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

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

by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062351944
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 230,481
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Pamela Rotner Sakamoto is an  American historian. Fluent in Japanese, she lived in Kyoto and Tokyo for seventeen years. She works as an expert consultant on Japan-related projects for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and has taught in the University of Hawaii system. She is on the faculty at Punahou School in Honolulu.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

Prologue: Shockwave 1

Part I American Born, Bicultural Bred

1 At Home in Auburn 9

2 Hiroshima Sojourn 24

3 Growing Pains 35

4 The Great Depression 45

5 Ivory Bones and Leaden Ashes 54

Part II Adrift in Two Countries

6 Land of the Rising Sun 67

7 A Sorrowful Homecoming 90

8 Hazing in Hiroshima 102

9 Panic In Los Angeles 119

10 Silence from Glendale to Hiroshima 137

Part III The War on the Home Fronts

11 Incarcerated in California 151

12 The Empire's Home Front 162

13 Arizona Sandstorms 169

14 A Balmy Winter in Minnesota 183

15 Mary's North Star 193

16 Rations and Spies in Hiroshima 201

Part IV The War in the Pacific Theater

17 Suspicious from the Start 211

18 To the Front with a Typewriter 219

19 No Season for Cherry Blossoms 227

20 Taking New Guinea 231

21 Pierce's Stay of Execution 238

Part V Dooms Day Overture

22 A Stunning Encounter in Sarmi 243

23 Glacial Change in the Jungle 255

24 The "Red Paper" Draft 262

25 Extremes in the Philippines 272

26 Brothers at War 282

27 The Atomic Bomb 296

Part VI The Aftermath

28 Bittersweet Reunion 315

29 A Troubling Letter 333

30 Peace and Redemption 341

Epilogue: At Ease in Honolulu 355

Acknowledgments 359

Glossary 365

Notes 373

Selected Bibliography 413

Index 423

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