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Picture Bride by Yoshiko Uchida - Essay Example

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Summary
As a historical novel, Picture Bride, by Yoshiko Uchida (1988) alludes to Japanese immigration into the U.S. via arranged marriages (miai kekkon) and the Japanese internment of 1941-1943. The novel covers the period 1917-1943, in which a Japanese man and woman, Taro and Hana, coupled by the arranged ‘picture bride’ system, are joined and experience racial, anti-Japanese sentiments set in California, USA…
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Picture Bride by Yoshiko Uchida

Download file to see previous pages... Government, fueled by the fears of terrorism, violated immigrant rights and even trampled on citizenship rights of Japanese-American citizens, confirming a long history of racial bias and discriminatory policies. The very title of the novel, Picture Bride, makes reference to the existent racism due to America’s anti-miscegenation laws and the recourse of Japanese bachelors to picture brides from their mother country. U.S anti-miscegenation laws effective since the mid-1800s barred interracial marriages of immigrants and slaves with Caucasian American women (Anti-Miscegenation Laws). As a consequence, Japanese immigrants choose to convey a wife from Japan to the U.S. Also, strong cultural traditions which obligated many Japanese to marry within their own ethnic group influenced marital decisions. These anti-interracial laws applied to all American minorities including Blacks, Indians, and Asians (Asian Americans and Anti-Miscegenation Statutes). Tacit segregation of Japanese and white Americans is a sign of underlying discrimination in American society. In the novel, Kiku notes that “the fine white American ladies and gentlemen have their own stores” (Uchida 25). ...
From early in the book, in 1917, racism already begins to rear its ugly head. Taro, a Japanese immigrant in America laments to his wife, Hana that “when the white men felt that we Asians were threatening their jobs, then words like ‘yellow peril’ began to appear in the newspapers and legislators began to discriminate against us” (Uchida 63). Feeling growing anxiety and insecurity about the American economy and stability of American jobs, Caucasian Americans complain about the influx of Japanese immigrants and the culture of picture brides. Although innocent of Japan’s actions during WWII, people of Japanese ancestry had to face further prejudice and violent racism because of the embattled times. Japanese in America were called the derogatory, ‘Japs.’ One white American called a Japanese, Henry Toda, just before he shot him, a “filthy, stinking Jap!” (Uchida 165). It is at this climactic point that things go even more awry among the Japanese resident in America. Clearly see that a differentiation was put between the Japanese identity and the American identity, for to be Japanese meant not being American. Patriotism descends to showing prejudice toward perceived common offenders. Not too long after, Japanese are forced to leave their homes because of suspicion of divided allegiance and anti-Americanism among them and consequently, the U.S government introduces the Presidential Executive Order 9066 in 1942 after the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941. The Presidential Executive Order 9066 (1941) reflects the anti-Japanese sentiment prevalent in the early 20th century. Even the law of the land reinforces segregation, thus legalizing discrimination and racism. The irony of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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