22 Memoirs to Read with Asian Men & Western Women in Love

It’s been almost seven years since I posted about books featuring Chinese men and Western women in love, and over five years since I posted about memoirs featuring Asian men and Western women in love. Plus, a lot of wonderful memoirs have come out in the past few years. Time to update you with a full list of AMWF memoirs you should read!

I’ve listed the titles in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name and linked them to Amazon, where your purchases help support this site.

“Good Chinese Wife” by Susan Blumberg-Kason

When it comes to the success of a cross-cultural relationship, does culture or personality matter more? Susan Blumberg-Kason’s gripping memoir “Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair With China Gone Wrong” offers a very personal answer to that question. Learn more through my interview with Susan.

“Tone Deaf in Bangkok” by Janet Brown

It’s never too late to follow your heart to Asia. Just ask writer Janet Brown, who went to Thailand at age 45 and fell in love with the people and places. Learn more through my interview with Janet.

“Burmese Lessons: A true love story” by Karen Connelly

When Karen went to Burma in 1996 for research on the conditions of Burmese political prisoners, love wasn’t on her mind — until she met Maung, a sexy young Burmese revolutionary leader. But this isn’t just a love story, as she beautifully captures her entire experience in this country — including her interview with Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China” by Rachel DeWoskin

A woman who dared to love Chinese men on screen (and off), as well as Chinese culture. DeWoskin writes about it all with passion and humor.

“Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After” by Diane Farr

Think gorgeous girls don’t go for Asian men? Then you haven’t met actress and celebrity Diane Farr, who married a Korean-American man and shared her story — and those of many others who crossed racial/cultural/ethnic lines in the name of love — in this humorous read.

“Mae Franking’s My Chinese Marriage: An Annotated Edition” by Mae Franking

A rare window into the world of a Western woman who married a Chinese man in the early 20th century, despite the estrangement of both families. Half a love story, half a collection of letters that capture the times in which they lived.

“The Natural Laws of Good Luck: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage” by Ellen Graf

In her mid-forties and divorced, the last thing Ellen ever expected was to travel to China and marry a Chinese man she knew for less than a week. But the unspoken connection between then brings this unlikely pair together, and sustains them through the trials and tribulations of their new cross-cultural relationship.

“Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India” by Miranda Kennedy

Miranda’s book is an exploration of the many cultural rules and norms that govern women’s lives there, especially love, marriage and family. She dates some Indian men along the way, but reveals so much more through the Indian women she comes to know throughout the story.

“A Field Guide to Happiness” by Linda Leaming

Linda Leaming’s new book “A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up” reads like a love letter to Bhutan. Learn more through my interview with Linda.

“Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said “I Do,” and Found Bliss” by Linda Leaming

Linda discovered her bliss — and later, her Bhutanese husband — in this oft-overlooked Himalayan country. This magical tale of her relationship with her future husband and his country is filled with moments that will have you laughing out loud.

“Mao’s Last Dancer” by Li Cunxin

Li Cunxin is a poor rural Chinese who skyrockets to fame as a ballet dancer. But when China sends him to Texas as part of an exchange, he falls in love with an American woman and America, and wants to defect. (Also a movie.)

“Son of the Revolution” by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro

Most of the story revolves around Liang Heng’s personal suffering during the Cultural Revolution. However, the last few chapters of this book document how Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro incredibly fall in love, and marry, in a China just barely open to the world.

Here Comes the Sun by Leza Lowitz“Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras” by Leza Lowitz

Leza Lowitz shares her emotional journey towards marriage and motherhood in Japan (as well as opening a yoga studio in Tokyo) in “Here Comes the Sun”. Learn more through my interview with Leza.

“My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy” & “My Japanese Husband (Still) Thinks I’m Crazy” by Grace Mineta

If you’re a fan of graphic novels and you’re curious about Japan, you don’t want to miss these charming comics by Grace Mineta. Learn more through my interviews (here and here) with Grace.

“At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman’s Journey of Discovery” by Rebecca Otowa

Rebecca’s book explores her 30 years as the foreign housewife of a Japanese man in their 350-year-old farmhouse in Japan’s countryside, a home that you might argue is one of the most important characters in the story.

“Love, Again: The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance” by Eve Pell

At 68, Eve fell for Sam Hirabayashi, a man 10 years her senior. She wrote about it for The New York Times, and the overwhelming response from readers helped spark this memoir exploring late-in-life love through her own relationship and others.

“The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam” by Dana Sachs

Dana truly followed her heart in moving to Vietnam when, in the course of learning the language and later teaching, she landed into an unlikely relationship with a local Vietnamese man. She writes about it with honesty and vulnerability, which made her a delightful narrator.

The Good Shufu“The Good Shufu” by Tracy Slater

“The Good Shufu” by Tracy Slater is a heartfelt story about love & life abroad that proves sometimes those unexpected detours lead us to incredible joy. Learn more through my interview with Tracy.

Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self“Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self” by Alex Tizon

Alex Tizon’s memoir “Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self” offers a personal view on Asian masculinity in the West — and is a book you must read. Learn more through my interview with Alex.

“Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband” by Wendy Tokunaga

I connected so much with the experiences of the women interviewed by Wendy that I almost thought it could have been “Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Chinese Husband.” (Sorry, John.) It’s not one memoir, but more like a collection brought together.

Year of Fire Dragons“Year of Fire Dragons” by Shannon Young

“Year of Fire Dragons” details the life-changing year Shannon Young spent in Hong Kong while in a long-distance relationship with her Eurasian boyfriend. Learn more through my interview with Shannon.

What memoirs did I miss? What would you recommend?

6 Stunning Celebrity Couples of Asian Men & Non-Asian Women

Award-winning journalist and Univision anchor Ilia Calderon, with husband Eugene Jang.
Award-winning journalist and Univision anchor Ilia Calderon, with husband Eugene Jang. (photo by Johnny Louis)

Every week, the entertainment mags churn out list after list of swoon-worthy celebrity and Hollywood couples. But these couples are almost always white…and I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I’ve seen a single couple of Asian men and non-Asian women on their lists.

If my Pinterest board with real-life couples of Chinese men and Western women has taught me anything, it’s that the community of Asian men and non-Asian women in love is bigger than I ever expected — with plenty of beautiful faces. So it’s no surprise that our community includes some stunning celebrities and their equally stunning partners. Don’t they deserve a little love for once?

Move over, Brangelina! Here are six dazzling couples that could turn heads on the red carpet, while showing the world how lovely it is when Asian men and non-Asian women get together.

Sandra Denton and Tom Lo

d39c201feaa140c6bf6288d09d43f11e
Sandra first rocked our world as “Pepa” from the rap group Salt-N-Pepa, and now she has rocked the interracial dating world by choosing to date Tom Lo (as part of her 2010 reality show Let’s Talk About Pep). Was it romance or just reality TV? Are they still a thing? I have no idea. But they sure make one handsome Blasian couple, don’t they?

Diane Farr and Seung Yong Chung

(photo by John Solano Photography)
(photo by John Solano Photography)

Who says that Asian men can’t land babelicious former MTV hosts? Seung Yong Chung (who is tall and handsome himself) snagged the lovely actress Diane Farr, best known for her roles on Numb3rs and Rescue Me (as well as a stint hosting MTV’s Loveline). Their relationship and marriage became the heart of Diane’s outstanding memoir on interracial dating, Kissing Outside the Lines.

Grant Imahara and Jennifer Newman

Grant Imahara of Mythbusters and his girlfriend Jennifer Newman
(photo via Twitter, @Jennernugen)

You know Grant from Mythbusters. Even if he’s the geekiest guy on this list (he’s one of the official operators for Star Wars’ R2-D2 and helped engineer the Energizer Bunny), he looks awesome in a tux and would make my shortlist of hottest electrical engineers any day. Put him together with his lovely blonde girlfriend Jennifer Newman (a self-proclaimed “robot girl”) and you have a couple that could turn heads almost anywhere.

Will Yun Lee and Jennifer Birmingham

will-yun-lee-240

Actor Will Yun Lee (best known for his TV roles in Witchblade and Bionic Woman and on-screen roles for Die Another Day, Elektra and The Wolverine)  was named one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2007. His wife Jennifer Birmingham, a Hollywood actress as well, looks like a natural on the red carpet. Together, they make one stunning AMWF (Asian Male, White Female) couple. If the Academy handed out Oscars for most gorgeous couple in the business, I’m sure these two could nab a nomination!

Julia Stegner and Steven Pan

julia-stegner-boyfriend-steven-pan-vogue-us-may09

Could this gorgeous German supermodel and her handsome boyfriend Steven (a fashion photographer) make interracial dating between Asian men/non-Asian women a little more “en vogue”? They’ve already landed in a Vogue spread and could easily rock the magazine’s cover. The camera clearly loves them both!

Ilia Calderon and Eugene Jang

tumblr_m5st30NKBI1r84myb

Award-winning Colombian journalist Ilia Calderon is the striking anchor for Univision’s Noticiero Univision: Edicion Nocturna (so hot, she’s listed on the site TV anchor babes) — and also the wife of Eugene Jang, a physical therapist who is quite the looker himself. They fell in love at first sight, and look lovely together on the red carpet!

Who do you think are the most stunning couples of Asian men and non-Asian women? Who would you put on your list?

P.S.: To see more celebrity couples, visit my Pinterest board featuring celebrity couples of Chinese men and Western women.

Review of “Kissing Outside the Lines” by Diane Farr in AMWW Mag

Kissing Outside the Lines by Diane FarrAMWW Magazine just recently posted my book review of Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After by Diane Farr.

I mentioned this book last month in a list of memoirs by Western women who love other Asian men. But I really felt the book deserved a review of its own. Kissing Outside the Lines could become the go-to guide for any women who happen to date Asian men and live in a Western country like the US; her experiences with Korean-American Seung Yong Chung cover everything a couple might face:

  • Confronting prejudice and racism
  • Dealing with family and parents (on both sides)
  • Learning more about his Asian culture
  • Planning a cross-cultural/international wedding (they end up having two weddings — one in South Korea, one in the US)

I also think this book can inspire Asian men out there still looking for love — as I said in my review, “who says that Asian men can’t land babelicious former MTV hosts?” In fact, cvaguy, one of my longtime commenters, also gave this book a thumbs up in a comment. I agree with him — this is a smart book written by a very smart woman.

Here’s a snippet from my review:

When Diane Farr first spotted her future Korean American husband from the dance floor, she actually “took both index fingers and pulled on my eyelids, making the international sign for ‘Yes, Charlie Chan…I mean you,’” to signal him over.

This is the first of many cringe-worthy moments in my book review of “Kissing Outside the Lines” between her and a guy she first dubs “the Giant Korean.” (I’m not kidding.)

Who would expect that this same white woman would end up writing about her relationship with a Korean man in her memoir entitled “Kissing Outside the Lines” — one that explores the idea of interracial/interethnic/interfaith relationships as a whole?

Or, for that matter, that she would do it with an intelligence and sensitivity you wouldn’t imagine from a woman who once used a “slant-eye” reference in a pickup scenario.

Read the full review here. And check out Kissing Outside the Lines here.

Yangxifu Pride: 8 Memoirs For Western Women Who Love Asian Men

Burmese Lessons by Karen Connelly
Burmese Lessons (photo from Goodreads.com)

Only a handful of Western women wrote about their love affairs with Chinese men (such as those I’ve recommended on this list). But I’ve found new women to call my Jiemei (that’s sisters in Chinese), thanks to the many memoirs I’ve discovered about Western women who found love in Asia (and beyond). In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8), I’d like to salute and recommend these literary sisters.

—–

Burmese Lessons: A true love story by Karen Connelly. When Karen went to Burma in 1996 for research on the conditions of Burmese political prisoners, love wasn’t on her mind — until she met Maung, a sexy young Burmese revolutionary leader. But this isn’t just a love story, as she beautifully captures her entire experience in this country — the struggling artists and writers she meets, the monks who pull her out of dangerous situation one evening and send her home with crackers, the family in the countryside who helps her understand the state of family planning, her interview with Aung San Suu Kyi. Continue reading “Yangxifu Pride: 8 Memoirs For Western Women Who Love Asian Men”