Takei, George: "They Called Us Enemy" recommendation
#1  Darqref 03-15-2020, 02:22 AM
I want to make a personal recommendation for this book.

George Takei is well known for his role in Star Trek. This has enhanced his ability to be heard publicly, and he's had several speaking engagements on the subject of the Japanese relocation during WW2.

With help from several artists, He has produced a graphic novel that tells the story of both his family's relocation and his speaking about it.

I found this is our local library in paper, but it was also available from the library from Hoopla.

One detail seemed very powerful: during the war, the residents of these camps were asked to sign a loyalty pledge, that had two parts. Part one asked if they'd be willing to fight for the US. Part two asked if they'd swear loyalty to the USA and forswear any loyalty to the Empire of Japan. Some of those who answered yes to both formed the 442nd Regimental combat team, that recieved the most decorations for heroics of any unit that size in the war. Most of those who answered no to both questions were moved to Tule Lake, in northern California, which dramatically changed the atmosphere of the camp.

One reason for answering no, was that the US had just imprisoned them, and many of them were legal US citizens (and others had been prevented from obtaining citizenship when they tried). Another reason for saying no, is that saying you would forswear loyalty implied that there *had been* such loyalty before.

And yet another detail: My grandfather worked for the Army Corps of Engineers before and during the war. At the time Tule Lake opened, he was the chief Engineer at the camp. By the end of the war, he had become the chief Administrator of the camp. He and my grandmother along with my mother and uncle all lived in the camp, although not in the same housing as the inmates. For quite a while, Mom went to the same schools as the Japanese kids. I've heard about this my whole life, yet this story brought many details to life.

I recommend this book very highly. It's a powerful story, and well told.

#2  astrangerhere 04-17-2020, 03:57 PM
This was in my top 10 from last year, so I second the recommendation.

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