Is Amy Lange Kawamura my real name?

Yes, it is!

“Lange” is my maiden name and I married a man whose surname is “Kawamura.”

Lange is a German name meaning long or tall.  Kawamura is a Japanese name meaning literally River Village.  (Kawa=River  Mura=Village)

My first name is interesting because it is very similar to the Japanese female name Emi.  For this reason, I don’t like going by Amy Kawamura because it makes me sound as if I myself am of Japanese descent. (Although virtually everybody in Japan calls me Amy Kawamura or Kawamura Amy.  The idea of women using both their maiden name and husband’s name, or even their own maiden name only, has not caught on in Japan.*)

Despite not being of Japanese descent, I’ve lived here longer than all Japanese teens and children.  So that’s odd!

Some tidbits:

—-I remember when Japan was not “cool” and it was still somewhat considered the enemy of the United States (not technically, but by popular culture.)  Lots of older American men had fought in the Pacific War and this carried over to TV shows like The Love Boat (a seventies show.)  Sample episode: Can old white American guy tolerate being on same boat as Japanese man, who reminds him of the war?

—In the eighties and early nineties, Japan became an ecomomic powerhouse.  This brought on feelings of envy and competition in the U.S.  For example, Michael Keaton’s movie: Gung Ho, which comes in at #35 on one internet’s list of most racist movies. In 1992, Michael Crichton’s book Rising Sun was published, about the competitiveness of Japanese companies.

—When I met husband in 1993, Japan was not cool in America.  (At least not in mainstream America.) Grocery stores did not sell sushi yet. Ghibli was not known in the U.S.  Pokemon did not exist in the U.S.–it would not be introduced until 1998.  Manga (meaning Japanese comics translated into English) could not be bought at mainstream stores like Barnes and Noble.

Japan is now considered cool in the United States. I notice this especially among young females.  Yay! I’d like to see this more with all cultures of the world. I really believe all cultures have beauty and mystery and excitement.  All should be considered “cool.”

*Rarely, very rarely, the man will change his surname to his wife’s surname.  She will keep her own. This is virtually always if she is last in the line, and the family wants to preserve the surname.  In this case, HE is joining her family, rather than the other way around.  I knew a man who got married and did this.


This post does not have anything to do with Fukushima, but just letting you all know who I am.

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