Our Books

Turning Japanese

MariNaomi’s newest graphic memoir tours the mid-90’s US and Japanese illegal hostess bar scene and her own personal cultural awakening.

In 1995, twenty-two-year-old Mari had just exited a long-term relationship, moving from Mill Valley to San Jose, California. Soon enough, she falls in love, then finds employment at a hostess bar for Japanese expats, where she is determined to learn the Japanese language and culture. Turning Japanese is a story about otherness, culture clashes, generation gaps, and youthful impetuosity.


“The best comic about being Asian American in Japan. Like Fun Home and PersepolisTurning 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, Ignatz and Eisner Award–winner

“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, author of Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe