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Yoshiko Uchida

I apologize; I couldn't find a lot of information about Yoshiko Uchida's life, but I did get some on her books. She was born in Alameda, California, in 1922. When she was 12 years old, she visited Japan to see what some of her culture was like, for she was Japanese-American. However, once there, she didn't feel at home and didn't totally belong to their culture or the American culture. She was confused about how to feel. Then, during World War II, she was taken from the University of Berkeley in her senior year and sent to a Japanese-American internment camp where she suffered because of bigotry and racism. This was because Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese at the start of America's entrance into the war, and the United States simply didn't feel comfortable with people of Japanese lineage living freely in the United States with Japanese lineage. Because of her experiences, Yoshiko found it in herself to write books for children, usually about the Japanese-American experience.

In 1971, Yoshiko published Journey to Topaz. It was called Journey to Topaz because it concerns a Japanese family's experiences and conclusions at an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. In the novel, a young girl, Yuki, has to deal with feelings about the Japanese's bombing of Pearl Harbor and whether she is really American or Japanese. In the end, Yuki discovers that she's really truly both American and Japanese.

In 1982, Yoshiko published another book, this one called A Jar of Dreams. This book is about a girl, Rinki, and her relationship with her Aunt from Japan. Rinki has to deal with rascist attitudes against her father from some white men. In the end, her father confronts the men who had said the insults, and the white man ends up backing down. This novel was highly praised for its discussion of the Depression's integration problems.

Yoshiko's 1982 Desert Exile contained experiences and information on the interment camps that existed. Here are some pictures of hers that were in Desert Exile:

A San Francisco Examiner headline

The ferrying of the Japanese-Americans to the prison camps

These rapidly built shacks served as prisoner housing

A line of people waiting to get in the mess hall

Yoshiko died in 1992, about 70 years old.

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