In the 1950s, Japanese women seeking a new life in America had to learn about more than just visa requirements. They also had to learn how to cook hamburgers, entertain neighbors, and confidently walk in high heels. Eyeliner application was, apparently, a vital skill.
These immigrants weren’t just any women. They were the “war brides” of American G.I.s, and some of them learned these lessons at the American Red Cross, which ran schools designed to prepare them for domestic life in the United States.
The American Red Cross Bride Schools sprang up in response to the wave of marriages between American soldiers and Japanese citizens following World War II. Thousands of G.I.s were stationed in Japan during the postwar Allied occupation, which led to several romances with local women. Although the statistics vary, scholars estimate somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 such marriages took place through the 1950s.
Read the complete Atlas Obscura article here.