Author to Discuss “Japanese War Brides in America” Book

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Miki Crawford, Ph.D., will deliver a presentation on her 2009 book, Japanese War Brides in America: An Oral History, and its subsequent documentary film at 4 p.m. on March 22 in the Bennett Hall auditorium at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

The book and documentary studiously depict the stories of 19 Japanese war brides whose cultural assimilation experience considerably influenced future generations.

The event, appropriately titled “Her Story,” is part of the annual Kennedy Lecture Series, which endeavors to attract speakers of particular interest to campus. The presentation, which is sponsored by the campus’ cultural committee, is free and open to the public.

Following the conclusion of World War II, Congress passed the War Brides Act of 1945, permitting foreign wives of U.S. military officials to immigrate to the United States. An estimated 50,000 women migrated from Japan to the United States between 1946 and 1965, despite a ban on Asian immigration that was simultaneously in place. Crawford’s book explores the racial tensions, social segregation and cross-cultural conflicts that inevitably accompanied the transitions these women endured.

Crawford is the daughter of a Japanese war bride, and her personal connection to the subject enlivens the mission of her work with authentic passion and care. Concurrently, her Appalachian roots and position as Associate Dean at the Ohio University Southern Campus provide a meaningful channel through which she connects the Chillicothe campus to the struggle her stories explore.

“I think students who are interested in writing books, creating documentaries, conducting research or pursuing scholarship will really find value in the presentation,” said OU-C faculty member Donna Burgraff, a member of the cultural committee. “Anyone interested in world history or the power of a personal story will enjoy it…there’s something for everyone here. The lecture will cover topics not really covered in history classes. It is a way to gain insight into the lives of people who were living in very difficult times.”

Ohio University hosts the Kennedy Lecture Series to bring reputable expertise in less familiar topics to a campus of curious learners.  Recent speakers on the Chillicothe Campus include nationally recognized scholar of Russian-American politics, George E. Hudson, Ph.D., civil rights author Charles McKinney Jr., Ph.D. and environmental history expert John Reiger. The primary aim of this series is to offer students an optional educational experience that not only expands upon knowledge gained in the classroom but also, enhances it.