Research Article

The Asian Americans’ Identity Crisis as Reflected in Day Standing on Its Head


  • Hisham Muhamad Ismail Assistant Professor of English Literature, Faculty of Language Studies, Arab Open University, Bahrain


Philip Kan Gotanda's heritage is professionally woven into nearly all of his work. The combination of family memories and theatrical inventions makes him the faithful chronicler of the Asian American experience. The past visibly invades the present in most of his works and characters, while he interweaves a distinctly theatrical magic charm around them, producing a crystal clear picture of Asian American life. His plays feature arguments between men and women with differing visions of how Asian Americans should fight to be a part of America.   One can say that it would be more challenging to assign Day Standing on Its Head as a merely Asian American play because Gotanda exposes socio-cultural issues that can fit all the mainstream audience. Although the characters in this play confront problems rooted in the particularities of Japanese American history and culture, their conflicts reveal psychological and emotional realities that resonate beyond the Japanese American community. Along with all of Gotanda's works, he never sacrifices his ethnic authenticity to gain the acceptance and visibility of the mainstream audience. On the other hand, he claims the right to present the "real" face of the Asian American problems, issues, and conflicts, just to record their real life without any decoration. Gotanda argues that his style in discussing these issues can help in strengthening relations with the mainstream.

Article information


Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies

Volume (Issue)

3 (12)





How to Cite

Ismail, H. M. (2022). The Asian Americans’ Identity Crisis as Reflected in Day Standing on Its Head. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies, 3(12), 62–67.



Gotanda, ethnic theater, Asian Americans, model minority