MariNaomi’s newest graphic novel tours the mid-90’s US and Japanese illegal hostess bar scene and her own personal cultural awakening.
"The best comic about being Asian American in Japan. Like Fun Home and Persepolis, Turning Japanese is at once modest and grand. MariNaomi is a master of the small, intimate moments that build to a surprisingly emotional climax."Jason Shiga, Ignatz and Eisner Awardwinner
"In Turning Japanese, Mari's unflinching honesty, open heart, and hard-earned wisdom challenges us to embrace the unexpected detours that unfold in our own lives."Yumi Sakugawa, author of Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe
In 1995, twenty-two-year-old Mari had just exited a long-term relationship, moving from Mill Valley to San Jose, California. Soon enough, she falls in love, then finds employment at a hostess bar for Japanese expats, where she is determined to learn the Japanese language and culture. Turning Japanese is a story about otherness, culture clashes, generation gaps, and youthful impetuosity.
MariNaomi is the author and illustrator of the SPACE Prize-winning graphic memoir Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 (Harper Perennial, 2011), the Eisner-nominated Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories (2dcloud/Uncivilized Books, 2014), and her self-published Estrus Comics (1998 to 2009). Her work has appeared in over sixty print anthologies, and has been featured on such websites as the Rumpus, the Weeklings, Los Angeles Review of Books, Midnight Breakfast, Truthout, XOJane, Buzzfeed, Bitch Media, and more. Mari's work on the Rumpus won a SPACE Prize and an honorable mention in Houghton Mifflin's Best American Comics 2013.