During the Allied Occupation of Japan and the Korean War, approximately 13,000 Japanese women immigrated to the United States as brides to American servicemen. Although U.S. immigration law excluded the Japanese from entering the country, a series of Congressional acts eventually allowed Japanese women to enter the U.S. in much the same way as the so called “picture brides,” though this time they entered as wives to American men.
This presentation looks at the marriages of Japanese women and American servicemen, beginning with a discussion of the American Red Cross Bride Schools that sought to mold Japanese women into good American housewives. Second, it looks at Japanese war bride clubs in the United States, such as the Cosmo Club, which was founded in Chicago in 1952 under the auspices of the Chicago Resettlers Committee.
Sonia Gomez is a historian of the modern United States. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections of race, gender, and immigration. Sonia earned a PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 2018, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University.
Her book project, “Good Wives, Wise Mothers: Race, Gender, and Belonging in the Making of Japanese America,” investigates the ways in which marriage, the nuclear family, and female domesticity facilitated Japanese immigration and settlement, and constructed specific roles for Japanese women in the United States. Sonia is the granddaughter of Michiko Ikeda, a Japanese war bride who immigrated to the U.S. in 1952.