Yamashita begins Circle K Circles with the concept of introducing the term of being “purely Japanese.” Yamashita is a Japanese American that has traced her father’s “family back fourteen generations” (Yamashita 11). By tracing both of her family’s lineage, Yamashita came to the conclusion that she was pure Japanese, “They were Meiji Japanese” (Yamashita 11), with no foreign blood. The only thing that was different was that she was a third generation American. When Karen moved back to Japan, she physically looked like a “typical American sansei from California” (Yamashita 11). As a result, it wasn’t unusual for her to be asked about her ancestry. When Yamashita relates her lineage to the questioner and justifies that her family had originated from Japan that they exclaim: “Ah, then you are a pure Japanese” (Yamashita 12)! It is here where Yamashita asks us “What could it mean to be a “pure Japanese” (Yamashita 12)?
... middle of paper ...
...we are given insight to how “unpure” Dekasegi’s are treated within Japan through Miss Hamamatsu and Ze Maria. Not only does Yamashita’s use of short stories, but she also uses form to show the clash of cultures. By using form we see how different conservative Japanese juxtaposed against the animated Brazilians. However, despite the Japanese need of trying to maintain “all things Japanese” we shown that Japanese is a language that isn’t pure in itself. Yamashita plays with the idea of impure language by hybridizing Japanese with Brazilian words. In the end, we are shown both that Japans advocating of keeping Japan pure, somewhat fails.
"Japanese Brazilian." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 17 Mar. 2011.
Yamashita, Karen Tei. Circle K Cycles. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House, 2001. Print.
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