Who is Hisaye Yamamoto? Google Doodle celebrates Japanese American author

ON Tuesday, May 3, Google Doodle paid tribute to Japanese American author Hisaye Yamamoto by featuring her on their homepage.

Yamamoto passed away in 2011 in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles. She was 89-years-old.

Who is Hisaye Yamamoto?

Born August 23, 1921, Yamamoto was a Japanese American author known for the short story collection Seventeen Syllables And Other Stories.

Her story collection was first published in 1988.

Yamamoto's work confronted issues of the Japanese immigrant experience in America, the disconnect between first and second-generation immigrants and the difficult role of women in society.

Yamamoto's stories are often compared to the poetic form, haiku, described as "layered in metaphor, imagery, and irony, but never wordy or given to digression."

Her writing is sensitive, painstaking, heartfelt, and delicate, yet blunt and economical, a style that pays homage to her Japanese heritage while establishing contemporary appeal.

When did Google Doodle celebrate Yamamoto?

Yamamoto's portrait appeared on Google's homepage on Tuesday, May 4, in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The May 4 Doodle honoring Yamamoto features illustrations of characters from some of her stories, flowing out of the pages that she’s writing on.

On other pages, you can see some of the prominent themes of her life and her writing, including a nomadic lifestyle and a Japanese internment camp.

Over on the Doodle Blog, Google interviews the artist for today’s Doodle, Alyssa Winans, who shared some of the feelings that came up while preparing the artwork.

"Reading Yamamoto’s work and working on this Doodle amidst all the recent news about rising violence-hit especially hard," Winans said.

"It’s difficult to see elements of history repeating itself, and my heart goes out to all the individuals and families that have been affected.

"As someone of mixed background, I have a complex relationship with different aspects of my culture, so I feel honored to be able to work on a Doodle for APAHM.

"I am always glad to see a space where Asian American and Pacific Islander voices, causes, and culture is elevated and celebrated," the artist concluded.

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