This introductory chapter provides an overview of Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara's life. From his youth and until World War II, Kurihara pursued a path that he believed would enable him to live the American life, as envisioned in the Progressive Era phrase, “the promise of American life.” He enrolled in schools that offered a quality, Western-oriented education. He also embraced Christianity—the essential source of Western cultural identity at the time—endured anti-Japanese hostility directed at him, and fought as a soldier in the U.S. Army during the Great War. This dogged pursuit of a place for himself as an American in the face of jarring discouragements enabled Kurihara to absorb Western modes of thinking and behavior. As a result, he was able to navigate his way in two cultural worlds, European America and Japanese America.
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