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These Three Things

Artist and writer MariNaomi spills on her sexual past

June 20, 2013

MariNaomi by Fiona Taylor. Illustrations by MariNaomi.

MariNaomi, the mixed-race Japanese American writer and illustrator of Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22, talked with Hyphen about her no-holds-barred approach to writing and drawing a funny and fraught sexual past. Her forthcoming graphic novel from 2D Cloud, Turning Japanese, traces her evolving understanding of her Japanese heritage, seeking to learn the language for the first time through employment at a Japanese hostess bar.

Asian Fetishism

Growing up in a predominantly white town [in Marin Country, CA], I was very aware of how different I looked and was paranoid of being fetishized because of my race. There was a period of time, as a young adult working in the customer service industry, when I would be approached every single day by at least one middle-aged white guy inquiring as to my ethnicity. For years. They were mostly polite, but I nonetheless got creeped out. It was so intrusive! I guess you can sense my resulting complex [in Kiss & Tell] where I dump someone each time I realize he has a thing for Asian women. I had a steadfast rule until I was in my 20s of not dating anyone who previously dated an Asian.


This is a preview of Issue 27: The Sex Issue, available now. Subscribe to Hyphen or pick up a copy at a newsstand near you.

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Cathlin Goulding

Books Editor

Cathlin Goulding is fourth-generation Japanese and Irish American. Her essays and articles appear in I Saw My Ex at a Party (Kearny Street Press), The Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Hyphen, Teacher Revised, and We'll Never Have Paris. 

A former high school English teacher, she is currently a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University, where her research looks at curricular efforts in communities and nations emerging from periods of violence.

Comments

Comments

"I had a steadfast rule until I was in my 20s of not dating anyone who previously dated an Asian." So you couldn't date just an Asian person ?
You wrote: "I had a steadfast rule until I was in my 20s of not dating anyone who previously dated an Asian." So you couldn't date just an Asian person ? _________ Asian people can have Asian fetishes too.
"I had a steadfast rule until I was in my 20s of not dating anyone who previously dated an Asian." Why cuz you subconsciously know you couldn't compete with a real asian gal?Nobody who's an asian freak,yellow fever whatever would mistake you don't worry.I know halfies are wannabe asian ,who's the asian freak now??Just sayin