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Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamotos history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamoto’s history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Japanese experience in America. After their father’s death, the Fukuhara children—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved with their mother to Hiroshima, their parents’ ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry and his sister, Mary, returned there in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Harry and Mary were sent to an internment camp until a call came for Japanese translators, and Harry dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, their brothers, Frank and Pierce, became soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army. As the war raged on, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy—and to his younger brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face one another in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of the Fukuhara family. Alternating between American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight captures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting, as well as the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima—never depicted before in English—and provides a fresh look at the events surrounding the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, here is an indelible portrait of a resilient family, a scathing examination of racism and xenophobia, an homage to the tremendous Japanese American contribution to the American war effort, and an invaluable addition to the historical record of this extraordinary time.


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Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamotos history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamoto’s history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Japanese experience in America. After their father’s death, the Fukuhara children—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved with their mother to Hiroshima, their parents’ ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry and his sister, Mary, returned there in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Harry and Mary were sent to an internment camp until a call came for Japanese translators, and Harry dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, their brothers, Frank and Pierce, became soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army. As the war raged on, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy—and to his younger brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face one another in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of the Fukuhara family. Alternating between American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight captures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting, as well as the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima—never depicted before in English—and provides a fresh look at the events surrounding the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, here is an indelible portrait of a resilient family, a scathing examination of racism and xenophobia, an homage to the tremendous Japanese American contribution to the American war effort, and an invaluable addition to the historical record of this extraordinary time.

30 review for Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins. This work of non-fiction details the experiences of the Fukuhara family during World War II. Although of Japanese descent, all five children: -Victor, Mary, Harry, Pierce, and Frank - were born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. However, when their father died, their mother was forced to return to her family in Hiroshima in order to support her family. Two of the children, Harry and Mary, were never fully comfortable in I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins. This work of non-fiction details the experiences of the Fukuhara family during World War II. Although of Japanese descent, all five children: -Victor, Mary, Harry, Pierce, and Frank - were born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. However, when their father died, their mother was forced to return to her family in Hiroshima in order to support her family. Two of the children, Harry and Mary, were never fully comfortable in Japan and soon returned to the United States. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of war between the two countries, the relatives were left unable to communicate with relatives in the other country. Harry and his sister Mary were forced into an internment camp and Harry eventually joined the US army as a linguist, helping to decode important military communications. Meanwhile, in Japan all three of Harry's brothers were eventually drafted and his mother struggled to come up with enough food to survive. In the wake of the atomic bomb, Harry feared that all of his remaining family in Japan were killed. Although I have read many histories of World War II, this is the first I have read that focuses on the lives of Japanese Americans. It was distressing to see how in trying to bridge the divide between their two countries, Japanese Americans ended up without acceptance in either. Although fully assimilated in America, they were routinely discriminated against in hiring practices and generally treated with much of the same racial prejudices that African Americans have also faced. Yet in Japan, they were viewed as "ostentatious" and referred to as "nisei" or second-generation Japanese Americans. After the outbreak of war, Frank, Pierce, and Victor all actively tried to hide their nisei status from native Japanese in order to avoid abuse and bullying. And when Harry's brothers were drafted into the army they forfeited their American citizenship, yet to protest the draft was treason for which they could be punished with execution. Additionally, it was difficult to read about the treatment of Japanese Americans by the United States. Harry and Mary lived in harsh conditions during their internment. At one point they were housed in a "horse stall" and slept on mattress sacks stuffed with straw (152). Japanese American soldiers were summarily discharged from the army during this period. It wasn't until the military realized the usefulness of Japanese Americans fluent in Japanese that they made an exception for men like Harry to join the army as linguists. Yet while in combat, Harry frequently faced threats and danger from fellow soldiers who were mistrustful of his Asian face and identified him as the enemy. Despite the service that Harry and others of Japanese descent provided during the war, little credit was ever given to them. For instance, one nisei linguist "translated the crucial radio message" that allowed the Americans to down the plane of the "commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet and the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack" (189). But his contribution was not reported. It was also devastating to read the account of Harry's family that suffered during the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Harry's young cousin Kimiko instantly lost her sight in the blast. "She did not see her clothing burn, leaving her naked and branding her skin with the cloth's indigo pattern; she did not see her skin swell, color, and crack" (303). Kimiko died later that night. I truly enjoyed learning more about the experiences of Japanese Americans through the story of the Fukuhara family. In many ways, despite their many sufferings, they were lucky to survive to give the account of their experiences. This is a well written story of an individual family, but it contributes greatly to the history of the second world war.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Meticulously researched, this is a portrait of one generation of a Japanese-American family, siblings (4 brothers, 1 sister) as the family attempted to navigate a Trans-Pacific world in which their father, despite success in business, was not allowed to own property in Auburn WA and thus bankrupted the family with his death, necessitating the return to Hiroshima of his widow and children, some of whom had already been schooled in Japan. Too American to fit in back in Japan, and unwelcome in Meticulously researched, this is a portrait of one generation of a Japanese-American family, siblings (4 brothers, 1 sister) as the family attempted to navigate a Trans-Pacific world in which their father, despite success in business, was not allowed to own property in Auburn WA and thus bankrupted the family with his death, necessitating the return to Hiroshima of his widow and children, some of whom had already been schooled in Japan. Too American to fit in back in Japan, and unwelcome in America, the siblings separated again, just in time for Pearl Harbor, which sent the American pair into internment and military service (Harry was a distinguished linguist, military intelligence officer and career military/civil servant vital to the successful Occupation), and the Japanese brothers into conscripted service on the battlefields of the Pacific--while their relatives remained living in Hiroshima. Sakamoto honors the grey areas of reconciliation, family strains, resentment of internment and grief in delivering a remarkable collective biography of the Fukuharas.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Research that went into this book: 20 stars Quality of writing in this book: 2 stars Im glad I read this, but I didnt enjoy it. The story was written with all the emotion of an encyclopedia, and it deserved a much more artful and emotive account. The story itself is fascinating, and I was repeatedly amazed by how matter-of-fact and emotionlessly the author was able to portray it. I also thought the author missed the seemingly obvious opportunity to paint the cultural context behind this in richer Research that went into this book: 20 stars Quality of writing in this book: 2 stars I’m glad I read this, but I didn’t enjoy it. The story was written with all the emotion of an encyclopedia, and it deserved a much more artful and emotive account. The story itself is fascinating, and I was repeatedly amazed by how matter-of-fact and emotionlessly the author was able to portray it. I also thought the author missed the seemingly obvious opportunity to paint the cultural context behind this in richer and more vivid detail, to help us appreciate the significance and uniqueness of the story more. The book ends up being a giant fact-dump, rather than the telling of a story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    I was very impressed with this true story of a Japanese American family caught up by World War II, with two sons in the Japanese Imperial Army and one son an interpreter in the United States Army. It is a vivid portrayal of the Pacific campaign and also of the internment camps and the racism faced by Japanese people in the Pacific Northwest. And, since some of the family lived in Hiroshima, we learn of that horror and the aftermath. There is also an epilogue, so we find out what becomes of the I was very impressed with this true story of a Japanese American family caught up by World War II, with two sons in the Japanese Imperial Army and one son an interpreter in the United States Army. It is a vivid portrayal of the Pacific campaign and also of the internment camps and the racism faced by Japanese people in the Pacific Northwest. And, since some of the family lived in Hiroshima, we learn of that horror and the aftermath. There is also an epilogue, so we find out what becomes of the family in later life....and we do care about them. I very much appreciate receiving my free copy from Goodreads First Reads program, and I recommend it highly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Evans

    I am still reeling from the power and the beauty of this book. I am hopeful that many of us have heard of Sulu from "Star Trek," George Takei's story about being a Nisei (second generation Japanese) in the US, and the internment of several hundred thousand Americans of Japanese descent at the onset of World War II. He has even produced a play on Broadway, "Allegiance," about his memories of his family's internship. It was a shameful (understatement) period in our history, and the xenophobia I am still reeling from the power and the beauty of this book. I am hopeful that many of us have heard of Sulu from "Star Trek," George Takei's story about being a Nisei (second generation Japanese) in the US, and the internment of several hundred thousand Americans of Japanese descent at the onset of World War II. He has even produced a play on Broadway, "Allegiance," about his memories of his family's internship. It was a shameful (understatement) period in our history, and the xenophobia didn't start there. It began in the late 1800's when Asians came to help us build the railroad. This book will give a reader an even deeper view into how this country treated the Japanese Nisei (and the immigrant parents, the Issei). Harry Fukuhara was born in the US of Japanese immigrants in the Pacific Northwest. He grew up a typical American kid, hanging out with friends, eating hot dogs. His older brother and sister had been sent back to Japan at a young age, to live with relatives, in order to learn about their heritage; their younger siblings barely new them. Harry’s sister Mary, feeling abandoned by her mother, lived a life filled with resentment and contempt because of this. As a teenager, the family relocated back to Japan, where Harry found himself a fish out of water. He was “too American” to fit in at his Japanese high school. As soon as he turned 18, he returned to the US. Unfortunately, a lot had changed while he was gone. Looking up his old chums, he was met with cold shoulders and closed doors. He found his way south, to California to scratch out a living as a houseboy and a greengrocer. It was all he could find due to the blatant discrimination towards Asians. The prejudice, especially on the West coast, was pervasive. When the war started, Harry and his sister (who had since moved back to the US) were sent to a miserable prison camp in Arizona, pursuant to a decree of the U.S. Government . His only escape from the misery of the internment camp was being asked to join the U.S. Army as a Japanese linguist. Frank trained in Minnesota before he was sent to the South Pacific, interrogating prisoners (rare, since Japanese soldiers were told to die rather than surrender) and translating documents recovered from Japanese casualties. The Japanese linguists had to have Caucasian bodyguards (so that a soldier wouldn’t think they were the enemy) and were treated poorly by fellow troops. Regardless of their seniority, none of the linguists were promoted or allowed R&R, unlike those who were Caucasian, and lower in rank. Harry and a fellow Nisei had to argue their case before a sympathetic superior before they were recognized. Meanwhile, back in Japan, Harry’s father had died, and his mother and three brothers lived in fear of being recognized as Nisei, or of being “too American”, by the local Japanese. Frank, the youngest son, enrolled in a prestigious military school, but endured years of hazing and physical abuse by the older students. He kept his head down and did what he had to do to get through. He stayed in school as long as he could to avoid being drafted in the Imperial Army. He and his mother struggled to find black market food in light of stricter and stricter rationing by the government. Eventually, though, Frank was conscripted, as the Japanese effort became hopelessly lost, and the government made a last, desperate attempt to fight back. The book comes to a terrible climax when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The details of what happened to the populace are difficult to read. Harry’s cousin was only a half-mile from the impact, and was blinded and badly burned; she died shortly thereafter. His brother Victor was badly burned. Harry arrives in Japan after the surrender, and manages to find his way to Hiroshima, to find his mother at their old house. It was a bittersweet reunion, as his mother didn’t even recognize him. All he could say was, “Mother, it is I, Fukuhara. I have come home.” I lived in Japan from 1965 until 1968. Only twenty years after the end of the war, the country was largely rebuilt. The people we met couldn’t have been nicer, more dignified, welcoming and proud. There was not much talk about the war, and I wonder if they felt a degree of shame for what the government had done in the people’s name. Part of me can understand the knee-jerk reaction of Americans on the west coast; how could they know if the Japanese in their midst were friendly or not? But to put them all in what were essentially concentration camps? To take away their homes and their livelihoods, even after it was all over? The degree of persecution is unfathomable. This is a story of ongoing hardship and tragedy, but also a story of hope. The Japanese term “shikata ga nai” (it can’t be helped) is a theme woven intricately into the fabric of the story. Harry and his mother and brothers plod on through the extreme difficulties of their lives, knocked down time after time, only to emerge with their dignity and their pride. This is a book not soon forgotten, as it should not be.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle

    This book tells in beautiful language multiple stories of the Japanese during World War II. The breadth of the story is unique in that it presents the experiences in such a personal way. The story of ordinary people and their experience of war is often missing from history, and this perspective is very welcome. It will round out the history collections of public as well as college libraries, moving our memory of war beyond the strategies of battle fields and into the horrific costs of war. I This book tells in beautiful language multiple stories of the Japanese during World War II. The breadth of the story is unique in that it presents the experiences in such a personal way. The story of ordinary people and their experience of war is often missing from history, and this perspective is very welcome. It will round out the history collections of public as well as college libraries, moving our memory of war beyond the strategies of battle fields and into the horrific costs of war. I received this book as an advanced copy from Edelweiss. I also blog about the involvement of women in WWII at womencalledtoaction.wordpress.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    An excellent eye-opening account of a Japanese American family during World War II. Beautifully written, it reads like a novel, but is a true experience. Everyone who has any interest in this period of history should read it. I'd vote it the #1 Book of the Year.

  8. 5 out of 5

    S.Baqer Al-Meshqab

    Being born to two nations is not easy, for each one will exert its cultural implications. But it is even harder when both nations are at war. [Midnight in Broad Daylight] is a touching story of five children who were born to Japanese parents on American soil, right before the WWII, and their struggle between two conflicting worlds. The book covers a chain of hardships starting from the immigration to a new country, and the efforts the parents had to make to secure their childrens future to the Being born to two nations is not easy, for each one will exert its cultural implications. But it is even harder when both nations are at war. [Midnight in Broad Daylight] is a touching story of five children who were born to Japanese parents on American soil, right before the WWII, and their struggle between two conflicting worlds. The book covers a chain of hardships starting from the immigration to a new country, and the efforts the parents had to make to secure their children’s future to the aftermath of a bloody war which didn’t recognize the meaning of family. This book tackles some important issues: What does loyalty mean? Are we bound to the land in which we were born, or to the land in which our origins and traditions can be traced, considering that we lived on both? Why do we have to choose? And if we did, can anyone blame us? The book is well written and enjoyable. It might have been dry at some points but an excellent historical record in which the reader will travel from Auburn to Hiroshima of the last century, and will witness the outcome of war from a real perspective on a personal and a social level. Midnight in Broad Daylight is the story of a father who, despite being alienated and wasn’t given what he deserved, never wavered to provide for his family. It is the story of a mother who was forced to give her life up for the sake of her children and kept clinging to artifacts of the past. It is the story of these estranged children who didn’t exactly know to where they belong, and whose family succumbed to ruin. It is a story of discrimination, of loneliness, of grief and lost love. This book is a story of war against oneself before others, as if in spite of how bright the sun is, one can only find oneself in pitch black darkness. 4.5 Stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Today's post is on Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto. It is 464 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is a family picture of the all the brothers. The intended reader is someone interested in history, unsung World War 2 heroes, and moving family narratives. There is no language, no sex, and mild violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the back of the book- After their fathers death, the Fukuhara childrenall born and raised in the Pacific Northwest Today's post is on Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto. It is 464 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is a family picture of the all the brothers. The intended reader is someone interested in history, unsung World War 2 heroes, and moving family narratives. There is no language, no sex, and mild violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the back of the book- After their father’s death, the Fukuhara children—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved with their mother to Hiroshima, their parents’ ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry and his sister, Mary, returned there in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Harry and Mary were sent to an internment camp until a call came for Japanese translators, and Harry dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, their brothers, Frank and Pierce, became soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army. As the war raged on, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy—and to his younger brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face one another in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of the Fukuhara family. Alternating between American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight captures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting, as well as the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima—never depicted before in English—and provides a fresh look at the events surrounding the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, here is an indelible portrait of a resilient family, a scathing examination of racism and xenophobia, an homage to the tremendous Japanese American contribution to the American war effort, and an invaluable addition to the historical record of this extraordinary time. Review- A very moving family narrative across not just physical distance but emotional. Sakamoto works mainly with two of the brothers but all the of family has a voice in this book. She does not down play anything from the American cruelty to the Japanese bulling of the American born sons.Sakamoto tells the story in a very reader friendly way. She is not just interviewing or reading journals, she brings the story and the people in it to life. She helps American readers to understand the mindset of this family and their cultures. How much Harry wars with himself about what he is doing to help the war. Frank so caught in an impossible place but with hope that it will get better. Sakamoto does a wonderful job with this family and tells a very important, moving story. I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill Yeadon

    Outstanding nonfiction. If there was a 6-star category this would be in there. An American born male of first-generation Japanese move to the U.S. in a happier pre depression Washingtom state. While first-generation Japanese are not allowed to become citizens, vote, or own land they are only there for the children, who they hope will live the American dream. Unfortunately, the father dies prematurely, and his wife is forced to move back to Japan with her 5 children. This is pre WWII but already Outstanding nonfiction. If there was a 6-star category this would be in there. An American born male of first-generation Japanese move to the U.S. in a happier pre depression Washingtom state. While first-generation Japanese are not allowed to become citizens, vote, or own land they are only there for the children, who they hope will live the American dream. Unfortunately, the father dies prematurely, and his wife is forced to move back to Japan with her 5 children. This is pre WWII but already Japan has been at war with China and plans for the US are already in the works. Harry and his sister move back to the States as soon as they graduate but the other 3 siblings must remain. When war breaks out Japanese siblings are forced to fight. Harry and his sister are forced into one of the infamous internment camps. Harry is fortunate to join the army as an interpreter. To complicate the story the family lives in Hiroshima. The story takes numerous turns and is riveting. I do not want to give away anymore but as with many true stories it has to be read to be believed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Sometime I read books and have no idea why they are not best sellers. This is one of those books. An amazing story of a Japanese-American family moving back and forth between Japan and the US in the 1920s through WWII and beyond, it is wonderfully researched and tells a little told part of our history. Compelling in the way that a very personal history is, it also captures the great sweep of what was happening at that time. While a bit allow at parts, I really can't recommend it enough.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Incredible story-- gives a more balanced view of Japanese in ww2. For all who read Unbroken which cast the Japanese in an evil corner of humanity, this book eloquently describes the untold story of Japanese families divided by war Harry needs to be honored by president Obama !!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Murakami

    This book is very, VERY well written and researched. It is a captivating story of a family truly split by war, by culture and by the Pacific Ocean.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto is an interesting and vivid account of the difficulties encountered by nisei (American- born) children of Japanese immigrants both before, during and after World War II. Forbidden by American law to become citizens, many of the original immigrants sent their American children back to Japan to be educated in the hopes that this might give them advantages for advancement not possible for them. Instead, these children wound up trying to straddle Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto is an interesting and vivid account of the difficulties encountered by nisei (American- born) children of Japanese immigrants both before, during and after World War II. Forbidden by American law to become citizens, many of the original immigrants sent their American children back to Japan to be educated in the hopes that this might give them advantages for advancement not possible for them. Instead, these children wound up trying to straddle two worlds, never fully accepted in either. After Pearl Harbor when so many of them became stranded in Japan, their lives became even more difficult. This story covers two generations over twenty years and is told through the experiences of the Fukuhara family. Kino and Katsuji are issei (original Japanese immigrants) and their five children are nisei. Victor and Mary are sent back to Japan for their education while Harry, Pierce, and Frank remain in Auburn, Washington with their parents. All goes well until Katsuji dies and Kino must take her family back to Japan in order to survive financially. Harry is the major player here. He is thoroughly American as is his sister Mary. They both dislike Japan and finally manage to return by the late thirties only to get caught up in the subsequent Japanese internment after the attack. The rest of the family remain in Hiroshima. Harry eventually winds up in the Army as an expert Japanese translator while his brothers wind up as soldiers in the Japanese Army even though they try desperately not to be inducted since this costs them their American citizenship. The book details the fear and xenophobia of both cultures, the privations the war causes in Japan and the terrible consequences of the atomic bomb. Ms. Sakamoto has two decades of experience in Japan and her research into all aspects of this story is excellent. She brings out aspects of the war years that are rarely dealt with, especially the attitudes of the Japanese toward their government during the war and the story of the Japanese translators in the Pacific. A very informative and well-done book, its use of one family to tell this complex story is what makes it so compelling.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Sakamoto tells an amazing true story of a family's struggle to survive in two worlds. This is the Fukuhara family from Hiroshima. The main character is Harry, born in Washington State, where his parents settled after emigrating from Japan. He, like his brothers and sister, is caught between the two cultures of America and Japan. The situation is made much much worse with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Some of the family are in Japan facing the severe hardships on the home Sakamoto tells an amazing true story of a family's struggle to survive in two worlds. This is the Fukuhara family from Hiroshima. The main character is Harry, born in Washington State, where his parents settled after emigrating from Japan. He, like his brothers and sister, is caught between the two cultures of America and Japan. The situation is made much much worse with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Some of the family are in Japan facing the severe hardships on the home front there. Two of Harry's brothers were in Japan and forced to become soldiers in the Japanese Army. In America, Harry and his sister Mary are sent to an internment camp along with over 120,000 other Japanese Americans. I have read about the shameful treatment of the Japanese Americans, but I didn't know about those Japanese Americans who served as bilingual interpreters for the US Army in the Pacific. Harry became one of the best and most respected of those Army translators and it was a job that placed him in danger at the front lines in some of the Pacific island battles that occurred. On the other side, we see the worsening situation on the Japanese home front. Those who lived in Hiroshima were spared the terrible bombings that occurred in Tokyo and other cities---that is, until Aug. 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb was detonated over the city. This is certainly the most harrowing part of the book for me as we see people struggling to survive in the aftermath of the world's first nuclear attack. At the end, we see American officer Harry going into Hiroshima to find any surviving members of his family there.. Pamela Sakamoto has done an outstanding job giving us this story of a family--who not only survived but triumphed in the end.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Iltz

    The day that I am writing this review is the day on which Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit the Hiroshima Peace Park, located at ground zero for the first of two atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Japanese cities near the end of World War II. An estimated 140,000 Japanese died in the August 6, 1945, bombing. I have been to the Peace Park twice. First during the 1960s and then again about 30 years later. This book is about a family that is The day that I am writing this review is the day on which Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit the Hiroshima Peace Park, located at ground zero for the first of two atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Japanese cities near the end of World War II. An estimated 140,000 Japanese died in the August 6, 1945, bombing. I have been to the Peace Park twice. First during the 1960’s and then again about 30 years later. This book is about a family that is split with part of the family living in Hiroshima and half living in the United States. Opening in Seattle with the 1929 stock market crash, we are introduced to Harry, his brothers Frank and Pierce, and their sister, Mary, who live through hard times during the depression. Their father passes away in 1933 and their mother moves them to her hometown of Hiroshima in hopes of a better life. Unable to assimilate, Harry returns to the U.S. in 1938, a year and a half after Mary does, but both of them end up in an Arizona internment camp in 1942 following the Pearl Harbor attack. When Army recruiters scouted the camp looking for translators, Harry passed the test, embarking on a career in U.S. military intelligence. Despite their efforts to avoid battle, his brothers in Japan were drafted in a 1945. The bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 changes everyone’s lives. Harry finds himself in Japan as an interpreter and reunites with his family. This book is unique because you get to see both sides of an epic story about the Japanese before, during and after World War II. I highly recommend the book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Most of us learned about WWII by memorizing dry facts presented in high school. This book, however, takes us through WWII through the eyes and experiences of the Fukuhara family. A true book, based on dedicated and thorough research and interviews with every assertion being documented and validated. This is the story of the Fukuhara family, a family with ties to America and ties to Japan. As a reader, we live beside the family members - going to school with them, learning Japanese (the language) Most of us learned about WWII by memorizing dry facts presented in high school. This book, however, takes us through WWII through the eyes and experiences of the Fukuhara family. A true book, based on dedicated and thorough research and interviews with every assertion being documented and validated. This is the story of the Fukuhara family, a family with ties to America and ties to Japan. As a reader, we live beside the family members - going to school with them, learning Japanese (the language) and Japanese culture, mores and traditions. We experience discrimination, hatred, suspicion and internment. We experience what it was like for someone of Japanese descent to be living in America during the war, and what they experienced when they enlisted in the US military. We are able to view both sides of WW II (American military and Japanese military) through the family members who either stayed in America and enlisted, or stayed in Japan and were drafted. We can hear the thoughts of the sons as they wonder if they will, one day, be fighting against their own brother on opposite sides. We have all seen pictures of the devastation brought about in Hiroshima; now we live through it from the Japanese viewpoint through the matriarch of the family. We can hear the planes making surveillance runs, and we can smell the burning of buildings and flesh. It wasn't just buildings and roads and gardens that were destroyed, it was families torn apart, pain and suffering. It's important to read the book keeping in mind the context in which it was written (the 1940s); it's also important to keep in mind what is happening in our country today.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carol Wakefield

    A remarkable story, meticulously researched and beautifully written, introduces us to a Japanese family living between Japan and the United States the five children moving between countries for different stages of their education. It was a not an unusual pattern until the late 1930s when the the countries were suddenly at war. . By the time of Pearl Harbor most of the family was in Japan and Harry and Mary, two of the older children had chosen to live in the US. And from there we get the A remarkable story, meticulously researched and beautifully written, introduces us to a Japanese family living between Japan and the United States the five children moving between countries for different stages of their education. It was a not an unusual pattern until the late 1930s when the the countries were suddenly at war. . By the time of Pearl Harbor most of the family was in Japan and Harry and Mary, two of the older children had chosen to live in the US. And from there we get the experiences of the family during the war years from both sides of the Pacific. Harry and Mary experience internment and eventually find a way out, Harry as a translator for the American forces in the Pacific. The family in Japan lives on the outskirts of Hiroshima. The authors descriptions of the families experiences remind my of John Herseys book on Hiroshima, one of the most moving books I have ever read. Harry goes on to a career in the military and eventually reunites with his family. Two of the brothers were drafted members of the Japanese forces but eventually become close to the brother who represented the US. A very impressive family and a mesmerizing read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I have read many, many books on WWII based from the war with Germany. But this is the first I have read about Japan. I was shocked, horrified and puzzled by many parts of this book. I will be reading it again soon because I am certain there are parts that I didn't understand in the beginning that I finally understood more about when ending the book. It wasn't just a few people willing to die for their country it was ALL of the people were willing to die for their country! And the US didn't I have read many, many books on WWII based from the war with Germany. But this is the first I have read about Japan. I was shocked, horrified and puzzled by many parts of this book. I will be reading it again soon because I am certain there are parts that I didn't understand in the beginning that I finally understood more about when ending the book. It wasn't just a few people willing to die for their country it was ALL of the people were willing to die for their country! And the US didn't understand how a second generation person born in the US could and would serve faithfully. The camps they were placed in weren't much better than what Germany was doing with the Jews and other undesirables. I received this book for free from a Goodreads Giveaway but that did not influence my rating of this book. I will be reading more about this time in history in Japan.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cymiki

    Great title for a deeper understanding of the Japanese American experience .... as experienced by one family whose family members were living America and Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The concentration camp experience in Japanese American literature has less personal affect as my parents did not live through that experience. In this book, the kibei (Japanese born in the U.S. and returned to Japan for schooling) experience does as my grandmother was of this named generation. Had no Great title for a deeper understanding of the Japanese American experience .... as experienced by one family whose family members were living America and Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The concentration camp experience in Japanese American literature has less personal affect as my parents did not live through that experience. In this book, the kibei (Japanese born in the U.S. and returned to Japan for schooling) experience does as my grandmother was of this named generation. Had no idea of the kind of family tensions that could arise from such a situation! Another thread I connected with was the Military Intelligence Service where Harry ends up to escape the concentration camp. I had 2 uncles who were in the MIS and I have a deeper understanding and appreciation as seen through Harry's perspective.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Okano

    This engrossing book chronicles the true story about an American Japanese family from Auburn, WA, who were separated during WWII--some siblings and their mother were in Hiroshima (including on August 5, 1945 (US time) and some siblings were in the US. For me, the book was of special interest, since my father spent his formative years in Hiroshima Prefecture and two of my uncles were in the MIS. The book details the children's experiences at militaristic Japanese public schools, the difficulties This engrossing book chronicles the true story about an American Japanese family from Auburn, WA, who were separated during WWII--some siblings and their mother were in Hiroshima (including on August 5, 1945 (US time) and some siblings were in the US. For me, the book was of special interest, since my father spent his formative years in Hiroshima Prefecture and two of my uncles were in the MIS. The book details the children's experiences at militaristic Japanese public schools, the difficulties Japanese American children had in Japan, how hard life was becoming for the average Japanese citizen in Japan even before Pearl Harbor, not to mention the even greater hardships afterwards, and the work of Japanese American soldiers in the MIS both before and after the war. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    A well-researched non-fiction account of the World War II experience of a Japanese American family. It was apparent the author deeply respected this family and she shares their story in a beautiful, honored manner. I learned some very interesting facts about war life in Japan and the treatment of Japanese-Americans in America during the war. Reading about the fear/hatred/suspicion of West Coast Japanese-Americans and the hysteria it caused is very relevant in the current presidential race. Thank A well-researched non-fiction account of the World War II experience of a Japanese American family. It was apparent the author deeply respected this family and she shares their story in a beautiful, honored manner. I learned some very interesting facts about war life in Japan and the treatment of Japanese-Americans in America during the war. Reading about the fear/hatred/suspicion of West Coast Japanese-Americans and the hysteria it caused is very relevant in the current presidential race. Thank you to the author for documenting a part of American history that is often just a one-sentence blurb in our history books and thank you to the family for opening up their personal lives and sharing it all.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    Very impressive telling of the lives of a Japanese American family who were not certain to which country they owed their allegiance, having lived in both. Sakamoto writes this as if it were fiction, but it is not. She takes us through the family members who are in America and those in Japan and lets us know what they are seeing and feeling. There are a number of people, but it is not confusing. War is sad. The atomic bomb was horrible. Sakamoto conveys this horror and the problems suffered by Very impressive telling of the lives of a Japanese American family who were not certain to which country they owed their allegiance, having lived in both. Sakamoto writes this as if it were fiction, but it is not. She takes us through the family members who are in America and those in Japan and lets us know what they are seeing and feeling. There are a number of people, but it is not confusing. War is sad. The atomic bomb was horrible. Sakamoto conveys this horror and the problems suffered by the Japanese during the war aside from the bomb. When there is no food, no clothing, and you are arming the grossly underfed civilians with bamboo spears, is it time to give up?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    fascinating book detailing the lives of a Japanese-American family caught on both sides of WWII, with one son and daughter in America, living in the relocation camps, and the son eventually serving in the army as an interpreter, and the rest of the family living in Hiroshima, with 2 sons in the Japanese army. The account of life in Hiroshima during the war was very interesting, to see how the Japanese stoically accepted all the privation and hardships as part of giving all to the Emperor. The fascinating book detailing the lives of a Japanese-American family caught on both sides of WWII, with one son and daughter in America, living in the relocation camps, and the son eventually serving in the army as an interpreter, and the rest of the family living in Hiroshima, with 2 sons in the Japanese army. The account of life in Hiroshima during the war was very interesting, to see how the Japanese stoically accepted all the privation and hardships as part of giving all to the Emperor. The fact that the early part of the book was set in Auburn, Washington, where the family originally settled, made it even more interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sami

    This important historical chronicle is well-researched and full of insights into how families on both sides of the sea experience the difficult climate of war. I learned so much. Although the book read as delightfully as a novel would, the power of the tale's authenticity stayed true beyond the final pages. I have recommended Midnight in Broad Daylight to people of all backgrounds. It's story enlarges our compassion and speaks meaningfully to us all.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Marean

    Meticulously researched, beautifully written this is a true story of a Japanese American family and their lives before and through WW 2. This is a work that took over 10 years to write; it's eminently readable and particularly poignant for me having lost a family member in the South Pacific battle.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    A fascinating account of a heartbreaking situation. A family is separated, with siblings in Japan and the United States, prior to and during World War 2. There was a wealth of information about the economic and social situation in both countries - very eye-opening. And the book was written in such a way that I just couldn't put it down. Will look for more from this author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    While I don't typically read non-fiction material- this beautifully written and meticulously researched piece of work had me hooked from the first page. The story of the Fukuhara family is incredible and it is amazing that the author has been able to help share this family with the world. This is an excellent read for all audiences from a history class to a book club.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    The Fukahara's story could not be more important than it is today. Pamela Sakamoto story of this Japanese-American family after Pearl Harbor demonstrates how fragile freedom can be when a nation is afraid. It is a story of the family's survival - through internment camps, battle and Hiroshima. Theirs is an extraordinary journey.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    A compelling narrative look at the story of a Japanese-American family that faces turmoil and strife both in America and Japan. Sakamoto writes in a conversational style that moves the story along quickly and easily while bringing the reader inside the story. This novel is a great resource for teaching about World War II and the Japanese-American internment camps.

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