Publication Date

Spring 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Alexander Olson, Tamara Van Dyken, Dorothea Browder, and Jeffrey Miner

Degree Program

Department of History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Yone Noguchi’s novels, The American Diary of a Japanese Girl and The American Letters of a Japanese Parlor-Maid, both published with the first decade of the twentieth century, have been the subject of study for scholars in the humanities for the past few decades. The research examines both novels in historical context and against his personal communications and his subsequently published works, understanding Noguchi not just as a Japanese immigrant but also a member of an American literary community. I compare the larger structing of the Diary to the works of his literary peers and mentors and demonstrate that understanding Noguchi’s novels as published within the spirit of American humor reinforces their reading as serious cultural criticism. This paper also examines Noguchi’s larger intentions for the Diary, not only to criticize Orientalist misconceptions that he observed, but to replace these ideas them with a model Japanese woman that reflected his modern views and captivated American audiences with her charm and wit. The investigation demonstrates an understanding of Noguchi’s novels as an expression femininity in association with the sexual and romantic notions that he expressed within the text by considering conceptions of gender and sexuality within the period.


American Studies | Asian American Studies | History