Obasan | Study Guide

Joy Kogawa

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Course Hero. "Obasan Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 25 May 2020. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Obasan/>.

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Course Hero. (2018, March 22). Obasan Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Obasan/

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Course Hero. "Obasan Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed May 25, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Obasan/.


Course Hero, "Obasan Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed May 25, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Obasan/.


Obasan infographic thumbnail


Joy Kogawa

Year Published





Historical Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

Obasan is narrated in the first person, from protagonist Naomi Nakane's perspective.


All events in Obasan, including flashbacks, are related in the present tense as the narrator Naomi Nakane relives different parts of her life.

About the Title

Obasan is the word for aunt in Japanese. Naomi, the narrator, and her brother Stephen are raised by their obasan and uncle when they are separated from their parents during the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II (1941–49). Naomi also states, at one point, that her obasan is representative of old women everywhere, and that each is "the bearer of keys to unknown doorways ... and the possessor of life's infinite personal details."


This study guide and infographic for Joy Kogawa's Obasan offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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