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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



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1 Beaverton Ethnic Studies- Asian American

Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan

by

Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"A lovely, unsettling family story and a vivid traversal of modern Japanese history that will impress the jaded Japan scholar and inspire the curious general reader or memoir fan." — Library Journal

Helm was the Tokyo correspondent for the Los Angeles Times when he realized that the majority of the articles he had written were "critical of Japan in some way." This was surprising considering Helm was born in Japan and is part Japanese himself. In this lovingly researched memoir, he sifts through five generations of Helms living in Japan...history buffs will relish Helm's painstaking detail and impressive command of the material. — Publishers Weekly

"Yokohama Yankee is a marvelous and eloquent work of family history. What makes it more remarkable is this family's history also sheds light on the political, economic, cultural, and racial interactions and tensions between Japan and the United States for more than a century and a half, right up to the present day. This is a humane and insightful book that will be read many years from now." — James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of China Airborne

“Like a sword cleaving a bittersweet fruit, Leslie Helms saga of his mixed-blood family in Japan cuts to the inescapable isolation of being white in a country where blood still means so much. Yokohama Yankee is a painfully intimate story that spans more than a century and brings the wrenching history of modern Japan into a focus that is both razor sharp and deeply human.” — Blaine Harden, author of Escape from Camp 14 and former Tokyo bureau chief of The Washington Post

“Leslie Helm has written a lively and engaging account of his remarkable family history and its intertwining with Japan ... It is a warm and human story that will charm its readers.” — Kenneth B. Pyle, Henry M. Jackson professor of Asian history and Asian studies, University of Washington, and recipient of Japans Order of the Rising Sun

One of the finest correspondents to have reported on Japan, Leslie Helm tells the riveting, sometimes painful story of his multinational, biracial merchant family. Living in Yokohama for generations in war and peace, the Helms are at the heart of Japan's long modern history without ever actually becoming ‘Japanese.” — Sheldon Garon, Nissan professor of Japanese history at Princeton University

"Helm mines the many treasures of his family's past, and the multicultural futures of his adopted, Japanese children, to investigate the mysteries of identity that are locked away inside all of us. The family fortune disappears, and relatives scatter in the winds of war and reconstruction. But this lovely story remains, about an erudite man trying to make sense of the world, of the past, and of himself." — Alex Beam, Boston Globe columnist

“[A] wonderful work full of pathos, insight and humanity.” — Fred G. Notehelfer, emeritus professor of Japanese history at UCLA and author of Japan Through American Eyes: The Journal of Francis Hall, 1859-1866

Leslie Helm's decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family's 140 years in Japan, beginning with his great-grandfather, who worked as a military advisor in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family's poignant experiences of love and war help Helm overcome his cynicism and embrace his Japanese and American heritage.

This is the first book to look at Japan across five generations, with perspective that is both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws on his great-grandfather's unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.

Review:

"Helm was the Tokyo correspondent for the Los Angeles Times when he realized that the majority of the articles he had written were 'critical of Japan in some way.' This was surprising considering Helm was born in Japan and is part Japanese himself. In this lovingly researched memoir, he sifts through five generations of Helms living in Japan. The first, Julius, arrived in Japan by way of Germany in 1869. Having missed his boat to China by 'the length of nose,' Julius whimsically 'booked passage on the next ship, which happened to be headed for Yokohama.' After a brief stint training former samurai to fight like 'Prussians', Julius married a Japanese woman, a highly unusual arrangement for the time. The Helm family story certainly wends an interesting course through history — from the Meiji Restoration through the World Wars — history buffs will relish Helm's painstaking detail and impressive command of the material. Some of the most endearing and personal scenes interwoven throughout the book are of Helm and his wife's process of adopting two Japanese children, Mariko and Eric. Through joys and anxieties, the present-day Helms examine what family ties really mean. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A sweeping memoir about a foreign family's five generations as outsiders in Japan.

Synopsis:

Leslie D. Helm's decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family's 140 years in Japan, beginning with his great-grandfather, who worked as a military advisor in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family's poignant experiences of love and war help Helm overcome his cynicism and embrace his Japanese and American heritage.

This is the first book to look at Japan across five generations, with perspective that is both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws on his great-grandfather's unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.

Leslie D. Helm is a veteran foreign correspondent, having served eight years in Tokyo for Business Week and the Los Angeles Times. Currently, he is editor of Seattle Business, a monthly magazine that has won multiple first place excellence in journalism awards in the Pacific Northwest. Helm earned a master's degree in journalism from the Columbia University School of Journalism and in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, where his family has lived since 1868.

About the Author

Leslie Helm is a veteran reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience working for local and national publications. Currently, he is the editor of Seattle Business, a monthly magazine. He also served as executive editor of Washington CEO Magazine. Helm began his career with Business Week, reporting for the magazine first as Tokyo correspondent and later as Boston bureau chief. He returned to Tokyo to cover Japan and Korea as correspondent for The Los Angeles Times before moving to Seattle for the Times to cover business in the Northwest. Helm earned a master of science from the Columbia University School of Journalism. He also has a bachelors degree in political science and a master of arts in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Helm was born and raised in Japan and speaks fluent French and Japanese.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780984457663
Author:
Helm, Leslie
Publisher:
Chin Music
Author:
Helm, Leslie D.
Subject:
Travel-Japan
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20130331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Color photos, BandW photos throughout, B
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Biography
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Asian American
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Immigration
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Japanese American
History and Social Science » World History » Japan
Travel » Asia » Japan

Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Chin Music - English 9780984457663 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Helm was the Tokyo correspondent for the Los Angeles Times when he realized that the majority of the articles he had written were 'critical of Japan in some way.' This was surprising considering Helm was born in Japan and is part Japanese himself. In this lovingly researched memoir, he sifts through five generations of Helms living in Japan. The first, Julius, arrived in Japan by way of Germany in 1869. Having missed his boat to China by 'the length of nose,' Julius whimsically 'booked passage on the next ship, which happened to be headed for Yokohama.' After a brief stint training former samurai to fight like 'Prussians', Julius married a Japanese woman, a highly unusual arrangement for the time. The Helm family story certainly wends an interesting course through history — from the Meiji Restoration through the World Wars — history buffs will relish Helm's painstaking detail and impressive command of the material. Some of the most endearing and personal scenes interwoven throughout the book are of Helm and his wife's process of adopting two Japanese children, Mariko and Eric. Through joys and anxieties, the present-day Helms examine what family ties really mean. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
A sweeping memoir about a foreign family's five generations as outsiders in Japan.
"Synopsis" by ,

Leslie D. Helm's decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family's 140 years in Japan, beginning with his great-grandfather, who worked as a military advisor in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family's poignant experiences of love and war help Helm overcome his cynicism and embrace his Japanese and American heritage.

This is the first book to look at Japan across five generations, with perspective that is both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws on his great-grandfather's unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.

Leslie D. Helm is a veteran foreign correspondent, having served eight years in Tokyo for Business Week and the Los Angeles Times. Currently, he is editor of Seattle Business, a monthly magazine that has won multiple first place excellence in journalism awards in the Pacific Northwest. Helm earned a master's degree in journalism from the Columbia University School of Journalism and in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, where his family has lived since 1868.

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