top of page
origami つる.jpg
Screen Shot 2022-08-26 at 10.03.12 AM.png

How To Become Japanese

I earned my PhD in Japanese literature, then left a 17-year career in academic research to write creative nonfiction and teach. "Kiku"is a pen name that memorializes my grandmother's Kikuchi 菊地 family of origin from Yamagata farm country. How To Become Japanese is my coming-of-age memoir about how as a mixed-race American, I moved into the Tokyo home of my mother's three childless sisters to learn Japanese and our family's story. My Americanized mom blended herself into my Anglo dad's family history, and brushed off my questions about Japan with one-sentence, one-dimensional memories of suffering. Daily life with my aunts fleshes out for me the cliched version of my mother's Japan, and Japanese language helps me speak through my own loss and grief.

 *Writing * Reading * Curiosities*

WOW!-Women on Writing
"Never Too Late: Helena Rho Talks About Her Memoir American Seoul and Writing as a Way to Move Forward Through Life" 
Interview in WOW-Women on Writing
Essay in Barzakh literary magazine, summer 2023
bottom of page