Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back (Paperback)
Title: Daughters of the Samurai
The title intrigued me... Did these girls learn how to be female samurais? Well, no. BUT they became a special part of the changing Japanese history and culture in the late 1800s. I never thought about how and why Japan became the world power we see today and author Nimura brought this era to life with the stories of 5 little girls being sent to America.
Though only 3 completed theri education and their influence on the Japanese women upon theri return to Japan began. We think of the right to vote and equality but in Japan ion that changing time for them became a special hurdle. The girls were sent by the government to learn Enlgish, get an education, and learn western ways. this was to bring the new modern ideas to Japan who was going three politicsal changes.
The author blends the personal trials and lives of these 3 young women into a social/adventure/cultural/history story.
Wonderful learning experience of Japan and blends sensitivity of the times with a growing country.
Highly recommended!— From Linda
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.