Awards/Mentions | Interviews | Reviews | Other Writing


NEH Public Scholar Award 2017
New York Times Notable Book 2015
Buzzfeed Best Nonfiction of 2015
Seattle Times Best Books 2015
Booklist Top 10 Multicultural Nonfiction
BustleReads Challenge 2016


Radio and Podcasts:
The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, July 2015
The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU, July 2015
Modern Notion, July 2015
KALW San Francisco, July 2015
WritersCast, October 2015
Meiji at 150 Podcast, January 2019
Japan Station Podcast, July 2019

CSPAN BookTV, June 2015
KATU Portland AM Northwest, June 2015
GCTV Greenwich, full-length footage of talk to the Retired Men’s Association, July 2016

Wall Street Journal/Speakeasy, May 2015
Japan Times, May 2015
The Tropicalist (formerly Daily Samsara), June 2015
Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, August 2015
Washington Independent Review of Books, May 2016


“Beautifully written…In Nimura’s deftly interwoven account, the three girls emerge as contrasting types, like Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters.'” —New York Times Book Review read full review

“[Nimura’s] descriptions of landscapes are poetic, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a novelist who is as deft at portraying relationships and inner thoughts…She skillfully bridges Japanese and American cultures, using the seemingly small story of three young people to tell a much larger tale of another time.” —Washington Post read full review

“In Daughters of the Samurai, Janice P. Nimura achieves the elusive dream of the historian, producing a work that will engage and satisfy academic and non-specialist audiences alike… Daughters of the Samurai is, perhaps, less a story of Japanese out of place in their country, than of women ahead of their time.” —Los Angeles Review of Books read full review

“Nimura’s exhaustively researched historical biography is as immersive as any work of fiction, heart-wrenching in its depiction of these cultural orphans turned pioneers.” — read full review

“Nimura has written a superb history… This remarkable and beautifully written story—often as riveting as a page-turning novel—is both scholarly and accessible to non-specialists.” —Seattle Times read full review

“Set aside ample time: You won’t welcome intrusions while reading this unprecedented, true story… Daughters proves memorably illuminating, a unique story full of firsts.” —Christian Science Monitor read full review

“Daughters of the Samurai reads like a novel about the meeting of East and West and how it transformed the lives of three extraordinary young women.” —Dallas Morning News read full review “Engagingly told…a poignant tale of ordinary girls who made history.” —Deseret News read full review

“Superbly evokes 19th and early 20th century Japan, and to a lesser extent the 19th century United States, through the lives of these three remarkable women, who so dramatically influenced the evolution of their homeland.” —Asian Review of Books read full review

“Through her fascinating tapestry of history and biography, New York scholar Nimura weaves the strange, vibrant tale of an insular nation coming to terms with currents of modernism it could no longer keep out….An extraordinary, elegantly told story of the beginning of Japan’s education and emancipation of its women.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred) read full review

“Independent scholar Nimura has written an exquisite collective biography… A captivating read for biography lovers, readers interested in America’s Gilded Age or late Meiji Japan, and fans of Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha.” —Library Journal (starred) read full review

“Nimura brings the girls and their late nineteenth-century exploits to life in a narrative that feels like an international variation on Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, so very appealing and delightful are their historic stories.” —Booklist (starred) read full review

“Through the sensitive weaving of correspondence and archival papers, Nimura produces a story of real-life heroines in this masterful biography of three samurai daughters sent to the U.S. after the Civil War.” —Publishers Weekly read full review

“The real strength of Nimura’s book lies in her ability to zoom and pan with the smoothness of a master historian… This is a finely crafted book, painterly in its attention to small detail but poised in its ability to deal with the complexities of geopolitical wrangling and great-state diplomacy.” —The University Bookman read full review

“A beautifully crafted narrative, subtle, polished, and poised.” —Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life and Vera: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Biography

Daughters of the Samurai reads like a novel that happens to be true: three girls uprooted by fate, bridging the gulf between the elegant rhythms of Old Japan and the exhilarating opportunities of America. Janice Nimura paints history in cinematic strokes and brings a forgotten story to vivid, unforgettable life.” —Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha

“Touching on cultural hybridity, multiculturalism, women’s education, Daughters of the Samurai is history writing at its finest and required reading for anyone interested in Japan.” —Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being

“In this surprising and richly satisfying story of three young girls chosen to act as cultural ambassadors, Janice Nimura masterfully details their lives on two continents while simultaneously introducing readers to the half-century that forced the ancient Land of the Rising Sun to confront Western modernity.” —Megan Marshall, author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Biography


Falling in Love with a Second Story,” Publishers Weekly, December 2, 2017
Meet the Blackwells,” Schlesinger Library Newsletter, Fall 2016
Citizen of the Twitterverse,” Medium, October 1, 2016
History Never Ends, It Just Gets Retold, Literary Hub, May 17, 2016
“Under No Certain Search Terms,” New York Times Book Review, January 22, 2016
“Letters to the Future,” Medium, 2015
“You’re Raising Your Kids Bilingual, Right? Well no…” Salon, 2015
“Watching for the Buffleheads,” The Morning News, 2011
“The Broccoli that Fell from the Sky,” The Morning News, 2010
“Remember the General Slocum,” The Morning News, 2010
“Persephone in the Park,” The Morning News, 2010
“Field Notes from 89th Street,” The Morning News, 2010
“Mother of Two” in Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo, Deborah Siegel & Daphne Uviller, eds, 2006

Recent Reviews:
“Sherri L. Smith’s YA Novel Began With a Photograph” (author interview), Kirkus Reviews, February 12, 2020
“Spirit Animals” (Christine Wunnicke’s The Fox and Dr. Shimamura), New York Times Book Review, May 31, 2019
“An American in Japan, Leading a Zen Koan of a Life” (Tracy Franz’s My Year of Dirt and Water), New York Times Book Review, August 16, 2018
“Fiction from Japan, for the Old World and the New” (Shortlist), New York Times Book Review, August 11, 2017
“In War’s Wake” (Lynne Kutsukake’s The Translation of Love), New York Times Book Review, April 17, 2016
“Prologue to an End” (Kenzaburo Oe’s Death by Water), New York Times Book Review, October 3, 2015
“Dear Betrayer” (Yasushi Inoue’s novellas), New York Times Book Review, April 4, 2015