Author: Watanna, Onoto
Title: Miss Nume of Japan / A Japanese-American Romance
Place Published: Chicago and New York
Date Published: 1899
Illustrated with 8 photographs of Japanese women, including the frontispiece, which also has an inset photo of the author. (12mo), original decorative cloth binding with paste-on color drawing. Probable First Edition. No priority has been established, but a variant binding in orange cloth with the frontispiece photo reproduced on the front cover instead of the rickshaw drawing on this copy is probably a later printing.
The author's first book, often called the first Asian-American novel. Onoto Watanna is the pseudonym of Winnifred Eaton.
Winnifred and her sister Edith, who came to America via Canada, were of mixed race, their mother Chinese, their father British. As such. both sisters were literary pioneers: Using a Chinese pseudonym, Edith wrote the first periodical stories of Chinatown by a Chinese American (1897 listing) but only one book, an anthology of Chinese children's stories (1912 listing). Winnifred, pretending to be Japanese - a more popular cultural identiy in America at the time - chose a Japanese pseudonym and, beginning with "Miss Nume", published more than 15 books, mostly on romanticized Japanese themes (as well as the first Asian-American cookbook, 1914 listing).