|Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-03 03:07Z by Steven|
The Los Angeles Times
Leah Nanako Winkler’s new play “Kentucky” is a comedy about a Japanese American woman raised in the South. Like her protagonist Hiro, Winkler is half-Japanese and grew up in Kentucky. Like Hiro, she left for New York and didn’t return for years. And like Hiro, Winkler found her sister’s embrace of evangelical Christianity puzzling and alarming.
“It was like she’d joined a cult,” recalls Winkler, who clarifies that she wasn’t entirely like the Hiro of her play.
“I didn’t actually try to stop my sister’s wedding,” she says with a laugh.
Speaking from the dressing room at East West Players’ theater in downtown L.A., where the West Coast premiere of “Kentucky” runs through Dec. 11, Winkler says the new work is “circumstantially autobiographical.”…
…Born in Japan, Winkler spent some of her childhood there before moving to Kentucky. She won’t say how old she was at the time. “I don’t like to answer that question because there’s a lot of judgment placed on that,” she says. “There’s a big difference if I say 2 or if I say 12. People like to peg you on how Japanese or how American you are, when you’re mixed race.”
She will say that she was old enough to experience “a double identity crisis.”
“In Japan I was a child model because of my Western looks,” she says. “I was considered gaijin, which means foreigner. But in America I was the girl from Japan.”…
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