Songs My Mother Taught Me

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Wakako Yamauchi

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Garrett Hongo

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Songs My Mother Taught Me

Stories, Plays, and Memoir
Wakako Yamauchi. Edited by Garrett Hongo.

Introduction by Garrett Hongo. Afterword by Valerie Miner.

Illuminating the neglected social and emotional history of two generations of Japanese in the United States, Yamauchi recalls the harsh lives and moving dreams of rural immigrants, tenant farmers, and factory workers. Her stories and plays recreate the brutal wartime relocation of Japanese Americans and their postwar return to urban centers.

"Wakako Yamauchi is resplendent heroine to generations of Asian-Americans, whose hearts she knows. She sustains our lives as readers and theatergoers. Her impact on story and the stage is so strong it is amazing, the subtle feelings and states of mind she gives us. That her work has been collected at last befits her stature as a classic."

—Maxine Hong Kingston

"Wakako Yamauchi's stories are wonderful! She is a superb master of the wistful and the poignant. Her themes—love unconsummated, opportunities missed, 'songs of longing' and resignation, of restraint and its psychic cost, of despair and renewal of hope—are handled with consummate skill, presented with beauty and grace. Their resonance and significance—as with all lasting literature—extend to all people, everywhere. Wakako Yamauchi is one of our classic authors."

—Amy Ling, Director, Asian American Studies Program, University of Wisconsin at Madison