Anime Wong

Fictions of performance by Karen Tei Yamashita

March 25, 2014 • 6 x 9 • 304 pages • 978-1-56689-340-4

Giant foam rubber sushi and cyborg kungfu fighters populate performances that reflect questions of gender, identity, orientalism, and racial politics.

Anime Wong is a memory book of performances, most of which were produced collaboratively, reflecting questions of gender, identity, Orientalism, and racial politics. Yamashita’s theatrical work is fiction interpreted by the body in real time; these kinetic encounters, complete with giant foam-rubber sushi and cyborg kung fu fighters, create a space for humor, interaction, and epiphany.

About the Author

Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of Letters to Memory, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, Circle K Cycles, I Hotel, and Anime Wong, all published by Coffee House Press. I Hotel was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award and awarded the California Book Award, the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award. She has been a US Artists Ford Foundation Fellow and co-holder of the University of California Presidential Chair for Feminist & Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. She is currently Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


“It’s a stylistically wild ride, but it’s smart, funny, and entrancing.” —NPR

“Yamashita incorporates satire and the surreal in prose that is playful yet knowing, fierce yet mournful, in a wildly multicultural landscape.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Yamashita shatters social constructs of race, gender, and culture and reassembles them into spectacles that dazzle, confound, and ultimately shed new light upon Asian America.” —The California Journal of Women Writers

“In the firmament of American literature, Karen Tei Yamashita has been one of the brightest lodestars that have guided my reading for over 20 years. Her literary creations have delighted, astounded, and confounded me. I say confounded because Yamashita is never predictable; each new book has been formally different and she perpetually challenges herself and her readers. Anime Wong: Fictions of Performance follows this trajectory and encapsulates my history of reading of Yamashita in one volume. It will become an indispensable part of my library.” —Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Bookstore

“I was thrilled to pick up Anime Wong: Fictions of Performance, the long-awaited anthology of electrifying performance.” Your Impossible Voice

“The experimentation of the performances is enough to read for, but they are enriched by the subjects at hand.”—Portland Book Review

“No matter what form Yamashita’s voice takes—fiction, performance art, theater, stream of (sub)consciousness—it is original, insightful, funny and light years ahead of its time. Cyber time travel? No problem. Ethnic fetishizing? Look out. Techno-orientalism? She’s on it. Anime Wong is a perfect companion to Yamashita’s groundbreaking Tropic of Orange, I Hotel, and Circle K Cycles. This collection reveals, for the first time, the hidden writings of one of this era's most inspiring authors.” —Denise Uyehara, Performance Artist