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Picture Bride by Yoshiko Uchida

Picture Bride (1987)

by Yoshiko Uchida

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Hana Omiya has left Japan and arrived in San Francisco, California.

In the early 20th century, she is one of many Japanese "picture brides",
facing an arranged marriage to a groom she knew only through photograph.

In all fairness, there may also have been "family recommendations of the possible candidates."

Resembling traditional matchmaking, it also bears some similarity to the concept of mail order bride.


The tale begins with Hana in 1917 and winds to a close when" West Coast Japanese Americans are uprooted from their homes and imprisoned in desert detention camps."

I felt it was a realistic historical experience and a compelling look into the minds and hearts of these Japanese immigrants.

I didn't expect such a touching portrayal....
I'm happy with the time I spent and the insight it provided.

4.5 ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 14, 2015 |
In 1917, the headstrong Hana, educated through upper school, leaves her home village where she sees little future for herself, and travels to Oakland, CA, to marry Toda, a shopkeeper. She finds what most picture brides find: that the golden mountain is hardship, disappointment, denigration and difficulty. She loses her first love, Toda’s best friend (an odd side story that seemed pointless), her first son prematurely born, and the two muddle through with a daughter who is quintessentially Nissei, and leaves them by marrying an Italian American. They manage to scrape together a life and a home by hard work, only to be interned at Tanforan race track, and then to the desert in Utah. Toda dies there, shot as he walks too close to a fence. In fact, all the men characters die senselessly, except the youth. This isn’t a new story and it fails to rise above the horizon of stereotype and a tale more than twice told. With flat language and characters who don’t seem to stick to the page, the book feels sentimental and nostalgic rather than a study of true people who lived through this time and for whom we can really care about. ( )
  sungene | Apr 25, 2009 |
Picture Bride is by Yoshiko Uchida. The story is about a twenty-one-year-old woman named Hana Omiya. Hana is from Japan and has come to America to marry a man she has never meet before named Taro Takeda. Their marriage has been arranged through Taro’s uncle and Hana’s parents. She has seen a picture of him and has heard stories of his success and wealth; but knows nothing more about him, only that he also has a picture of her.
When Hana and Taro finally meet for the first time, Hana was disappointed. She was surprised to see that Taro was already turning bald, not handsome, and looked like he was older then thirty-one. In the beginning of the book Hana finds she is unhappy and in love with another man. But as time passes she discovers that Taro loves her more than anyone else. Hana and Taro raise a child who they love but she disappoints them at the end. After the bombing in Pearl Harbor, they are sent to desert camps to wait out the war. Can both of them make it through the challenges of the Influenza and more that may come?
The theme of the story is courage because she was brave enough to go marry a man she has never met and be able to have a happy life with him. Also I think it could be culture clash because In California, Hana finds that everything about her seems to be out of place. Her clothes are all wrong; her language is not understood; even the smell of her favorite foods annoys others. Her intelligence is belittled because she speaks a foreign language and cannot fully express herself, and her fine Japanese graces are mocked because they are different from American manners.

I really enjoyed this book, and thought it was great even though it was sad. It showed the hard work, courage, and prejudice they faced. I thought this book was fantastic! I thought this book was going to be boring but instead I found it to be a great book. I might have started reading slow but as I started reading more and more I got hooked to the book and found it to be good and interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good book with time on their hand. I also recommend this book to anyone who likes reading books with history in it. If you want to know more about the book then READ IT!
  BMTH | Feb 11, 2009 |
I read this the summer before senior year in high school as summer reading. It's really great piece for young adults and anyone interested in the history of women in America or Asian/Asian American history. It's a fairly easy read although very enjoyable and not a fluff piece. ( )
  TheOnlyMe | Jan 25, 2009 |
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In memory

of those brave women

from Japan

who travelled far,

who endured,

and who prevailed
First words
Hana Omiya stood at the railing of the small ship that shuddered toward America in a turbulent November sea.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Carrying a photograph of the man she is to marry but has yet to meet, young Hana Omiya arrives in San Francisco, California, in 1917, one of several hundred Japanese "picture brides" whose arranged marriages brought them to America in the early 1900s.

Her story is intertwined with others: her husband, Taro Takeda, an Oakland shopkeeper; Kiku and her husband Henry, who reject demeaning city work to become farmers; Dr. Kaneda, a respected community leader who is destroyed by the adopted land he loves. All are caught up in the cruel turmoil of World War II, when West Coast Japanese Americans are uprooted from their homes and imprisoned in desert detention camps. Although tragedy strikes each of them, the same spirit and strength that brought her to America enable Hana to survive. [from the back cover]
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Hana Omiya arrives in San Francisco, California, in 1917 to marry Taro Takeda, an Oakland shopkeeper. Together they build a business and home, raise a daughter, and find tragedy when sent to a detention camp during World War II.

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