Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

by Janice P. Nimura
Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

by Janice P. Nimura


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A Seattle Times Best Book of the Year
A Buzzfeed Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

"Nimura paints history in cinematic strokes and brings a forgotten story to vivid, unforgettable life." —Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha

In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan.

Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors—Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda—grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became celebrities, their travels and traditional clothing exclaimed over by newspapers across the nation. As they learned English and Western customs, their American friends grew to love them for their high spirits and intellectual brilliance.

The passionate relationships they formed reveal an intimate world of cross-cultural fascination and connection. Ten years later, they returned to Japan—a land grown foreign to them—determined to revolutionize women’s education.

Based on in-depth archival research in Japan and in the United States, including decades of letters from between the three women and their American host families, Daughters of the Samurai is beautifully, cinematically written, a fascinating lens through which to view an extraordinary historical moment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393077995
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/04/2015
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Janice P. Nimura is the winner of a 2017 Public Scholar award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the author of the New York Times bestselling The Doctors Blackwell and Daughters of the Samurai, a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Author's Note 11

Prologue 15

Part I

1 Samurai Daughter 19

2 The War Of The Year Of The Dragon 32

3 "A Little Leaven" 42

4 "An Expedition Of Practical Observers" 55

Part II

5 "Interesting Strangers" 69

6 Finding Families 97

7 Growing Up American 108

8 At Vassar 127

9 The Journey "Home" 144

Part III

10 Two Weddings 161

11 Getting Along Alone 183

12 Alice in Tokyo 208

13 Advances and Retreats 225

14 The Women's Home School of English 246

15 Endings 269

Acknowledgments 279

Notes 281

Bibliography 313

Credits 321

Index 323

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