Yamamoto was born in the United States of Japanese immigrant parents.
On December 7, 1941, the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan signaled
the United States' entrance into World War II. At that time, Yamamoto
and her family were forced to spend three years at the Arizona Poston
Relocation Center which was one of ten Japanese internment camps
in the U. S. Many of the imprisoned Japanese-Americans were American
born citizens. While at the camp, Yamamoto was a reporter and columnist
for the camp newspaper, the Poston Chronicle. The camp experiences
endured by Hisaye and her family tremendously affected her life
and are discussed throughout her writings.
1945, after her release from Poston, Hisaye moved to Los Angeles
to work as a reporter for the Los Angeles Tribune, a small weekly
newspaper aimed at the African-American community. Her first story,
High-heeled Shoes, appeared in the Partisan Review in 1948. A story
which draws upon her war-time camp experiences, The Legend of Miss
Sasagawara, was published in 1950. Hisaye Yamamoto's stories depict
the cultural struggles of women, their daughters, and Japanese Americans.
Yamamoto's accomplishments include an American Book Award for Lifetime
Achievement from the Before Columbus Foundation, publication of
numerous short stories about the Japanese American experience and
the adaptation of two stories, Seventeen Syllables and Yoneko's
Earthquake, for an American Playhouse/PBS film entitled Hot Summer
Nisei Women Writers
Role of Culture in "Seventeen Syllables"
from the Gap
Japanese American Network