Book Talk: Speak, Okinawa featuring Elizabeth Miki Brina

Speak, Okinawa | Book Talk with Elizabeth Miki Brina | East Asian National Resource Center | The George Washington University

Join us for a book talk with author Elizabeth Miki Brina on her book “Speak, Okinawa

About the Book

A searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman’s journey to understanding her complicated parents—her mother an Okinawan war bride, her father a Vietnam veteran—and her own, fraught cultural heritage.

Elizabeth’s mother was working as a nightclub hostess on U.S.-occupied Okinawa when she met the American soldier who would become her husband. The language barrier and power imbalance that defined their early relationship followed them to the predominantly white, upstate New York suburb where they moved to raise their only daughter. There, Elizabeth grew up with the trappings of a typical American childhood and adolescence. Yet even though she felt almost no connection to her mother’s distant home, she also felt out of place among her peers.

Decades later, Elizabeth comes to recognize the shame and self-loathing that haunt both her and her mother, and attempts a form of reconciliation, not only to come to terms with the embattled dynamics of her family but also to reckon with the injustices that reverberate throughout the history of Okinawa and its people. Clear-eyed and profoundly humane, Speak, Okinawa is a startling accomplishment—a heartfelt exploration of identity, inheritance, forgiveness, and what it means to be an American.

This event will be on the record and a recording will be available on the NRC YouTube channel after the event. 


The event is open to the public. Registered guests will receive details for joining the Zoom meeting.


Elizabeth Miki Brina, author, Speak, Okinawa


Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies, Brown University


Kuniko Ashizawa, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, American University, George Washington University