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Picture Bride Stories


Japan Times On Sundayの書評を楽しみにしているのですが、先週号にはPicture Brideの方が紹介されていたんですね。映画Silenceのレビューに気をとられていました(汗)

‘Picture Bride Stories’: Stories of the resilient women who traded Japan for the cane fields of Hawaii
JAN 21, 2017
“I thought if there was a way to walk across the ocean (back) to Japan, I would have done so.” This is how Haruno Tazawa remembers her early experience as a “picture bride” — the name for the more than 20,000 women who, during the period of restricted immigration between 1908 and 1924, left Japan to marry Japanese men mainly in Hawaii after only seeing them in photographs.

In “Picture Bride Stories,” Barbara F. Kawakami interviews 16 of these women who sailed to Hawaii, including Tazawa. A rich tapestry of immigrant lives, the book is narrated with generous sweep and great anthropological detail. A recurring theme is the hardships many of the women endured on the sugar plantations where they worked. Often lacking any English skills, many brides traded their family homes for makeshift shacks and their full lifestyles for social isolation. On top of chores and child rearing, most women joined their husbands in the cane fields, learning that cutting cane in tropical heat was different from farm work in rural Japan.


Picture Bride Stories, by Barbara F. Kawakami.
298 pages
LATITUDE 20, Nonfiction.

During the 1885 to 1924 immigration period of plantation laborers from Japan to Hawaii, more than 200,000 Japanese, mostly single men, made the long journey by ship to the Hawaiian Islands. 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii, 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 persevered and endured the difficult conditions of the sugarcane and pineapple 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.

In addition to the oral histories the result of forty years of interviews the author provides substantial background on marriage customs and labor practices on the plantations.

Barbara F. Kawakami (nee Oyama) was born in Japan in 1921 and immigrated to Hawaii with her family when she was three months old. She learned to sew at a young age, and for thirty-eight years was a dressmaker a profession she continued after marriage while raising a family of three children. At age fifty-three, she entered college and earned a BS in fashion design and merchandising, and later an MA in Asian studies. Ms. Kawakami has been a researcher, writer, and consultant for a number of projects, including the film Picture Bride, released by Miramax Pictures in 1994. Her award-winning book, Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii 1885 1941, was published in 1993.


DenshoというサイトにもPicture Bridesを取り上げているものがありました。サイト名は「伝承」という日本語から来ているのでしょうか。

Picture brides
The term picture bride refers to a practice in the early twentieth century by immigrant workers who married women on the recommendation of a matchmaker who exchanged photographs between the prospective bride and groom. Arranged marriages were not unusual in Japan and originated in the warrior class of the late Tokugawa period (1603-1868). Men and women had different motivations for marrying or becoming a picture bride and despite these differences, these picture brides, or shashin hanayome, were critical to the establishment of the Japanese community in both Hawai'i and America.




今では現実的な仮定ではないですが、ほんの20年前はTOEICを知らない人が多数派でしたよね。そんな人にTOEICを説明するのに「英検みたいなもの」と説明していいものでしょうか?もちろんTOEIC愛を貫くTOEICkerに対して踏み絵を試そうとしているのではありませんのでご安心を。先ほどのJapan Timesの記事でキリスト教の神をどのように訳したのかという興味深いエピソードがあったのでふとこのようなことを考えました。Wikipediaにも載っていましたのでこちらをまず紹介します。


Japan Timesの記事では以下のようにありました。

Ferreira is speaking about an anomaly that was to color the fate of Christianity in Japan. The concept of God, under the guidance of Xavier’s illiterate Japanese guide, Anjiro, was introduced to the Japanese as “Dainichi” — or “Great Sun” — a manifestation of Buddha in Japan.

According to historian George Elison, Anjiro mistakenly told Xavier that “the Japanese believed in one personal God who punished the bad and rewarded the good, the creator of all things.” However, Xavier had only Anjiro to rely upon as a source of knowledge of Japanese culture, and he began his missionary career in the new land preaching the doctrine of Dainichi. It was only after discussions with Buddhist scholars revealed his error that Xavier switched to teaching the word of “Daiusu” — Deus — but the damage had already been done.

“The danger,” writes Elison in his seminal work “Deus Destroyed,” “was that old beliefs would remain tied to the adopted terminology, being submerged under the surface of the new terminology rather than erased.”



10 of the best places to go to avoid Christmas
Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Idea of Christmas fills you with dread? There are loads of places to escape the festive season, where December 25th is just like every other day. Hop on a plane and leave the horrors of present buying, TV specials and the Queen’s speech behind. Make your own Christmas cheers this year in one of these stunning, anti-Christmas, destinations...

1. Japan
Although you might see giant robotic Santas in Tokyo, Christmas is not traditionally celebrated in Japan. Instead, you can visit cities like Kyoto and Nara to sample traditional culture, head to Tokyo to immerse yourself in its futuristic cityscape or go to Hokkaido to sample some of the best powder snow in the world. And all this whilst enjoying the friendly and gracious hospitality of your Japanese hosts. Got to know Tokyo before you fly, check out our picture gallery of the Japanese capital.


Last ChristmasではなくFirstの話


Japan’s first Christmas
The first Noel, the Jesuits in Yamaguchi did say, was a 16th-century celebration in a converted Buddhist temple with midnight hymns


Words checked = [2226]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [77%]

Wikipediaでは以下のように書いていますが、この記事ではThis was Japan’s first Christmas on recordと慎重に書いています。記録がないだけでザビエルが滞在していた1549年と1552年の間にもクリスマスは実施されていたのではないかというのです。


This Christmas of 1552 is often called “Japan’s first Christmas.” That’s probably misleading. Xavier would almost certainly not have passed up the opportunity to celebrate a Christmas on Japanese soil between his arrival in Satsuma, today’s Kagoshima Prefecture, in 1549 and departure for India in 1552, according to historians Klaus Kracht and Katsumi Tateno-Kracht. There is just no record of such an event. De Alcacova’s letter, written to brethren back home in Portugal, is simply the first extant account of a Christmas celebrated in Japan.


Jesuit accounts of Japanese Christmases in subsequent years follow roughly the same pattern.

“High-class men and women assembled in great numbers in the priestly residence,” missionary Duarte da Silva writes in a letter about the Japanese Christmas of 1553, also in Yamaguchi City. “From one in the morning, they listened to stories from the Bible — hearing of the creation of heaven and Earth and of man’s sin, then of Noah’s flood, the separation of languages, the beginning of idol worship, the destruction of Sodom, the story of Nineveh, the story of Joseph’s son of Jacob, the Babylonian captivity, the 10 commandments of Moses and the flight from Egypt, then of the prophet Elisha, Judith, Nebuchadnezzar’s statue — according to the ages — and finally the story of Daniel brought us into the dead of night.” Such protracted instruction in Old Testament storytelling was meant to bring home the necessity of Christ’s advent — which the Japanese converts learned about during the second half of the night.

Japan Times On SundayはTimeは毎週日本のトピックを取り上げた読み応えのある記事を読めるのでいいですね。

Blue pill or Red pill


Is the Eiken doing Japan’s English learners more harm than good?
Only show author if their role is equal to author


The Eiken tests have traditionally been seen as the standard for English proficiency certification in Japan, and a ticket to a well-paying job. Hundreds of thousands of people pass the tests every year, which makes you wonder where they are all hiding, as proficient English speakers can seem few and far between in this country.

The Eiken tests, which are backed by the ministry of education, are designed and administered by Eikyo, the Eiken Foundation of Japan (formerly the Society for Testing English Proficiency), a public-interest incorporated foundation established in 1963 and based in Tokyo. Many employers see the certificate as a valuable asset in a prospective employee’s portfolio, and cram schools offer courses dedicated to Eiken test preparation.


まあ、そのあたりの感想はいろいろあるでしょうから、自分は最後の最後にあるI would begin to consider taking the red pill and looking that future in the eye.という表現に注目したいと思います。

“But now we are rapidly moving towards a world with shrinking distances, virtual-reality commuting, automated factories and workplaces, and jobs that don’t even have names yet. Who will ask for a person who can only function in a world where everything is predictable, including what is said, and the responses to what is said? How much is a paper that certifies such a skill worth then? If I was in charge of designing the Eiken, I would begin to consider taking the red pill and looking that future in the eye.”


ずいぶん前にブログで取り上げたものですが、マトリックスのBlue pill or red pillを念頭にした表現かもしれないなと思いました。マトリクッスでは赤いカプセルを飲むとマトリックスの世界から目覚めて現実の中で戦うんですよね。

Morpheus: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. (a red pill is shown in his other hand) You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

マトリクッスを踏まえているとすればI would begin to consider taking the red pill and looking that future in the eye.という表現も腑に落ちますよね。red pillは現実に目覚める薬。自分か英検の担当になればもっと現実に即した試験にするという意味になるからです。

こういのは知らないとピンとこないですよね。まあこういうのがあるから、英語学習者のほとんどがノイズを排除した居心地のよい試験空間にこもるのでしょう。そんな人たちはred pillを飲まずにblue pillを飲んでしまったに違いありません。



The Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters (松代大本営跡 Matsushiro Daihon'ei Ato?, lit. Matsushiro Imperial Headquarters Site) was a large underground bunker complex built during the Second World War in the town of Matsushiro, which is now a suburb of Nagano, Japan.[1] The facility was constructed so that the central organs of government of Imperial Japan could be transferred there. In its construction, three mountains that were symbolic of the Matsushiro municipality were damaged.
Parts of the caves are open to the public today, and are operated as a tourist attraction by Nagano.

Stroll through history: Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters in Japan
By Yuka Matsumoto
The Japan News/Asia News Network | Tue, May 19 2015





Time wears on Imperial shelter / Rooms where Emperor Showa made war-ending decisions
5:00 am, August 01, 2015
The Yomiuri Shimbun

1945 Imperial broadcast heard anew
5:03 am, August 01, 2015
The Yomiuri Shimbun


POINT OF VIEW: Bunker complex offers Japan a chance to face up to its wartime history
December 09, 2013

World War II had finished just two years earlier and Emperor Hirohito was on a tour of Nagano Prefecture.

At one point during his visit, according to a contemporary news account, he asked, "I understand that during the war a useless hole was dug around here, but where exactly was it?"

Torao Hayashi, the governor of Nagano who was escorting the emperor on the October 1947 trip, responded, "At the base of the mountains of Matsushiro that you see in front of you is what remains of the digging for the imperial military headquarters."

That "useless hole"--actually a vast tunnel complex in the Matsushiro suburb of Nagano Prefecture--still exists. The site reflected the last-stand mentality of Japan at the time, and was to serve as the military and government headquarters in the southern part of Nagano city.