Following the end of World War II, more than 45,000 young Japanese women married American GIs and came to the United States to embark upon new lives among strangers. The mother of Kathryn Tolbert, a former long-time journalist with The Washington Post, was one of them.
Tolbert noted, “I knew there was a story in my mother’s journey from wartime Japan to an upstate New York poultry farm. In order to tell it, I teamed up with journalists Lucy Craft and Karen Kasmauski, whose mothers were also Japanese war brides, to make a short documentary film through a mother-daughter lens. Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides was released in August 2015 and premiered on BBC World Television.”
Tolbert spent a year traveling the country to record interviews, funded by a Time Out grant from her alma mater, Vassar College. The Japanese War Brides Oral History Archive is the result of her interviews. The Oral History Archive documents an important chapter of U.S. immigration history that is largely unknown and usually left out of the broader Japanese American experience. In these oral histories, Japanese immigrant women reflect on their lives in postwar Japan, their journeys across the Pacific, and their experiences living in the United States.
Join Kathryn Tolbert as she describes bringing the legacy of these stories to life through the documentary film, oral history archive project, and upcoming Smithsonian traveling exhibit. Waka Takahashi Brown, SPICE curriculum writer, will also share an overview of the teacher’s guide that she developed to accompany the documentary film, which is available to download for free from the SPICE website.
To attend, register here.
This webinar is sponsored by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), and the USC U.S.-China Institute.
Kathryn Tolbert is a former editor and reporter on the Metro, National and Foreign desks, a correspondent in Tokyo and director of recruiting and hiring at The Washington Post. She has also worked for The Boston Globe and the Associated Press. In addition, she has written about Japanese women who married American servicemen after World War II and co-directed the film Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides. Tolbert is a graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Political Science and an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Waka Takahashi Brown is an educator and writer. She manages and teaches Stanford e-Japan for SPICE and has authored curriculum on several international topics. She is the recipient of the Association for Asian Studies’ national Franklin Buchanan Prize, and has also been awarded the 2019 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher award for her groundbreaking endeavors in teaching about U.S.–Japan relations to high school students in Japan and promoting cultural exchange awareness. In addition, Brown has authored three middle-grade novels: While I Was Away; Dream, Annie, Dream; and The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura. She is a Stanford graduate with a BA in International Relations and an MA in Secondary Education.