The Stubborn Twig: The Yasui Family Story and the Challenges of Japanese-American Immigration in the 20th Century

1. Introduction

The Stubborn Twig is about the Yasui family and their story of immigrant identity in America during the twentieth century. This book tells the story of how the Yasui family immigrated to America from Japan and how they were faced with discrimination and internment during World War II. The author, Lauren Kessler, uses the Yasui family story as a way to illustrate the experiences of many Japanese-American immigrants during the early twentieth century.

2. The Yasui family story

The book begins with the story of Masuo Yasui, who was born in Japan in 1899 and immigrated to America in 1913. He eventually settled in Hood River, Oregon, where he opened a store called the Little Tokyo Grocery. In 1933, Masuo’s son, Minoru, was born. Minoru was raised in both Japanese and American cultures and spoke both Japanese and English fluently.

In 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. The Yasui family was forced to leave their home and business and were sent to an internment camp in Idaho. After being released from the camp, they returned to Hood River where they faced continued discrimination. In 1943, Minoru attempted to challenge the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 by intentionally violating the curfew that had been put in place for Japanese Americans. He was arrested and convicted, but his case was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

The book ends with Masuo’s death in 1986 and Minoru’s death in 2013. Both men lived to see their grandchildren grow up and have families of their own. Their story is one of strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

3. 20th century immigrants

The Yasui family story is representative of the experiences of many Japanese-American immigrants during the early twentieth century. These immigrants faced challenges such as discrimination, poverty, and language barriers. However, they also found ways to overcome these obstacles and create successful lives for themselves and their families.

4. Discrimination against Japanese-Americans

Japanese-Americans faced significant discrimination during the early twentieth century. This was evident in things like job opportunities, housing options, and access to education. Japanese Americans were often treated as second-class citizens and were not given the same rights as other Americans. This changed somewhat after World War II when they were finally recognized as American citizens. However, even today they continue to face some forms of discrimination.

5. Conclusion

The Stubborn Twig is a powerful story about immigrant identity in America during the twentieth century. Through the story of the Yasui family, Lauren Kessler illustrates the challenges that many Japanese-American immigrants faced during this time period. Despite the challenges they faced, however, they were able to overcome them and create successful lives for themselves and their families


The "stubborn twig" in Lauren Kessler's book is a metaphor for her immigrant ancestors who persevered and overcame great obstacles to make a new life in America.

Kessler's family immigrated to the United States from Germany in the late 1800s.

Kessler feels a strong connection to her immigrant roots because she knows firsthand the challenges and sacrifices that her ancestors made in order to start a new life in America.

The challenges she faces as an immigrant in America include feeling like an outsider, being misunderstood, and facing discrimination.

She reconciles her two identities by embracing both her American and immigrant heritage, and by using her story to educate others about the importance of immigration in America today.

We can learn from her story about the importance of immigration in America today that it is a vital part of our country's history and identity.