Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner Talks New Book on ‘Daily Show’

Michelle Zauner, a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast, appeared on The Daily Show on Wednesday to discuss her new memoir, Crying in H Mart. The book, which quickly shot up the New York Times bestseller list upon its release last month, examines Zauner’s relationship to the Korean-American cooking she grew up with in the wake of her mother’s death.

“I didn’t think about it resonating much with anyone, to be honest,” Zauner told host Trevor Noah. “It came from such a personal place, with such a sense of urgency, I think, to bare the wounds of caretaking and losing someone to illness. And this very unique experience that I went through, which was learning how to cook Korean dishes as a way to commemorate my mother, and a way to move past trauma and preserve my cultural heritage.”

Zauner is also releasing a new Japanese Breakfast album, Jubilee, next month, and Noah asked if her experience writing the memoir will affect the kind of music she makes going forward.

“Definitely — they’re really in conversation with one another,” she said. “And I feel like after writing my first two records, which were largely about grief and loss, and then an entire book about that experience, I felt really ready to sort of start this new chapter and run to the other spectrum of human experience…[Jubilee] is about joy, and I feel like through the process of writing this material, I was sort of giving myself permission to really embrace that and feel that and fight for it in my life.”