Kathryn Tolbert

Kathryn Tolbert is executive director of The War Bride Experience, Inc., a nonprofit organization devoted to telling the stories of the tens of thousands of Japanese women who married American servicemen and came to the United States after World War II. She was a co-director of the documentary film Fall Seven Times Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides and is the author of the oral history archive at www.warbrideproject.com. Her next project is to create a graphic novel around the war bride stories; she is looking for artists to illustrate their varied experiences.

She was a journalist with The Washington Post for more than 25 years, both as an editor and a reporter, and as a correspondent in Tokyo. She previously worked for The Boston Globe and The Associated Press. She can be reached at ktwarbride@gmail.com.

Updated July 2022

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A Japanese Picture Bride in Montana: The Story of Aya Hori Masuoka

In November 1915, a well-dressed woman got off the train from Seattle at Whitefish, Montana. She was accompanied by her new husband, one of the town’s most prosperous businessmen, Mokutaro Hori. Aya Hayashi Hori’s arrival in Whitefish was an important crossroad in a long life that  began in Japan in 1882 and ended in Montana 90 years later. Over her lifetime she navigated the treacherous terrain of xenophobia, economic instability, and heartache. She embraced the United States as her home yet cherished her Japanese culture, finding a delicate balance that allowed her to both…

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