Midnight in Broad Daylight

Midnight in Broad Daylight

by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

Overview: Meticulously researched and beautifully written, 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—this is a riveting chronicle of U.S.–Japan relations and the Japanese experience in America.

After their father’s death, Harry, Frank, and Pierce Fukuhara—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved to Hiroshima, their mother’s ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry returned in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Harry was sent to an internment camp until a call came for Japanese translators and he dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, his brothers Frank and Pierce became soldiers in the Japanese Imperial 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 each other in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of their family.

Alternating between the 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—as never told before in English—and provides a fresh look at the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, it 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.

Faith Bowers (07/05/18): This was a book recommended by a CA book club and I really liked the book. It is fact but reads like fiction so the writing is very clear and you get to know the characters. The book centers on the oldest son of the second set of first generation children from Hiroshima immigrants to Seattle in the early 20th century. It was considered important to send your children back to Japan to learn how to be Japanese at an early age and his two older siblings were without their parents for 7 years.

The descriptions of both Japan during Japanese wars in Hiroshima, life in the town and Japanese schools where the children attended, avoiding conscription and WWII are all new information for American readers and that is where the author does her research and writes. The book will stay with you long after you finish reading. I have not yet read Celeste NG’s first novel but I will now.
Rating: ****

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