, by Dorothy Gilman
  121. MOZAMBIQUE
  122. MYANMAR (Burma)
  123. NAMIBIA
  124. NAURU
  125. NEPAL
  126. NETHERLANDS:  The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
  127. NEW ZEALAND
  128. NICARAGUA
  129. NIGER
  130. NIGERIA
  131. NORTH MACEDONIA
  132. NORWAY:  Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan
  133. OMAN
  134. PAKISTAN:  Malala’s Magic Pencil, by Malala Yousafzai
  135. PALAU
  136. PANAMA
  137. PAPUA NEW GUINEA    
  138. PARAGUAY:  Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, by Susan Hood
  139. PERU
  140. PHILIPPINES
  141. POLAND
  142. PORTUGAL
  143. QATAR
  144. ROMANIA
  145. RUSSIA:  A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
  146. RWANDA
  147. SAINT KITTS and NEVIS 
  148. SAINT LUCIA
  149. SAINT VINCENT and THE GRENADINES 
  150. SAMOA
  151. SAN MARINO
  152. SAO TOME and PRINCIPE
  153. SAUDI ARABIA
  154. SENEGAL
  155. SERBIA
  156. SEYCHELLES
  157. SIERRA LEONE
  158. SINGAPORE
  159. SLOVAKIA
  160. SLOVENIA
  161. SOLOMON ISLANDS
  162. SOMALIA
  163. SOUTH AFRICA
  164. SPAIN
  165. SRI LANKA: Trouble in Nuala, by Harriet Steel
  166. SUDAN
  167. SUDAN, SOUTH:  A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park
  168. SURINAME
  169. SWEDEN:  An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten
  170. SWITZERLAND:  Heidi, by Johanna Spyri
  171. SYRIA: Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey, by Margriet Ruur and illustrated by Nazir Ali Badr
  172. TAIWAN
  173. TAJIKISTAN
  174. TANZANIA:  Death in Zanzibar, by M. M. Kaye
  175. THAILAND
  176. TOGO
  177. TONGA
  178. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
  179. TUNISIA
  180. TURKEY
  181. TURKMENISTAN
  182. TUVALU
  183. UGANDA
  184. UKRAINE
  185. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
  186. UNITED KINGDOM:  Cider With Rosie, by Laurie Lee
  187. UNITED STATES:  The Country of the Pointed Firs, by Sarah Orne Jewett
  188. URUGUAY
  189. UZBEKISTAN
  190. VANUATU
  191. VATICAN CITY
  192. VENEZUELA
  193. VIETNAM:  Water Buffalo Days – Growing Up in Vietnam, by Huynh Quang Nhuong
  194. YEMEN
  195. ZAMBIA
  196. ZIMBABWE

Ugetsu

 

Last night, my husband and I watched the old Japanese film, Ugetsu, a film based on two stories from the book, Tales of Moonlight and Rain, by Ueda Akinari, which I read many years ago. The film was directed by the great filmmaker, Kenji Mizoguchi, and released in 1953. It is a classic of Japanese film and a beautifully filmed, ethereal and haunting story.

from The Criterion Collection:

By the time he made Ugetsu, Kenji Mizoguchi was already an elder statesman of Japanese cinema, fiercely revered by Akira Kurosawa and other directors of a younger generation. And with this exquisite ghost story, a fatalistic wartime tragedy derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, he created a touchstone of his art, his long takes and sweeping camera guiding the viewer through a delirious narrative about two villagers whose pursuit of fame and fortune leads them far astray from their loyal wives. Moving between the terrestrial and the otherworldly, Ugetsu reveals essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.

summary of the story from Roger Ebert:

Two brothers, one consumed by greed, the other by envy. In a time when the land is savaged by marauding armies, they risk their families and their lives to pursue their obsessions. Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu” (1953) tells their stories in one of the greatest of all films — one which, along with Kurosawa’s “Rashomon,” helped introduce Japanese cinema to Western audiences. The heroes are rough-hewn and consumed by ambition, but the film style is elegant and mysterious, and somehow we know before we are told that this is a ghost story.

We were captivated by the story and enveloped by the visual beauty of this film. It is a film experience I highly recommend.  It is available for purchase or rental from Amazon Prime, but we streamed it free-of-charge from Kanopy, the movies available for streaming through our local library system.

 

 

I watched this film as part of the Japanese Literature 12 Challenge hosted by Meredith at Dolce Bellezza.

Ikiru

“Ikiru,” in Japanese, means a number of different things:

  1. to live; to exist
  2. to make a living; to subsist
  3. to be in effect; to be in use; to function
  4. to come to life; to be enlivened
  5. to be safe (in baseball, go, etc.)

The film IKIRU, directed by Akira Kurosawa and released in 1952, is a classic of Japanese film. It is a heartwarming and heart wrenching story of a bureaucrat in Tokyo, a man whose days are always the same, full of endless piles of paper essentially “signifying nothing.”  He finds out one day that he has terminal cancer and less than a year to live. His world is instantly upended, and over the next few months, he goes through all the stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — and finally finds a way to do something meaningful with the time he has remaining in his life.

It’s a very moving story, and expresses all the different meanings of the word “Ikiru,” especially the fourth definition, to learn to live!  I’ve watched it numerous times over the years, and it is one of my favorite movies. I highly recommend it.


I watched this film as part of the Japanese Literature 12 Challenge, hosted by Meredith at Dolce Bellezza.

Sweet Bean Paste

People’s lives never stay the same colour forever. There are times when the colour of life changes completely.

Sweet Bean Paste, by Durian Sukegawa, is a story of friendship and renewal.  It is set in modern-day Japan, and focuses on some cultural changes that are just happening within the last twenty-five years or so.

from the publisher, Oneworld:

Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

But everything is about to change.

Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue’s dark secret is revealed.

Sentaro begins to learn from Tokue how to make the wonderful sweet bean paste, and he learns so much more than that from her! She has a wonderful outlook on life, but is mysterious about her past.

It turns out that Tokue had leprosy as a child. She had been cured more than 40 years ago, but because of the cultural stigma and harsh laws against lepers, she lived all her life in a sanitarium, isolated from the rest of society. In 1996, Japan changed the laws about lepers, and she was given her “freedom” from the confines of the leper community. Sadly, there was no family left and no place for her out in the world, so she and many of the other residents simply stayed at the sanitarium.

In a culture that defines a person’s success as what one can contribute to society, she and the other former lepers were denied that personal identity and meaning. But Tokue was able to find an elemental freedom in her imposed isolation from society, and found deep personal meaning in the language of nature. She taught Sentaro that life is so much more than what society dictates, and that every single thing that lives on earth contributes in their own way.

One thing I can do in Tenshoen is sniff the wind and listen to the murmur of the trees. I pay attention to the language of things in this world that don’t use words. That’s what I call Listening, and I’ve been doing it for sixty years now.

It’s my belief that everything in this world has its own language. We have the ability to open up our ears and minds to anything and everything. That could be someone walking down the street, or it could be the sunshine or the wind.

Anyone is capable of making a positive contribution to the world through simple observation, irrespective of circumstance. This is the idea that Tokue expresses when she writes in her letter, ‘We were born in order to see and listen to the world.’ It’s a powerful notion, with the potential to subtly reshape our view of everything.

from Booklist:

‘Although Tokue’s past is a reflection of a dark chapter of Japanese history, her wisdom, patience, and kindness shape this touching and occasionally wistful novel. Through Tokue’s story, Sukegawa eloquently explores the seeds of biases and challenges us to truly listen to the natural world and the messages it artfully hides.’

This was really a lovely, positive book to read. There is also a movie that was made of the book, and it stayed very true to the story. It is available on DVD as “Sweet Bean,” and was beautifully filmed.


This book was on my list of choices for the Japanese Literature Challenge.

Japanese Literature Challenge 12

Another reading challenge for 2019 has caught my eye. Meredith (@Dolce Bellezza) is hosting her 12th  Japanese LIterature Challenge this year. I’ve participated in her challenges numerous times before and enjoyed each of them. I already have some Japanese literature on my Classics Club list, and two new books on my Kindle that would qualify for this challenge, so I decided to join…again.

This time, I am also going to add a few films to watch. Long ago, when my kids were little, I took a continuing education class at the University. It was called the “Art of Japanese Film” and I absolutely loved the class! And then, a few years ago, my husband and I bought a boxed set of DVDs of movies by the brilliant Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, so Hubby and I are going to have our own Japanese Film Festival during this Challenge.

Books to Read:

  1. The Book of Tea, Kazuko Okakura
  2. Kokoro, Natsume Soseki
  3. Absolutely on Music, Haruki Murakami
  4. Sweet Bean Paste, Durian Sukegawa

Films of Akira Kurosawa to Watch:

  1. Stray Dog
  2. Ikiru
  3. Seven Samurai
  4. The Hidden Fortress
  5. Yojimbo

Other Japanese Films to Watch:

  1. Miss Hokusai  (we watched it on January 2, 2019)  This is a film based on the life of the daughter of the great painter, Hokusai. It was adapted from a Manga series written and illustrated by Hinako Sugiura.  It was directed by Keiichi Hara, and won numerous awards.
  2. Ugetsu (based on the book, Tales of Moonlight and Rain, by Akinari Udea)
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Our Little Sister
  5. My Neighbor Totoro

Click on the titles below to read my reviews of books I read for Dolce Bellezza’s previous Japanese LIterature Challenges.

One more thing

My husband’s grandmother was a “picture bride” brought from Japan to Hawaii in the early 1900s as a bride for one of the Japanese plantation workers. If you are interested in that fascinating part of history, you can read my review of the book, Picture Bride, by Yoshiko Ushida.  If you can find it, there is a beautiful little film called “Picture Bride,” that is well worth seeing.  There are many stories of the 20,000 or so women who were the picture brides. They didn’t know their husbands-to-be before they were brought to Hawaii, and some to California. Each was chosen as a bride by their photo.

My husband’s grandmother and aunt are in this photo of plantation workers in Hawaii.