Abstract

Abstract:

Ayako Ishigaki's Restless Wave: My Life in Two Worlds (1940) is one of the first life writing texts published in English by a Japanese immigrant woman in the United States. This memoir gives its readers insight into the pioneering feminist struggles of many women crossing the Pacific at the beginning of the twentieth century. It offers tremendous understanding of how these women found methods of resistance and agency in highly patriarchal societies as well as xenophobic and sexist environments on both sides of the Pacific. Set during a time when immigrant women from Japan were seen as prostitutes or picture brides and their contributions to the building of a Japanese American community were often ignored, Restless Wave presents a powerful narrative of women migrants' lives. In its reflections on gender, race, class, and citizenship status, it constitutes an early articulation of intersectionality by women of color, demonstrating that identities and forms of oppression are interlaced, and that any intersectional analysis must take nationality into consideration. This article calls attention to a work that has, so far, been mostly overlooked, and it proposes an investigation of immigration from Japan that is attentive to women's voices.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 51-71
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-18
Open Access
No
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