Ann Curry discovers her Japanese roots

Today Show’s Ann Curry takes an emotional journey to the remote village in Japan where her mother grew up. The trip helps Ann remember her parents and connect with her Japanese roots. HAPA Ann Curry was born in Guam to a Japanese mother and a father of predominantly French and Scots-Irish descent.

Ann Curry discovers her roots

2 thoughts on “Ann Curry discovers her Japanese roots

  1. lia

    I was touched by this. My mother also married an American serviceman during the US occupation of Japan, and like Ann’s mother, my mom never really mastered English–it was always “Mama-go” or Mom’s language, a mix of Japanese and English. I went on to teach and study in Japan, eventually earning a PhD from Yale in the anthropology of Japan, which I have taught for over a decade. As Ann said, Japanese do not hug, so I cringed each time she reached over to embrace a relative! But from the relatives’ perspective, this is natural because they see Ann as their American cousin. The honesty of the encounter, as well as the poignancy of the fact that her mother did not often return to Japan, moved me. My mother, too, did not see her home for 13 years, at last seeing her mother only when her mother was on her death bed. Very sad–and there are many other such sad stories about the lives of Japanese women who married American soldiers. Yes, they had good lives in the US, but they had to give up more than we can ever know by leaving Japan in the 1950s. Once here, they were both welcomed and discriminated against by many as “the enemy”, including by the families of the men they married. My mother had some very sad storeis to tell. My next book is on this topic, so I would love to hear from Ann and other Japanese American children of so-called warbrides from Japan. The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, where I am affiliated, will have an exhibit on the topic in 2012.

    Thanks, Ann!

  2. al

    By how she interacted with her mother, it actually doesn’t appear that she even knew her. I’m half Japanese myself and have met all types of half Japanese and half Americans living in Japan and the US. It’s strange.. some had Japanese mothers that were more like a maid, that they never really talked to much because they were busy with school, friends and then graduated and left. They never knew more than how to count to 10 in Japanese. Ann Curry seems to have fallen into this situation. Others I know were fluent in both languages, then others who didn’t know their fathers only spoke Japanese. Japanese have a hard time learning english for some reason, maybe a cultural shyness. Americans have a hard time learning Japanese, probably because of the same cultural shyness on the part of Japanese.. it’s not easy to get into deeper conversations due to their unwillingness to express their opinions or offend. Ann seems like she met her mom for the first time, like her childhood flew by and now she was trying to figure out what happened.

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