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Woman from Hiroshima (book)

Creators: Toshio Mori


Novel by Toshio Mori written in the first-person voice of an Issei woman telling her life story to two grandchildren shortly after World War II.

The unnamed title character begins her story with leaving her village in Hiroshima to join her husband in San Francisco. After some difficulty adjusting to life in America—and missing the son she had left behind in Japan—she comes to enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere of San Francisco, though she is disillusioned when she learns of the rampant anti-Japanese prejudice. Eventually, she and husband buy a bathhouse in Oakland, and they have six more children. They later sell the bathhouse and buy a flower nursery, which the children help with as they grow up. After the sudden death of her husband, World War II breaks out, and the family is forcibly removed and incarcerated at Tanforan Assembly Center and the Topaz , Utah, concentration camp. Two of her sons serve in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and several others "resettle" in Chicago . After the war, she returns to the farm with a son and daughter-in-law and visits a son wounded in the war in a nearby hospital. Along the way, she recounts various colorful characters she encounters, tells stories of children growing up and facing adulthood, and shares pieces of homespun philosophy with her grandchildren.

Mori (1910–80) was one of the most acclaimed Japanese American short story writers and the first to publish a collection of stories, Yokohama, California , in 1949. He incorporates several pieces written and published during and shortly after the war into this, his only published novel; these include The Man with the Bulging Pockets (1944), The Remembered Days (1949), Join Me in Laughter (1950), and Homecoming (1952). Many aspects of the story are seemingly autobiographical. Like the parents in the book, Mori's were from Hiroshima and also owned a bathhouse and nursery. Mori had a brother wounded while serving in the 442nd, and one of the sons in the book aspires to be a writer. Mori dedicates Women from Hiroshima to his mother.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Unfinished Message: Selected Works of Toshio Mori by Toshio Mori; Seventeen Stories and Other Stories by Hisaye Yamamoto; Enemy Alien by Kiyo Hirano

Media Details
Author Toshio Mori
Pages 131
Publication Date 1978