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Monica Sone (b. Kazuko Itoi, 1919 in Seattle, Washingtonmarker) is a Japanese American writer, best known for her 1953 autobiographical memoir Nisei Daughter, which tells of the Japanese American experience in Seattle during the 1920s and 30s, and in the World War II internment camps and which is an important text in Asian American Studies courses.


Sone grew up in Seattle, where her parents, immigrants from Japan, managed a hotel. Like many Japanese American children, her education included both American classes and extra, Japanese cultural courses. She and her family visited Japanmarker, where she realized how American she truly is. In her late teens, she contracted tuberculosis and spent nine months at Firland Sanitarium with future best selling author of the The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald .

During the War, she and her family were interned in the camps at Puyallup Civilian Assembly Center and at the Minidoka War Relocation Centermarker in Hunt, Idahomarker. In 1942, Sone was allowed to leave the camp to attend Wendell College in Indianamarker, where she spent time living with a white family. She finished her degree at Hanover Collegemarker and eventually received a master's degree in clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve Universitymarker.

Monica Sone and her husband, Geary Sone, had four children, whom they raised in Canton, Ohiomarker.

Nisei Daughter

Sone’s best-known work, Nisei Daughter, was originally published by Little, Brown in 1953. It tells the story of a Japanese immigrant family's life in the United States before and during the war. The parents are from Japan (issei), but the children are born in the States, making them nisei (as in the title). The book explores the cultural differences they faced before the War, both in the States and on a visit to Japan, and the family's experiences during the Japanese American internment.

Published works

  • Nisei Daughter (Boston: Little Brown (or U of Washington P), 1953; reprint, Seattle: U of Washington P, 1987 (or 1979))

See also


Critical studies

as of March 2008:
  1. Monica Sone By: A. Robert Lee, IN: Madsen, Asian American Writers. Detroit: Gale; 2005. pp. 279-82
  2. Home, Memory, and Narrative in Monica Sone's Nisei Daughter By: Warren D. Hoffman, IN: Lawrence and Cheung, Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature. Philadelphia: Temple UP; 2005. pp. 229-48
  3. Truth and Talent in Interpreting Ethnic American Autobiography: From White to Black and Beyond By: Kimberly Rae Connor, IN: Long, White Scholars/African American Texts. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP; 2005. pp. 209-22
  4. A Two-Headed Freak and a Bad Wife Search for Home: Border Crossing in Nisei Daughter and The Mixquiahuala Letters By: Janet Cooper, IN: Benito and Manzanas, Literature and Ethnicity in the Cultural Borderlands. Amsterdam: Rodopi; 2002. pp. 159-73
  5. Nisei Daughter by Monica Sone By: Traise Yamamoto, IN: Wong and Sumida, A Resource Guide to Asian American Literature. New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America; 2001. pp. 151-58
  6. Protest and Accommodation, Self-Satire and Self-Effacement, and Monica Sone's Nisei Daughter By: Stephen H. Sumida, IN: Payne, Multicultural Autobiography: American Lives. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P; 1992. pp. 207-47
  7. Japanese American Women's Life Stories: Maternality in Monica Sone's Nisei Daughter and Joy Kogawa's Obasan By: Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Feminist Studies, 1990 Summer; 16 (2): 288-312.

Further reading

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