Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream

Overview

Kiyo's father arrived in California determined to plant his roots in the land of opportunity after leaving Japan. He; his wife, and their nine American-born children labored in the fields together, building a successful farm. But at the outbreak of the World War II, Kiyo's family was ordered to Poston Internment Camp.

Throughout their trials, the family pulled together to survive. Kiyo managed to work her way through college; her brothers served in the army. After the war they ...

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Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream

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Overview

Kiyo's father arrived in California determined to plant his roots in the land of opportunity after leaving Japan. He; his wife, and their nine American-born children labored in the fields together, building a successful farm. But at the outbreak of the World War II, Kiyo's family was ordered to Poston Internment Camp.

Throughout their trials, the family pulled together to survive. Kiyo managed to work her way through college; her brothers served in the army. After the war they returned to a ruined farm and a despoiled house. They began again.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kiyo's Story is unforgettable."—Sacramento News & Review

"Touching . . . an important portrait of a shameful period in American history."—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this memoir, originally published as Dandelion Through the Crack, first generation Japanese-American Sato chronicles the tribulations her family endured in America through the Great Depression and WWII. Emigrating from Japan in 1911, Sato's parents built a home and cultivated a marginal plot of land into a modest but sustaining fruit farm. One of nine children, Sato recounts days on the farm playing with her siblings and lending a hand with child-care, house cleaning and grueling farm work. Her anecdotes regarding the family's devotion to one another despite their meager lifestyle (her father mending a little brother's shoe with rubber sliced from a discarded tire) gain cumulative weight, especially when hard times turn tragic: in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the Satos find themselves swept up by U.S. authorities and shuffled through multiple Japanese internment camps, ending up in a desert facility while the farm falls to ruin. Sato's memoir is a poignant, eye-opening testament to the worst impulses of a nation in fear, and the power of family to heal the most painful wounds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Touching account of a Japanese-American woman's experiences, including her family's struggle through internment during World War II. Originally published in 2007 by Willow Valley Press as Dandelion Through the Crack, Sato's memoir earned a well-deserved William Saroyan Prize for Nonfiction last year. Readers, too, will find many rewards as she chronicles her long life. Her father first came to the United States from Japan in 1911. He married a Japanese woman and soon raised a large family in America. Kiyo, born in 1923, and her eight siblings helped their parents build a successful farm in California. The American dream seemed to be coming true for them until February 1942, when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which sent the Satos, along with more than 120,000 other Japanese-Americans, to internment camps. Now in her 80s, the author sets down amazingly detailed and poignant memories in immediate, present-tense prose: her mother sadly slicing vegetables in the kitchen on the last day before internment; boys at the camp catching rattlesnakes; her conflicted emotions when she got accepted to a college and left the camp. Not that life was necessarily easier at Hillsdale College in Michigan, where a fellow student told her, "You don't seem to remember that you're not white." After the Satos were released from the camp, they worked to rebuild their ruined farm and interrupted lives. Some of the saddest scenes take place during this period. The author writes movingly of her neighbors, the Yamasakis, whose farm was foreclosed and sold while they were interned, and the Kitadas, who lost all their belongings in a fire. Sato also revisits more intimate life experiences, includingher relationship with her mother through the years. An eloquent personal work that's also an important portrait of a shameful period in American history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569478660
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 690,682
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kiyo Sato: Kiyo Sato was born in California in 1923. She received a B.S. from Hillsdale College and a Master's in Nursing from Western Reserve University. She attained the rank of captain in the USAF Nurse Corps and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Nisei Post 8985, in Sacramento. During her career as a public health nurse, she developed the award-winning Blackbird Vision System for detecting eye problems in young children.

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Table of Contents

1 The Terror of December 7th 1

2 "Don't Come Back Here, Shinji" 7

3 Shinji's Dream 15

4 Strawberry Field 31

5 The Depression and Rearing Nine Children 47

6 The Reign of Terror 89

7 Evacuation Dap-Executive Order 9066 111

8 Locked Up! Guard Towers! 121

9 Journey to Poston 135

10 poston Concentration Camp II, Block 229, Barrack 1IA &_B 143

11 Free! First Child Released! Free! Second Child Released 173

12 Sugar Beets, Ofuro, and Windmill 203

13 Home Again: the Bittersweet journey 227

14 With Only a Shovel Again 255

15 I'm Too Old to Fight 281

16 Mama's Last Gift: How to Die 307

17 And the Seeds Swell 325

Postscript:A Letter to Tochan 331

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2009

    New edition of the wonderful Dandelion Through the Crack

    Kiyo's Story is a new edition (with some illustrations and a few minor edits and new design/layout) of Kiyo Sato's magnificent memoir Dandelion Through the Crack. The first edition is out of print, with rare copies selling for $300 online.

    Kiyo's Story tells of a family's quest for The American Dream, from arrival in America, through the challenges of the Depression and WW II internment (an episode still too widely unknown), through subsequent rebuilding of lives and contribution to the community.

    It is beautifully written, genuinely inspired and inspiring, illuminated by telling details of life and by the author's father's haiku and story telling.

    Kiyo Sato is widely in demand as a speaker, and in February 2009 was featured at a Smithsonian Institution presentation in Washington, D.C.

    Dandelion Through the Crack won awards, including the presigious 2008 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, in the nonfiction category. The new edition makes the book (retitled and redesigned) available to a wider audience.

    Also see my reviews of Dandelion Through the Crack (one on BarnesAndNoble.com, and a much longer one in the Web edition of the journal Knowledge Quest).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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