In this episode, Nick speaks with Leslie Helm, author of Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations As Outsiders In Japan.
The Helm family’s connection with Japan begins with Mr. Helm’s German great grandfather, Julius, who traveled to Japan as a young man in 1869, looking to make his way in the world. Julius would go on to found Helm Brothers, a company with diverse interests related to what would become Yokohama’s booming port economy. From there, the book’s narrative winds its way through four further generations of the Helm family. Mr. Helm recounts not only the family’s participation in major historical events, but also offers a frank assessment of the personal and intra-family struggles each generation faced while living in Japan. Together, these two aspects make for a compelling read.