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

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A great memoir that's beautifully designed and illustrated using vintage photos, postcards and ephemera. Published by our Seattle pals Chin Music Press.

From the publisher: 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 German great grandfather, who worked as a military adviser in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family’s poignant experiences of love and war help Helm learn to embrace his Japanese and American heritage.

Yokohama Yankee 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 Helm draws on his great grandfather’s unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.

The book also contains photographs, maps, illustrations, postcards and ephemera from the late 19th century to today, making it another Chin Music work of art.

"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