Between 1908 and 1928, young women ventured across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Canada with dreams of a happily ever after with a spouse most had never met but pinned their hopes on from a photo. Their reality, however, was far from fairy tale. Outside of a handful of academic and community essays, and even fewer temporary exhibits, the Japanese Canadian picture bride story is not prominent in the telling of Nikkei heritage. PICTURE BRIDES 写婚妻, a new e-book in English, aims to shed light on this history. Originally written in Japanese and published in Japan by Miyoko Kudo in 1983, 13 first-person stories are narrated in great detail. Thanks to the translation skills of Fumihiko Torigai of the Japanese Canadian Association of Yukon, copy editing by Ellen Schwartz, photo research by Linda Kawamoto Reid, and e-book design by Laura Suzuki, these stories are now available to all readers of English. As Miyoko Kudo pens in her updated preface to the e-book, “This English edition will enable Japanese Canadians, including all of the descendants of picture brides whose native tongue is English, to read and find out the life stories of their ancestors and predecessors as well as the historical background in which they lived their lives.”
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the NAJC for the production of this book.
Available for free download: