Sansei female. Born May 15, 1962, in Palo Alto, California. Mother was a Nisei who was incarcerated during World War II, and father was a Japanese immigrant who came to the United States in 1950. Grew up in Palo Alto, California, before studing art at Yale University. Later moved to New York, giving up art and beginning to write. Published first novel, When the Emperor Was Divine in 2003, to critical acclaim.