Color of the Sea

Color of the Sea

by John Hamamura
3.7 7


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Color of the Sea by John Hamamura

Growing up in a time between wars, Sam Hamada finds that the culture of his native Japan is never far from his heart. Sam is rapidly learning the code of the samurai in the late 1930s on the lush Hawaiian Islands, where he is slowly coming into his own as a son and a man.

But after Sam strikes out for California where he meets Keiko, the beautiful young woman destined to be the love of his life, he faces crushing disappointment - Keiko's parents take her back to Japan, forcing Keiko to endure their attempts to arrange her marriage. It is a trial complicated by how the Japanese perceive her - as too Americanized to be a proper Japanese wife and mother - and its pain is compounded by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which ignites the war that instantly taints Sam, Keiko, and their friends and family as enemies of the state." Sam himself is most caught between cultures when, impressed by his knowledge of Japanese, the U.S. Army drafts and then promotes him, sending him on a secret mission into a wartime world of madness where he faces the very real risk of encountering his own brother in combat.

From the tragedies of the camps through to the bombing of Hiroshima, where Sam's mother and siblings live, Sam's very identity both puts his life at risk and provides the only reserve from which he can pull to survive. In this beautifully written historical epic about a boy in search of manhood, a girl in search of truth, and two peoples divided by war, Sam must draw upon his training, his past, and everything he has learned if he's ever to span his two cultures and see Keiko, or his family, again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312340735
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/04/2006
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

John Hamamura was born in the final year of WWII in a U.S. Army hospital in Minnesota. His father was a GI Japanese language instructor. His mother's family was behind barbed wire at a camp in southern Arkansas. His father's mother and siblings lived in Hiroshima; two of them survived the atomic bomb. He lives in Oakland, California and Color of the Sea is his first book.

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Color of the Sea 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Color of the Sea" is a captivating story told in vivid, breathtaking images. The story is written in spare, clear prose that echoes the Zen mentality of the protagonist Sam’s early training in martial arts. I especially loved the descriptions of Sam’s martial arts training in Hawaii—swimming with the current, catching the butterflies, and the scene of his final testing in the rain.  The two main characters are so admirable they are almost perfect, yet still complex and magnetic: Sam is continuously torn between romantic passion and a strong, innate sense of honor, and the beautiful, fearless “samurai woman” Keiko is at the same time a jitterbug-loving California teenager.  Plot-wise, this isn’t a thriller, and there are long segments of the story where tension is low in terms of external danger or conflict, and yet it’s so exquisitely told—the world, the relationships, the personalities, the imagery—that the reading never becomes boring. The intrapersonal tension in this story between honor and passion, and between the love of two homelands, is unforced, understated, and deeply felt. I was fascinated by the dynamics of honor and respect, especially between Keiko and B-Sensei and between Sam and Captain Oshima. It is a thoughtful and lovely portrait of Japanese-American identity from within at a pivotal and very complex time in history.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a beautifully written novel that will be hard to forget. I highly recommend it. I think this novel brought forth the Japanese sense of honor and respect. And it explained Japanese American hardships suffered during World War II. It was a well written story of love and loss. I couldn't put it down.
Scigirl117 More than 1 year ago
I was delighted by the passionate writing of John Hamamura. I felt a connection to both the characters and the setting of this story. It will give you an insight to the honor and bravery of the Japanese peple that were caught between two worlds during the war. I laughed and cried with these characters and was sorry to let them go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Hamamura tells an unbiased story of the hardships Jpansese-Americans went through in his novel, Color of the Sea. He gives readers no mercy with the many sad events, forbidden loves, and loss of lives that occur in this novel. The characters all create a very real-seeming scenario that is sure to keep you turning the pages. Sergeant Sam Hamada, the main character of this novel, moved to Hawaii at a very young age, leaving his mother and siblings behind in Japan. He excels quickly in American life and is trained to become a samurai by one of my favorite characters, Fujiwara-san. Fujiwara-san is an old man whose supreme physical and mental strength would impress any reader. Throughout the rest of the book, Sam lives many places, accomplishes many tasks, and goes through many hardships, so do his family and long-time friends. This historical fiction novel is a must read for everyone. Pick it up today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not only beautifully written, but the story is both heartbreaking and uplifiting at the same time. There is appeal for both sexes. It's a story about the strength of love in war and about overcoming all of the challenges we face on a daily basis. I couldn't put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago