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

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

by Kiyo Sato
     
 

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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. Yet at the outbreak of World War II, Kiyo's family was ordered to Poston Internment Camp. This memoir tells the story of the family's

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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. Yet at the outbreak of World War II, Kiyo's family was ordered to Poston Internment Camp. This memoir tells the story of the family's struggle to endure in these harsh conditions and to rebuild their lives afterward in the face of lingering prejudice.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Vividly honest, deeply moving.”—Bill Hosokawa, Out of the Frying Pan: Reflections of a Japanese American

“It is a magnificent memoir, fully worthy of being compared to Farewell to Manzanar. I cannot praise its pointillist realism, its Zen-like austerity, highly enough. Exquisite.”—Kevin Starr,California : A History

“Taken simply as a family chronicle, it is moving and graceful. But it is also a powerful, thought-provoking historical document.”—James Fallows, Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy 

"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.
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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:
534,282
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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