Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Yokohama Yankee by Leslie Helm





Helm, Leslie. Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations As Outsiders in Japan. Seattle: Chin Music Press, 2013.

Journalist Leslie Helm explores his family's past. It began when a German ancestor immigrated to Japan. Even though his family is now part Japanese, part German, and part American, they have difficulty fitting in any culture. While the narrative does not follow chronological order, it is fairly smooth and workable transition for the reader. Leslie and his wife adopt Japanese children and are faced with some challenges from this as well. I would have liked to have seen more documentation (in the form of citations) in the book although I know that was not the best. The book included many photographs but the subjects and context were not identified. It is hoped this was remedied in the final version. I also caught a few typographical errors and even one instance of the wrong city being named (which was obviously incorrect because of the context). Hopefully, the editors caught these. This is a good introduction to what Japanese culture was like for outsiders throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in Japan. Persons with an interest in Japan will want to read this one. This book was received through LibraryThing Early Reviewers with the expectation that a review would be written.

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