Winnifred Eaton was a Chinese-Canadian woman who immigrated to the United States, where she lived with her husband and family. The younger of two sisters (popular author Sui Sin Far is the pseudonym for elder sister, Edith Maude Eaton), Winnifred wrote under the pseudonym “Onoto Watanna.” Her works have gained popularity by pioneering East Asian characters and identity in popular literature, with works such as Madame Butterfly taking inspiration from Winnifred Eaton’s works.
Eaton had written since she was young, with her works published in Canada, Chicago, New York, and in the Caribbean. Her texts explored both East Asian identities and the complexities of human relationships. Her second novel, A Japanese Nightingale, went on to be her most successful — being translated into multiple languages, as well as being transcribed to a Broadway play and a film in 1919.
Recovery about Eaton has begun to happen, with interesting blog posts such as this one that explores who Eaton was and what drove her to become a writer.
“Miss Nume of Japan“
At its core, Miss Nume of Japan is a story about love and relationships. Centered on two couples — Nume Watanabe and Orito Takashima, who are Japanese; and Cleo Ballard and Arthur Sinclair, who are American. The novel focuses on the trials and tribulations that each couple goes through as they adapt to changes in distance, cultural shifts, and evolving emotions. Eventually, the couples are able to express their true emotions for each other and escape the loveless relationships to which they find themselves bound through obligation and expectations.
- Miss Nume of Japan (1899) (1998)
- A Japanese Nightingale (1901)
- The Wooing of Wistaria (1902)
- The Heart of Hyacinth (1903)
- The Love of Azalea (1904)
- Daughters of Nijo: A Romance in Japan (1904)
- A Japanese Blossom (1906)
- The Diary of Delia: Being a Veracious Chronicle of the Kitchen with Some Side-lights on the Parlour (1907)
- Tama (1910)
- The Honorable Miss Moonlight (1912)
- Sunny-San (1922)
- Cattle (1923)
- His Royal Nibs (1925)
- Me: A Book of Remembrance – Autobiography (1915)
- Marion: The Story of an Artist’s Model (1916)
Anthology (Including Her Work) :
- “A Half Caste” And Other Writings (Anthology, 2003)