Kyoko Mori’s novel Polite Lies was published in 1999. Henry Holt published the first edition, which had 256 pages. This is a nonfiction text that focuses on Japanese American women, their social lives, and their customs. Mori investigated her dual ethnicity and identified the most difficult obstacles. She had come to the American Midwest from Japan, which had a constricting society and many broken households. The modern American culture allowed people of all genders to share their rights.
Mori scrutinized the various points of differences between these two cultures and the linkage between the American and the Japanese lives.
Although the setting concentrates on the American culture, the author also borrowed from the Japanese culture where she left at a youthful age. Living in Wisconsin, the author considered herself as less Japanese and more American. From this new stand, she was in a position to expose the Polite Lies. This touched on the aspect of finances, families, and the codes of silence. The death of her mother through suicide was perceived as a Polite Lie in as far as stability and marital harmony were concerned. The choosing of divorce in her life can be considered as a result of having a low opinion on compromise when it comes to conflictual matters. This is what brought her to the decision that it is better to be alone than to be in a one sided couples’ union (Mori 24). Polite Lies is a reflection of Mori’s unique belief system which is expressed in a frank manner and at the same time distancing herself from deep condemnation and anger.
The book can be recommended to those scholars and researchers who wish to understand how women are treated across different cultures. On gender issues and the freedom for all people, the world is marking a shift from the traditional patriarchal society. For this reason, advocates of women rights can get a better impression on what problems women go through in their lives. The stereotypes of women in various traditional cultures like Japan, in this case, have been found to be based on a lie. Valuable lessons can be drawn for those who would wish to conduct a comparative study that reflects on both cultures’ marriage, emotion, death, family, and language. Being objective in the narration made Mori’s work to be of academic importance and a subject of interest to many readers.
Reading the book gives the impression that the American culture upholds the human values and does not discriminate on the Gender basis. The American society emerges as an ideal type which should be emulated not only by the developing nations but developed ones like Japan. The author has greatly emphasized the need to guarantee freedom of all citizens regardless of their sex. Besides, Mori wanted the readers to appreciate the value of liberal thinking and taking full control in one’s life. Gone are the days when the societal structures used to dictate what is fit for who and the strict roles to be played by the societal members. Summarily, Mori can be said to be advocating for social dynamism with the need to constantly reevaluate our stands on the things held are sacred and unchangeable within the society.
Mori, Kyoko. Polite lies: On being a woman caught between cultures. Henry Holt, 1997.