Yurina Yoshikawa

Yurina Yoshikawa was born in Tokyo, Japan, and has lived in Palo Alto and New York City before settling down in Nashville, Tennessee, where she currently teaches creative writing through a local non-profit called The Porch Writers Collective. She received her BA in philosophy from Barnard College and MFA in fiction from Columbia University. She is at work on a novel, and her essays have appeared in The New Inquiry, among others. To learn more, visit www.yurinako.com, or follow her on Twitter @yk_yoshikawa. Photo by Elaine Akin.


I thought of all the other reasons, implications and annoyances that went with this strange business of changing my name.


My father has two names. He’s Zainichi Korean, which means he’s ethnically Korean but born in Japan. Legally, his name matches his ethnicity, so on his passport it appears as Hoil Kang. For everything else in life, he goes by the Japanese version of the same name, which is Koichi Ko. To make matters more complicated, his parents (my grandparents) legally went by Japanese names in order to assimilate in Tokyo, so their family name appears as Matsumoto.