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, which is now available as a printed softcover book, opens 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.


Haru stepped out the back door with Kenta riding in a sling on her back. Another strap holding an open wicker basket hung from her left shoulder. She surveyed the rows of corn, carrots, radishes, lettuce and tomato plants in the back, fronting the tree line. Frowning, she turned to Kame, who was walking behind her, carrying another basket.

“Yesterday the mission grounds seemed so spacious and our garden so large. Now the space seems so small with all the displaced families, and our garden is too meager to feed so many.”

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Haru turned toward the sound. Breathing heavily, Sam was pounding a peg into the ground to start marking off 8-by-5 grassy “housing plots,” as he called them. Holding the mallet in his right hand, he called over, “Including the front yard, we have enough space for 40 families. We can squeeze another 10 into the hotel.”

Sam paused to catch his breath. “Bilkerton is as evil as any man I’ve known. His hands have the blood of a child and a mother, and yet he evicts his families. And the law stands behind him because his workers strike over this outrage.”

Thinking of Tamatsuke’s early morning plea, Haru said, “We will let the sheriff chase the murderers. Our mission is to focus on what we can do — provide support for families so the workers won’t crawl back to their jobs defeated. Justice means we win the strike, Sam.” Looking at her basket brimming with ripe tomatoes a few minutes later, she knew she couldn’t postpone her next mission any longer.

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