The Chauvinist and Other Stories (1979)


Author: Toshio Mori

Paperback: Out of Print.

ISBN-10: 0-934052-01-8

ISBN-13: 978-0934052016

Product Details: 142 pp, 6 x 9 x 1 in

Categories: Immigration and Migration; Internment; Japanese; Narratives; Literature; Short Stories



The Chauvinist and Other Stories is the second book of short stories published by a Japanese American writer in the United States in thirty years. The first book was Yokohama, California, also by Toshio Mori, published in 1949.



"There is SOMETHING in the way I feel toward the year 1936 that I shall be sure to remember. Perhaps it may be that I am living today, that I am alive and am striving toward my hope, that I feel so strongly the tang and the bracing weather of today and the more todays to come. It is the year I shall recall later as the time of change in the conduct of life and outlook. I like to explain away the change and the song of it here but that is a hopeless task just now. I must simply say it is the year of 1936 and was the year and let it go at that. But if I should tell you how I feel today about 1936, I might be able to do something about it.


I began suddenly or slowly, it does not matter, to want, to desire, to sink my teeth into everything I could grasp, to everything I see, hear, smell, taste, etc. I wanted to do everything, I wanted to know women, I wanted to know the white people, the minds of my generation and people, the Nisei, the nature of our parents, the Issei, the culture of Japan, the culture of America, of life as a whole. Iwanted to go from the country to the city and from the city to the county." (From "1936")


Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Introduction: Hisaye Yamamoto
  3. Callings Near and Far
    • The Chauvinist
    • 1936
    • Abalone, Abalone, Abalone
    • The Distant Call of the Deer
    • Japanese Hamlet
  4. The Daily Work
    • Confessions of an Unknown Writer
    • Operator, Operator!
    • It Begins with the Seed and Ends with a a Flower Somewhere
  5. Families
    • Miss Butterfly
    • Between You and Me
    • Through Anger and Love
  6. Separate Lives
    • My Uncle in the Philippines
    • The Loser
    • Four-bits
  7. Conversations Overheard
    • Oakland, September 17
    • The Sweet Potatoe
    • Strange Bedfellows
  8. The War Year
    • 1, 2, 3, 4, Who Are We For?
    • The Long Journey and the Short Ride
    • The Travelers
    • The Man with Bulging Pockets
    • Unfinished Message
  9. Hawaiian Note



"Toshio Mori's short stories are culturally significant in enriching one's knowledge of the Japanese American ethos and the Asian American past. Mori is a gifted storyteller with a keen eye for detail. His stories are engaging, illuminating, thoroughly engrossing."

- Michi Weglyn


"There are some things you don't improve on: family albums, for one, these stories, for another. They come out of that classic community of humor, health, and hope and, as such, give us something to aspire to as much as reflect upon. That Toshio Mori is a writer of great depth and vision is an obvious fact; Yokohama, California established that. It's an enduring work, as it has proven over the years. And Toshio himself is a testament to integrity and the stuff of legend. He’s an original, one of a kind. And yet, at the same time, he is very much one of us-a true 'folk artist' in the finest sense of the term-one who conveys our very soul. Now it is up to us to deserve him. Once again, through the power of his words, he has given us our lives."

- Lawson Fusao Inada, author of Before the War


"Publication of The Chauvinist and Other Stories must be regarded as an important event in the West Coast cultural history. These deeply felt stories about Japanese and Japanese Americans constitute an important contribution to the ongoing effort to chronicle the Japanese experience in California. It is not easy to explore a new cultural and social experience in California. It is not easy to explore a new cultural and social experience in an alien land and setting without the aid of a supporting tradition, with little if any encouragement or incentives and with only a meager audience-at least at the onset. But Toshio Mori, with remarkable self-discipline, wisely persevered and has thereby placed us in his lasting debt.


What I find particularly impressive about the stories in this collection is the consistent honesty they reflect: an honesty of feeling, of perception, of characterization, of comment. He does not engage in gimmicky plots, fancy trumped-up endings, or rollicking story lines. But there is a very quiet and impressive beauty and sensitivity to such stories as '1936', 'Abolone, Abolone, Abolone', Japanese Hamlet', '1, 2, 3, 4, Who Are We For', and 'Unfinished Message'." -

Carey McWilliams, former editor of The Nation


Related Center Press Publications:

Amerasia Journal 3:2 (1976). Mori, Toshio. "The Chauvinist."
Amerasia Journal 4:1 (1977). Mori, Toshio. "Operator! Operator!"
Amerasia Journal 7:1 (1980). Leong, Russell. "Toshio Mori: An Interview."
Amerasia Journal 16:2 (1990). Mayer, David R. "Akegarasu and Emerson: Kindred Spirits of Toshio Mori's "The Seventh Street Philosopher."
Amerasia Journal 17:3 (1991). Palumbo-Liu, David. "Toshio Mori and the Attachments of Spirit: A Response to David R. Mayer."