I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have an ‘American’ name like Lisa Smith or Chris Taylor.
When I first thought of writing romances, Ace and I met with a very successful romance writer. One early piece of advice she gave was that I should definitely change my name to something ‘not so ethnic’ (is what she meant, only she said it much nicer).
And being who I am my mind started spinning. I looked for more acceptable names. I wrote to other writers of different genres, asking their opinion. I wrote to writers who were also Asian. I got a lot of mixed opinions. I got a lot of thoughtful replies. Most of them told me to use my own name. Others agreed that if I wanted to be part of this romance genre I would definitely be more successful if I was ‘one of the crowd’.
Then I remembered who I was.
When I was 6 years old the name I was born with was taken away from me.
In the mid-50’s, my family and I were plopped down in San Antonio, Texas. Yes, right after the Korean War. My dad was in the Army. His name ‘Yoshio’ (yup, I’m named after him) had already been changed to ‘Joe’, e.g. G.I. Joe.
My name Yoshimi was changed to ‘Jean’, my little brother’s Shigeru to ‘Kenny’ and my mother’s Shigeko to ‘Ziggy’.
I always felt like looking over my shoulder when someone called me ‘Jean’. When I divorced my first husband, the sympathetic judge asked me what I wanted. I told him that I wanted two things. First – complete custody of my son and second – I wanted my name back, the one I was born with.
The judge hit the gavel. Granted!
So when that very successful romance writer suggested I change my name I went a little nuts. I tried out a bunch of names that were easy to say. Uncomplicated. Not so many vowels.
Then I woke up and wondered: WTF?
I had already taken back my name, why would I consider giving it away again?
In the end I had to be in integrity with myself.
Yoshimi Kobayashi Miyazaki. My chosen middle name is my mother’s maiden name
My author name is yk miyazaki. Lower case.
Thank you all for your love and support. I know there’s many more of us with stories like mine. Spread the word. Spread my story.