Toyoko Yamasaki’s novel Two Homelands (Futatsu no sokoku) tells the powerful story of three brothers during the years surrounding World War II. From the attack on Pearl Harbor to the Pacific War, relocation to Manzanar, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the Tokyo war crimes trials, we follow the lives of Kenji, Tadashi, and Isamu Amo, the California-born sons of Japanese immigrants. The eldest, Kenji, must grapple with what it means to belong to two nations at war with one another and to face betrayal by both. Tadashi, in school in Japan when war breaks out, is drafted into the Japanese army and renounces his U.S. citizenship. Later Kenji and Tadashi find themselves on opposite sides of a battlefield in the Philippines; although they both survive the conflict, their relationship is destroyed by the war. Isamu, the youngest and the most thoroughly American of the brothers, loves John Wayne movies and gives his life to rescue the lost Texas battalion fighting in France.
Popular Japanese novelist Toyoko Yamasaki spent five years interviewing Japanese-Americans and researching documentary sources to assemble the raw material for her book. Through the story of the Amo family, she forces readers to confront the meaning of “love of country” as her characters encounter prejudice and suspicion on both sides of the Pacific. Almost a quarter century after its Japanese publication, this English-language translation affords a valuable opportunity to understand the postwar reassessment of what it means to be Japanese in the modern world.
Translated by V. Dixon Morris
November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-2944-5 / $36.00 (PAPER)
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