Tama, the Diary of a Japanese Girl

This book is old, coming out in 1919. It's actually a compilation of sections from various diaries kept by girls in an English school. The writing is all in English, but it's obviously done by people who have not mastered the language at all. Still, you can make out the vast majority of what the girls are saying, and some of it is done quite poetically.

The school is Union School, and it's a Christian school, so there are many references to the Bible, sermons, and quotes from the Bible throughout the writings.

There are also some people who sicken and die during the course of the year the diaries were kept, and there's even an earthquake. The girls also see a fire in Tokyo, but it does out relatively soon.

One girl was having problems getting married, since the birth registry that was kept said that her mother apparently had a sexual relation with a Buddhist monk, then ran off when the girl was around four. In Japan, birth registries are kept which are basically a person's genealogy, so that prospective spouses can check out the person's history and see if their lineage is acceptable.

For example, if a person is found to have a burukumin (an outcast) in their ancestry, then they will be dropped right off. This seems to be still done today.

The girls write about their outings, what they think about the weather, their friends, and things like that. Altogether, it's an interesting book.

Main Index

Internment Camp Index Page

Japan main page