Hiroko Furukawa was working as a sales assistant at the PX U.S. military supply store in Ginza in 1950 when she met a GI named Samuel Tolbert. Shortly afterwards, Hiroko and Samuel found themselves married and on a train to meet his parents in upstate New York. Hiroko, who came from an upper-class Tokyo family, changed into her best kimono for the occasion, to the horror of her husband, whose family were rural chicken farmers.
"When they arrived at the farm, Samuel's family stared at Hiroko as if she came from Mars," explains journalist Lucy Craft. "They made it clear to her that she'd better get into Western clothes. So she did, and she began her life as the wife of a chicken farmer."
According to Craft, herself the daughter of a Japanese "war bride," this is one of countless examples of the struggles endured by a despised and largely hidden immigrant group. Craft believes that about 50,000 Japanese women moved to America with their GI husbands after World War II — at that time, the largest-ever migration of Asian women to America.