Michael G. Malaghan
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
Editor’s note: We continue Michael G. Malaghan’s serialized historical novel, “Picture Bride — A Family Saga,” based on the Japanese immigrant experience. Malaghan’s trilogy takes readers from turn-of-the-20th-century-Japan to Hawai‘i in the picture bride era; the Islands during World War II, highlighted by the exploits of the Nisei soldiers; and beyond.
The novel begins with 12-year-old Haru-chan, fleeing her home in Amakusa, Kyüshü, for Hiroshima, where she becomes the picture bride of a Buddhist priest in Hawai‘i.
Author Michael Malaghan is a retired businessman who divides his time between Hawai‘i, Florida and Japan.
Part IV — Allegiance
Waimea, Hawai‘i, Nov. 11, 1918
Haru set her coffee cup down on the dining room table, not suspecting that her already stressful day was about to become even more stressful and end even worse. Ualani was in the kitchen, washing the last of the breakfast dishes. Kenji was next door at his mission office, writing a letter to Bishop Imamura. Sachi, who had moved in with Kenji and Haru after her parents died of pneumonia, was reading stories to the nursery school children, including Haru’s 5-year-old son, Yoshio. Haru’s and Kenji’s first-born, a boy they had named Takashi, had ridden his bicycle to his third grade class an hour earlier. Haru looked down at 18-month-old “Tommy,” suckling her breast — Yoshio had such a difficult time pronouncing his little brother Tomio’s name, so Haru and Kenji decided to give him a nickname, “Tommy.”
Honolulu’s Pacific Commercial Advertiser, already three days old by the time the delivery boy tossed it on her porch, lay innocently next to the saucer, still tightly rolled.
Haru rubbed her stomach knowingly. She’d been lucky: three healthy sons, only one miscarriage. She recalled watching the Emperor ride into the Yasukuni Shrine and how she had pledged to breed sons to serve in his wars. The longer she lived in America, the more she appreciated a country that sent its sons into combat reluctantly.
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