Asian American

History Changes Lives

Asian Americans have come a long way from the racially prejudiced days that they went through to be accepted in America when they first migrated to this land. Through a lot of collective movements, hard work and political influence, they have gained a lot more in terms of acceptance and equality then a couple decades ago. However, a lot of issues remain to be tackled that restrict Asian American opportunities in America because of the system of hierarchy and “model minority” status that is still labeled on the Asian American population. The system limiting these opportunities needs to be fought in the same manner as it was in the earlier decades to gain recognition and equality, and fairness in representation in America. Hisaye Yamamoto’s “The Legend of Miss Sasagawara” reveals the damaging psychological effect that a United States government decision had on thousands of individuals confined to internment camps.   Forced to relinquish their most valued possessions and adjust to harsh living conditions, Japanese internees could not go back to how they once lived—even after being released from the internment camps. On the other hand, during the 80’s, the murder of a twenty-seven year old Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, spurred controversy America Over, as his perpetrator, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz walked away as practically free men. Through comparing and contrasting [Who killed Vincent Chin] and [The Legend of Miss Sasagawara], one can identify a historical narrative of trauma & repression and also appreciate the Asian American movement in terms of the courage to strive for equality.

Hisaye Yamamoto’s “The Legend of Miss Sasagawara” depicts the life of a woman tormented by her own thoughts and her struggles to live a life free from oppression, mainly her confinement to the internment camp and her Buddhist father’s obsession with achieving Nirvana.   Yamamoto uses descriptive imagery to give the reader a clear picture of each...