|Born||October 23, 1924|
Westmorland, California, U.S.
|Died||August 16, 2018 93) (aged|
Gardena, California, U.S.
|Notable works||And the Soul Shall Dance|
The Music Lessons
|Notable awards||Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award (1977)|
Wakako Yamauchi (October 23, 1924 – August 16, 2018)was a Japanese American writer. Her plays are considered pioneering works in Asian-American theater.
Yamauchi (née Nakamura) was born in Westmorland, California. Her mother and father, both Issei, or first-generation Japanese immigrants, were farmers in California's Imperial Valley. Many of her stories and her two plays, And the Soul Shall Dance and The Music Lessons , are set in the same dusty, isolated settings".Her plays and stories examine the hardships that Japanese Americans faced in California's agricultural communities and in the internment camps during the second World War. In 1942, at seventeen, Yamauchi and her family were interned at the Poston, Arizona camp; the title of her play 12-1-A refers to the family's address in the War Relocation Authority camp. While there, she worked on the camp newspaper, the Poston Chronicle, alongside fellow writer Hisaye Yamamoto (with whom Yamauchi would maintain a lifelong friendship).
After a year and a half in Poston, Yamauchi resettled outside camp, first in Utah and then in Chicago, where she began to take in interest in theater. In 1948, she married Chester Yamauchi, with whom she had one child before the couple divorced. She returned to the Los Angeles area, where she studied painting at Otis Art Institute (now called Otis College of Art and Design)and continued to write. Her first published story, And the Soul Shall Dance, appeared in Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers . Encouraged by East West Players director Mako, she soon after adapted the story into a play. The stage version of And the Soul Shall Dance was first performed at the East West Players in Los Angeles in 1974, and won the 1977 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best new play. It was later produced for public television.
Rosebud and Other Stories, a collection of stories she wrote in her seventies and eighties, was edited by Lillian Howan and published by University of Hawai'i Press in 2010. A collection of her plays and stories was published in 1994 under the title Songs My Mother Taught Me: Stories, Plays and Memoir.
In 2018, Yamauchi died in Gardena, California at the age of 93.
Some of Yamauchi's best-known short stories depict the tensions between the aspirations of Issei women and the patriarchal norms of Issei culture. The stories And the Soul Shall Dance and Songs My Mother Taught Me both depict Issei women struggling to fulfill ambitions that contradict traditional gender roles. And the Soul Shall Dance represents one of the most straightforward depictions of an Issei woman's rebellion. By depicting the complex relationships among the female characters, Yamauchi portrays Issei women's resistance and containment.
The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast. Approximately two-thirds of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
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The blacks were the first to take us seriously and sustained the spirit of many Asian American writers.... [I]t wasn't surprising to us that Howard University Press understood us and set out to publish our book with their first list. They liked our English we spoke [sic] and didn't accuse us of unwholesome literary devices.
Noriko "Nikki" Sawada Bridges Flynn was a Japanese American writer and civil rights activist. She also helped overturn the law in Nevada barring mixed-race marriages.
And The Soul Shall Dance is Wakako Yamauchi's first full-length play. Written in 1977, the story involves a young Japanese American girl and her parents as they struggle to live in a white America during The Great Depression. And The Soul Shall Dance grapples with many of the issues facing Japanese Americans in America such as assimilation, immigration, social, economic and political status, and simply surviving in the cruelties of the "California Dream" era.
Emiko Omori is an American cinematographer and film director known for her documentary films. Her feature-length documentary Rabbit in the Moon won the Best Documentary Cinematography Award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and an Emmy Award after it was broadcast on PBS that same year. One of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries, Omori began her career at KQED in San Francisco in 1968.
Tamie Tsuchiyama, a Nisei woman, was the only Japanese-American to work full time for the Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement Study. She kept a wide-range sociological journal and ethnographic reports while she was in Poston War Relocation Center. In 1947, she worked with the U.S. government overseas operation that was run by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) as a researcher. Due to the stress from gathering information, Tsuchiyama resigned in July 1944, and sought to join the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). Since she knew German, French and Spanish, she was assigned to Japanese language school and military intelligence assignment translating official Japanese documents.
The following articles are listed in the MLA database and are arranged from most recent to oldest:
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