BCB The Daughter of the Samurai


A young Japanese woman leaves the only home she’s ever known for married life in nineteenth-century Ohio in a delightful and charming memoir about learning your own strengths and finding your way between two cultures.

Born into a high-ranking samurai family at the onset of the Meiji period, Etsu Sugimoto is originally destined to be a Buddhist priestess. She grows up as a curly-haired tomboy in Echigo, a beloved daughter of a traditional family, certain of her future role in her community. But her life changes when, as a young teenager, she is instead engaged to a Japanese merchant in Cincinnati. As a result, Etsu undertakes a new education—one focused on learning English as well as the traditional duties and ways of a Japanese wife, knowing that she will have to leave the only world she has ever known for life in the United States.

Keenly intelligent and observant, Etsu arrives in Ohio as a bright-eyed twenty-six-year-old, puzzled by the differences between the two cultures and alive to the contradictions, ironies, and beauties of both. Her memoir, reprinted for the first time in decades, is a tribute to the struggles of the first generation of Japanese immigrants and the unforgettable story of a strong and determined woman.