Japanese Internment In Otsuka's When The Emperor Was Divine
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Effects of Japanese Internment
During World War II, Japanese- American people were relocated to multiple internment camps throughout the U.S. They were kept in these camps throughout the war and remained there for around four years. Once they were finally allowed to leave, they received twenty-five dollars and a train ride home. The impact of this event lasted far longer than the four years that they were imprisoned. These Japanese- American’s lost many things; some even lost their lives. Japanese- American relocation in the 1940’s caused the family in Otsuka’s novel When the Emperor Was Divine to lose their identities, to feel anger, resentment, and to feel ashamed of their origins.
In Otsuka’s novel, she never gives the character’s names in the book. The author does this to heighten the theme in the novel; this novel could be the story of…show more content… The children in the book felt a lot of shame in who they were when they came home from the camps. The children would look away from their own reflections. They saw the enemy in their faces and just wanted to be normal. The mother also told the children to say that they were Chinese. The mother had burned all of her belongings that connected her to Japan. “We would listen to their music. We would dress just like they did. We would change our names to sound more like theirs. And if our mother called out to us on the street by our real names we would turn away and pretend not to know her. We would never be mistaken for the enemy again"(Otsuka 114). When the American soldiers began coming back from the war with injuries, the children had felt ashamed, they knew that the American’s would begin to blame the Japanese. They were already facing prejudice. For instance, they kept having things thrown at their windows. This part in the book reminds me of the bottles that would be thrown through the train windows on the families’ way to