Eyes of the Emperor

One of the things I have learned doing all this reading about the Japanese Americans is that the books aimed at a teenage audience are often much better done, and have more of an impact, then those books aimed for adult. This book is a primary example of that concept.

The story is about Eddy Okubo, a Nisei kid of 16 on Hawaii. His father is a supporter of Japan, but Eddy is Americanized. He and his father work on building boats, and things go wrong when a boat they have just finished is blown up.

Some of his friends join the Army and he also joins, faking his actual age. Then December 7th hits, and he joins his fellow in their tent camp. Later all their weapons are taken from them and then machine guns are put up around their camp for a day.

The next day the guns are gone. The guys are sent out into the surrounding area to hunt down paratroopers (who never actually were there) and later to defend the beach, where they capture the first prisoner-of-war, a Japanese who was part of a mini-sub team.

From there they are sent on a secret mission to help train dogs to hunt and find Japanese since Japanese smell different than whites.

At least that's what FDR believed and why the program was actually set up. A lot of other things in the book deals with how Eddy and the other Nisei were looked down upon by the military and even hated by some of them. Yet Eddy is a soldier, working for America, and he stubbornly perseveres no matter what happens.

Which is a large part of what this book is about. Learning to deal with adversity and realizing the strength within yourself.

An excellent book. By the way, it's based on factual events.

Main Index
Japan main page
Japanese-American Internment Camps index page
Japan and World War II index page