Yayoi Lena Winfrey

Yayoi L. Winfrey grew up in Japan, Europe, and North America. Following a career in illustration and graphic design, she turned to journalism with a focus on arts and entertainment for communities of color. While living in California in 1996, she began pursing filmmaking. Today, Yayoi resides in Honolulu where she continues to write features and fiction, and make movies.

Updated August 2016

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The Stories of the ‘War Brides’ of Japan Need to Be Told

One day in the early 1980s, my Japanese mother took my sister and me to an International District gift shop. A middle-aged Japanese American man working there glanced briefly towards us, before turning away apathetically. His body language seemed to indicate a reluctance to wait on us. I looked at my mother and, without the necessity of my uttering a single word, she said, “He not like me.” 

Then, pointing at us, her two half-black daughters, she declared in her broken English, “He see I have you two. He know I am war bride.” 

Even though I’d heard her ...

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