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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.