Apr 12017

"Picture Bride Stories" Author Barbara Kawakami to speak in Hilo at the Hawaii Japanese Center

Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Hawaii Japanese Center

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, in partnership with the Hawaii Japanese Center, is proud to present a special presentation and book signing with author Barbara F. Kawakami on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the Hawaii Japanese Center in Hilo.

During the 1885 to 1924 immigration period of sugar plantation laborers from Japan to Hawai'i, more than 200,000 Japanese, mostly men, made the long journey by ship to Hawai'i. As it became apparent that they would never return to Japan, many of the men sent for brides to join them in their adopted home. More than 20,000 of these "picture brides" immigrated from Japan and Okinawa to Hawai'i to marry husbands whom they knew only through photographs exchanged between them or their families.

Based on Barbara Kawakami's first-hand interviews with sixteen of these women, Picture Bride Stories is a poignant collection that recounts the diverse circumstances that led them to marry strangers, their voyages to Hawai'i, the surprises and trials that they encountered upon arriving, and the lives they led upon settling in a strange new land. Many found hardship, yet perservered and endured the difficult working and living conditions of the sugarcane plantations for the sake of their children. As they acclimated to a foreign place and forged new relationships, they overcame challenges and eventually prospered in a better life.

The stories of the Issei women exemplify the importance of friendships and familial networks in coping with poverty and economic security. Although these remarkable women are gone, their legacy lives on in their children, grandchildren, and succeeding generations.

The program will include a screening of excerpts of interviews with some of the women featured in Picture Bride Stories that were conducted with Barbara Kawakami for various segments of the Rice & Roses television series. These interviews are courtesy of the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR), University of Hawai'i - West O'ahu; Chris Conybeare, Producer/Writer; and Joy Chong-Stannard, Director/Editor.

Sponsored by The Hiroaki, Elaine and Lawrence Kono Foundation and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i.

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