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The American Diary of a Japanese Girl

An Annotated Edition

Edward Marx

Publication Year: 2007

The first American novel by a writer of Japanese ancestry, The American Diary of a Japanese Girl is a landmark of modern American fiction and Japanese American transnationalism. First published in 1902, Yone Noguchi's novel describes the turn-of-the-century adventures of Tokyo belle Miss Morning Glory in a first-person narrative that The New York Times called "perfectly ingenuous and unconventional." Initially published as an authentic journal, the Diary was later revealed to be a playful autobiographical fiction written by a man. No less than her creator, Miss Morning Glory delights in disguises, unabashedly switching gender, class, and ethnic roles. Targeting the American fantasy of Madame Butterfly, Noguchi's New Woman heroine prays for "something more decent than a marriage offer," and freely dispenses her insights on Japanese culture and American lifestyles. With the addition of perceptive critical commentary and comprehensive notes, this first annotated edition sheds new light on the creative inventiveness of an important modernist writer.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

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Introduction by Laura E. Franey

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pp. vii-xx

THE AMERICAN DIARY OF A JAPANESE GIRL is both an entertaining book and one that deserves a special place in the history of American literature. The fi rst long work of prose fi ction by a person of Japanese descent in the United States, it counters the romanticized images of Japan and the infantilization...

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Notes to this Edition

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pp. xxi

Our text of The American Diary of a Japanese Girl follows the fi rst edition published by Frederick A. Stokes in 1902 with a few relatively minor corrections: We have capitalized the name “Kikugoro” (77), substituted the date “7th” for “17th” (100), replaced “enshin” with “Enshiu” (135), and...

The American Diary of a Japanese Girl by Yone Noguchi

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Before I Sailed

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pp. 3-12

My new page of life is dawning. A trip beyond the seas—Meriken Kenbutsu—it’s not an ordinary event. It is verily the fi rst event in our family history that I could trace back for six centuries. My to-day’s dream of America—dream of a butterfly sipping on golden dews—was rudely broken by the artless chirrup of a hundred...

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On the Ocean

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pp. 13-17

Good-night—native land! Farewell, beloved Empress of Dai Nippon! 12th—The tossing spectacle of the waters (also the hostile smell of the ship) put my head in a whirl before the “Belgic” left the wharf. The last five days...

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In Amerikey

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pp. 18-130

“Good-Bye, Mr. Belgic!” I delight in personifying everything as a gentleman. What does it mean under the sun! Kitsune ni tsukamareta wa! Evil fox, I suppose, got hold of me. “Gentlemen, is this real Amerikey?” I exclaimed. Oya, ma, my Meriken...

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Afterword by Edward Marx

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pp. 131-152

IN THE EARLY SUMMER OF 1901, Noguchi left the “cozy and nice room” on Manhattan’s prestigious Riverside Drive he had occupied rent free since November and moved to 41 East 19th Street, two blocks north of Union Square, a building he later described to Charles Warren Stoddard as “a Jap boarding...

Notes to the Introduction

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pp. 153-155

Notes to the Text

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pp. 156-191

Notes to the Afterword

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pp. 192-195

Works Cited

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pp. 196-202

E-ISBN-13: 9781592135561
Print-ISBN-13: 9781592135554

Publication Year: 2007