Turning Japanese
MariNaomi

$24.95
228 pages
6.3 × 8 inches
hardcover
b&w offset
smyth-sewn

Most of us arrive at adulthood armed with stories about youthful misadventures, told over and over to prove that, once upon a time, we were willing to embrace instability and take risks. Such navel-gazing can be exhausting, but not in the case of MariNaomi's autobiographical comics and graphic novels. Her work is deservedly acclaimed for its perfect balance of heart-wrenching honesty and searing wit. And her latest, Turning Japanese: A Graphic Memoir, focuses on a stretch of time in her early twenties that will feel relatable to many Americans who feel stuck between two cultures. Bitch Magazine

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

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

A tour guide for all of us wandering souls who haven’t given up on finding home. Idle Time

A compelling tale of a traveling youth, seeking to find something meaningful on the other side of the Earth. Coal Hill Review

A vulnerable, searching, raw record. Smithsonian APA Center

MariNaomi renders the in-between spaces of culture and identity in her distinctly simple yet bold style. BitchReads

Turning Japanese shows that a picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. New York Journal of Books

This book has something of [a balming] effect in its exploration of the many complexities of identity and romance. Publishers Weekly

Sure to resonate most strongly with females facing similar challenges of young adulthood. Kirkus Reviews

MariNaomi's newest memoir, Turning Japanese, is on the one hand a chronological continuation of her first memoir, Kiss and Tell, as it picks up more-or-less right after the final relationship depicted in that book. On the other hand, it also has a good bit in common with her shorter works that were originally published on The Rumpus and later collected as Dragon's Breath And Other Stories. Turning Japanese is all about not just contradictions and opposites, but also about how someone can be and feel two things at once. In a society that privileges binary distinctions (and almost always creates a hierarchy based on those distinctions), MariNaomi's status as someone frequently in-between points out how simply living her life in certain places and spaces created a tension born from social mores being stretched. She's a person, not an accumulation of traits, and as such this book is about the thoughts and feelings that go into creating and presenting one's identity as well as exploring different aspects of one's roots. All of this is done with an absence of pretension and an emphasis on humor, and it's served to the reader in the form of both extended narratives and bite-sized vignettes.
Rob Clough

What are some of the responses that have been particularly memorable to you? Robert Kirby

How do you think your work changes when it's performed lived rather than read, in a sort of intimate way, from a book? Broadly

What made this a story you felt like you needed to tell? CBR

What are some of the responses that have been particularly memorable to you? The Comics Journal

How many people are aware that you’ve written about them? Daniel Barron

As a famous graphic memoirist, have you been worried about running out of material? Kim Jooha

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