“Da Pidgin Guerilla” Lee Tonouchi’s Local Feminist Fairy Tale
Jodie Chiemi Ching
Recently, I have thought that there is a need for more children’s books about Okinawan culture. And I was so excited when author Lee Tonouchi, who calls himself “Da Pidgin Guerrilla,” announced that he and illustrator Laura Kina were working on a children’s book entitled “Okinawan Princess, Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos.” I thought that if I had a children’s book to teach me about the beauty of my heritage, I would not have felt like an “ugly Japanese girl.”
I am a yonsei of Okinawan and Japanese ancestry. I remember being in sixth grade, thinking that I was an ugly Japanese girl because Okinawans were often categorized as Japanese, or at least that was how I perceived it. I guess I pulled more from the Okinawan gene pool, as my body was a little thicker and browner than other fair-skinned Japanese girls at my school and my eyebrows were two large fuzzy caterpillars.