In her 38th bestselling novel, Danielle Steel creates a powerful, moving portrayal of families divided, lives shattered and a nation torn apart by prejudice during a shameful episode in recent American history.
A man ahead of his time, Japanese college professor Masao Takashimaya of Kyoto had a passion for modern ideas that was as strong as his wife's belief in ancient traditions. It was the early 1920s and Masao had dreams for the future—and a fascination with the politics and opportunities of a world that was changing every day. Twenty years later, his eighteen-year-old daughter Hiroko, torn between her mother's traditions and her father's wishes, boarded the SS Nagoya Maru to come to California for an education and to make her father proud. It was August 1941.
From the ship, she went directly to the Palo Alto home of her uncle, Takeo, and his family. To Hiroko, California was a different world—a world of barbeques, station wagons and college. Her cousins in California had become more American than Japanese. And much to Hiroko's surprise, Peter Jenkins, her uncle's assistant at Stanford, became an unexpected link between her old world and her new. But in spite of him, and all her promises to her father, Hiroko longs to go home. At college in Berkeley, her world is rapidly and unexpectedly filled with prejudice and fear.
On December 7, Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese. Within hours, war is declared and suddenly Hiroko has become an enemy in a foreign land. Terrified, begging to go home, she is nonetheless ordered by her father to stay. He is positive she will be safer in California than at home, and for a brief time she is—until her entire world caves in.
On February 19, Executive Order 9066 is signed by President Roosevelt, giving the military the power to remove the Japanese from their communities at will. Takeo and his family are given ten days to sell their home, give up their jobs, and report to a relocation center, along with thousands of other Japanese and Japanese Americans, to face their destinies there. Families are divided, people are forced to abandon their homes, their businesses, their freedom, and their lives. Hiroko and her uncle's family go first to Tanforan, and from there to the detention center at Tule Lake. This extraordinary novel tells what happened to them there, creating a portrait of human tragedy and strength, divided loyalties and love. It tells of Americans who were treated as foreigners in their own land. And it tells Hiroko's story, and that of her American family, as they fight to stay alive amid the drama of life and death in the camp at Tule Lake.
With clear, powerful prose, Danielle Steel portrays not only the human cost of that terrible time in history, but also the remarkable courage of a people whose honor and dignity transcended the chaos that surrounded them. Set against a vivid backdrop of war and change, her thirty-eighth bestselling novel is both living history and outstanding fiction, revealing the stark truth about the betrayal of Americans by their own government...and the triumph of a woman caught between cultures and determined to survive.
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Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 570 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Amazing Grace, Bungalow 2, Sisters, H.R.H., Coming Out, The House, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Masao Takashimaya's family had searched for five years for a suitable bride for him, ever since his twenty-first birthday. But in spite of all their efforts to find a young woman who suited him, he rejected each of the girls as soon as he met them. He wanted a very special girl, a young woman who would not only serve and respect him, as the go-between promised each would, but he also wanted a woman he could talk to. Someone who would not only listen to him, and obey, but a girl he could share his ideas with. And none of the girls he had seen in the past five years had come even close to fulfilling his wishes. Until Hidemi. She was only nineteen when they met, and she lived in a buraku, a tiny farming village, near Ayabe. She was a pretty girl, delicate, and small, and exquisitely gentle. Her face looked as though it were carved of the finest ivory, her dark eyes were like shining onyx. And she scarcely spoke to Masao the first time she met him.
At first, Masao thought she was too shy, too afraid of him, she was just like the others that had been pressed on him before her. They were all too old-fashioned, he complained, he didn't want a wife to follow him like a dog, and look at him in terror. Yet, the women he met at the university didn't appeal to him either. There were certainly very few of them. In 1920, when he began teaching there, the women he met were either the professors' wives or daughters, or foreigners. But most of them lacked the total purity and sweetness of a girl like Hidemi. Masao wanted everything in a wife, ancient traditions mixed with dreams of the future. He didn't expect her to know many things, but he wanted her to have the same hunger for learning that he did. And at twenty-six, after having taught at the university in Kyoto for two years, he had found her. She was perfect. She was delicate and shy, and yet she was fascinated by the things he said, and several times, through the go-between, she had asked him interesting questions, about his work, his family, and even about Kyoto. She rarely raised her eyes to look at him. And yet once, he had seen her glance at him, with excruciating shyness, and he thought her incredibly lovely.
She stood beside him now, six months after the day they met, with her eyes cast down, wearing the heavy white kimono her grandmother had worn, with the same elaborate gold brocade obi. A tiny dagger hung from it, so she could take her own life, should Masao decide that he did not want her. And on her carefully groomed hair, she wore the tsunokakushi, which covered her head but not her face, and made her seem even tinier as he watched her. And hanging just below the tsunokakushi were the kan zaslin, the delicate hair ornaments that had been her mother's. Her mother had also given her a huge princess ball, made of silk threads and heavily embroidered over the course of Hidemi's lifetime. Her mother had started it when Hidemi was born and added to it through the years, always praying that Hidemi would be gracious, noble, and wise. The princess ball was the most treasured gift her mother could give her, an exquisite symbol of her love and prayers, and hopes for her future.
Masao wore the traditional black kimono with a coat over it, bearing his family's crest, as he stood proudly beside her. Carefully they each took three sips of sake from three cups, and the Shinto ceremony continued. They had been to the Shinto shrine earlier that day for a private ceremony, and this one was the formal public marriage that would join them forever, in front of all their family and friends, as the master of the ceremony told stories about both families and their histories both of their families were present, and several of the professors Masao taught with in Kyoto. Only his cousin Takeo was not there. He was five years older than Masao, and was his closest friend, and he would have wanted to be there. But Takeo had gone to the United States the year before, to teach at Stanford University, in California. It was a great opportunity for him, and Masao wished he could have joined him.
The ceremony was extremely solemn and very long, and never once did Hidemi raise her eyes to look at him, or even smile, as they became man and wife, according to the most venerable Shinto traditions. And after the ceremony, at last she hesitantly looked up at him, and the smallest of smiles lit her eyes and then her face, as she bowed low to her new husband. Masao bowed to her as well, and then she was led away by her mother and her sisters to exchange her white kimono for a red one for the reception. In wealthy city families, the bride changed her kimono six or seven times in the course of her wedding, but in their buraku, two kimonos had seemed enough for Hidemi.
It was a perfect day for them. It was a beautiful summer day, and the fields of Ayabe were the color of emeralds. They spent the entire afternoon greeting their friends, and accepting the many gifts offered them, and the gifts of money carefully wrapped, and handed to Masao.
There was music, and many friends, and dozens of distant relatives and cousins. Hidemi's cousin from Fukuoka played the koto, and a pair of dancers performed a slow and graceful bugaku. There was endless food as well. Especially the traditional tempura, rice balls, kuri shioyaki, chicken, sashimi, red rice with nasu, nishoga, and narazuke. There were delicacies that had been prepared for days by Hidemi's aunts and mother. Her grandmother, "abaachan," had overseen all the preparations herself; she was pleased that her little granddaughter was getting married. She was the right age, and she had learned her lessons well. She would be a good wife for anyone, and the family was pleased with the alliance with Masao, in spite of his reputation for being fascinated by modern concepts. Hidemi's father was amused by him; Masao liked to discuss world politics and speak of wordly things. But he was also well versed in all the important traditions. It was a good family, and he was an honorable young man, and they all felt certain that he would make her an excellent husband.
Masao and Hidemi spent the first night of their marriage with her family, and then left for Kyoto the next day. She was wearing a beautiful pink-and-red kimono her mother had given her, and she looked especially lovely as Masao drove her away in the brand-new 1922 Model T coupe he had borrowed for the occasion. It belonged to an American professor at the university in Kyoto.
And when they returned to Kyoto they settled into his small, spare home, and Hidemi proved everything he had believed about her from the moment he met her. She kept his house immaculate for him, and observed all of the familiar traditions. She went to the nearby shrine regularly, and was polite and hospitable to all of his colleagues whenever he brought them home for dinner. And she was always deeply respectful of Masao. Sometimes, when she was feeling particularly bold, she giggled at him, particularly when he insisted on speaking to her in English. He thought it was extremely important that she learn another language, and he spoke to her on many subjects: of the British running Palestine, of Gandhi in India, and even about Mussolini. There were events happening in the world that he thought she should know about, and his insistence on it amused her. He was very good to her in many ways. He was gentle and kind and considerate, and he told her often that he hoped they would have many children. She was deeply embarrassed when he spoke of such things, but when she dared, she whispered to him that she hoped she would bring him many sons, and great honor.
"Daughters are honorable too, Hidemi-san," he said gently, and she looked at him in amazement. She would have been deeply ashamed to give him only daughters. She knew the importance of bearing sons, particularly coming from a farm community like Ayabe.
She was a sweet girl, and in the ensuing months they became good friends, as they learned to love each other. He was gentle and thoughtful with her, and always deeply touched by her myriad delicate gestures. She always had wonderful meals waiting for him, and flowers, perfectly arranged--particularly in the tokonoma, the alcove where the painted scroll was kept, which was their home's most important and honored decoration.
She learned what he liked, and what he didn't, and was careful to shield him from the most minor annoyance. She was the perfect wife for him, and as the months wore on, he was ever more pleased that he had found her. She was still as shy as she had been at first, but he sensed that she was growing more comfortable with him, and more at ease in his world. She had even learned a handful of phrases in English to please him. He still spoke to her only in English at night when they shared dinner. And he spoke to her often of his cousin Takeo in California. He was happy with his job at the university, and had just married a kibei, a girl who had been born in the States of a Japanese family, but had been sent to Japan to complete her education. Takeo had said in his letters that she was a nurse, her name was Reiko, and her family was from Tokyo. And more than once, Masao had dream...
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Book Description Dell Publishing Company, 2007. Mass-market paperback. Book Condition: New. Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. 405 p. Audience: General/trade. Bookseller Inventory # Alibris_0003596
Book Description Dell, 2007. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0440244021