In the 1800s, a common struggle exists for Asian Americans in the United States, specifically the Chinese and Japanese. The term, identity is recognized through numerous events overtime and these events include the role of Asian Americans shaping the history of America. It took countless years for early Chinese and Japanese individuals to be accepted into American lifestyles, let alone be acknowledged of their own identities. There are many similarities, yet many differences between Chinese and Japanese communities, as shown in Hisaye Yamamoto’s short story “Seventeen Syllables” and Ronald Takaki’s excerpt “Gam Saan Haak”.
Hisaye Yamamoto’s “Seventeen Syllables” expresses the significance behind difficulties faced by Japanese immigrants to the United States, as well as the racial separation between these immigrants and their families. The Japanese immigrant experience many obstacles, such as poverty and unstable marriages. Yamamoto’s story implicates a teenager and her mother, Tome Hayashi who takes an interest in writing haiku for the Japanese language paper in San Francisco. Her daughter however is practically illiterate to speaking Japanese, which is ironic since that is her culture and furthermore, fails to understand the haiku her mother writes. “See Rosie, she said, it was a haiku, a poem in which she must pack all the meaning into seventeen syllables” (Yamamoto 154). This is an interesting aspect in a sense that while Tome expresses her relevance on haikus, Rosie pretends to understand the concept and meanings of her mother’s learning, but realistically she refuses to comprehend.
More importantly, Tome Hayashi only took an interest in haiku to overcome everything that she went through. The truth was revealed when Tome admits to telling Rosie of her past. As her mother told her the story, Tome remained in control of her life, which is extremely difficult after gathering that she faced horrible memories. Rosie was shocked to believe such things, “Her...
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