By Genpachi “Jūkichi” Tsushima
Translation by Kan Edmund Akatani
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
“Child of a Hawaiian Immigrant” is a historical novel that conveys the events, social conditions and life of the author’s own immigration and personal experiences while being faithful to historical facts. The main character Yōichi is based on the events of the author’s life in Okayama, Japan, his life as an immigrant sugarcane worker in Waipahu, his educational and professional life experiences, and his World War II internment. It was the first place winner of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii’s novel contest in celebration of the 1968 centennial of Japanese immigration to Hawai‘i. To purchase a copy of the translated book, go to blurb.com/b/10379589-child-of-a-hawaiian-immigrant.
CONTENT WARNING: The story below contains sexually explicit content.
Chapter 10: Temptation continued …
“If others come, they will think it strange, so let’s go inside.” She took Yöichi’s hand, stood up, and pulled determinedly. Yöichi, unable to withstand that pressure, stood up. As they entered the living room, she said, “Now that’s better, isn’t it?” and teasingly pressed her body against his.
Her white neck, fleshy arms, the roundness of her back and waist all were expressing a lively animated life. The way she moved her arms, and the way she consciously moved her round and meaty hips, all gave the impression of that of a skillful stage actress. She looked steadfastly at Yöichi with her long slit eyes. Her eyes seemed to be lighting something or awaiting something. Yöichi did not speak. The situation was beyond words. She drew her face close under Yöichi’s. Her eyes were closed. The slightly rouged lips were barely opened like a bud flowering. With her whole body she was waiting for the lips above.
Yöichi was struck numb by his aroused sensation. He hugged her waist and back in his arms and brought his lips hard on her lips.
“Ohhh!” moaned she.
On the eve of that Independence Day, Yaichi Kobayashi had received a phone call from Takamori-san, a man from his prefecture who lived in Honolulu. Takamori-san wanted to ask a favor of him so had asked if he could come to Honolulu at once. He would explain the details when they met. Since Kobayashi had received help getting work when he had lived in Honolulu and they were close friends from elementary school days, he took the train in the early morning.
When he met Takamori-san, he discovered that Takamori-san wanted him acting as a go-between for a marriage arrangement for Takamori-san’s eldest son. In those days in Hawai‘i, there were few love marriages or free marriages, and it was customary for a go-between to make the arrangements for the marriage in the old Japanese style. Takamori-san’s family and the family of the would be-bride were already on intimate terms. The two families mixed socially and the young couple knew each other. When the young lady was asked how she felt, she answered that she was not averse to the marriage. The Takamoris, thinking the bride to be a suitable wife for their son, decided to ask Kobayashi-san to be the go-between.
As he was listening to these circumstances and about the bride’s family it became noon. The next step would be for Kobayashi-san to go to the prospective bride’s house, and since Kobayashi-san was in Honolulu, Takamori-san asked if he could do that. Because Kobayashi-san had told his wife he would be home by noon, he phoned her to say that he had been asked to meet the bride’s parents and would be delayed until evening or night.
But when he visited the home of the prospective bride, she said that her parents were not home, and had gone to visit some friends in Kailua, on the other side of the island. Since nothing more could be done, Kobayashi promised to come on the next Sunday and decided to go home on the 1:00 train.
Arriving at Waipahu Station, Kobayashi-san was walking along the road that ran by a small river, when he heard the loud music from an orchestra. He recalled hearing that there would be a singing contest. He looked at his watch that read 1:30 in the afternoon. The Japanese Language School was in a thick grove of koa trees a little way in from the road to his house. Kobayashi-san thought he would drop in for a while and took the road past the Kitano Store that sold daily necessities. As he approached, the music from the orchestra became louder. The flags of the world were flying above the school yard and there was a large crowd of people gathered there.
The veranda of a classroom had been converted into a stage. There was a bright red and white screen. The chairs of the students were arranged in rows for spectators. Almost all the seats were occupied. A white sheet of paper was pasted on the stage with “Amateur Contest” written in poorly drawn characters. A girl of 16 or 17, dressed in a kimono, was singing “Tennen no Bi” (Beauty of Nature) to the accompaniment of the orchestra.
Kobayashi-san seated himself in the last row of the audience and looked around at the men and women in the audience more than at the singer. He was looking around for his wife. He stood up from his chair and looked into the comers of the crowd, but she was not there. Since Hisako loved the movies, theater and stage entertainment such as this and never missed such occurrences, he felt sure she would be here and stood up again from his chair. He walked to the end of the middle aisle but his wife was not there. Kobayashi intuitively thought it strange.
Because he was not returning until evening, suspicion grew in his mind that she may be playing around with a young man. Or she may even have invited a man into the house as she had once done. Suddenly, jealous rage welled up in him. He could no longer listen dispassionately to people singing in the contest.
Kobayashi-san hurried towards his home carrying a package with a pair of geta he had bought as a present for her at a Japanese store in Honolulu.
In the evening two or three weeks earlier, Kobayashi was returning home a little earlier than usual. Walking down the road to the camp, he met by chance Goto-san, a peddler of fish and meat, coming out from the lane that led to his cottage. Since it was not the usual hour for peddlers, Kobayashi-san thought that Goto-san must have come on some private business. Four or five days after that, Kobayashi-san returned home early because he was suffering from a stomach ache. He saw this same handsome peddler who was always well dressed, unlike the plantation laborers, opening the gate of his cottage and sneakily taking the road that led to the left, walking away as though not wanting to meet him.
On that occasion he confronted Hisako and accused her with his suspicions. Hisako said that Goto-san had forgotten to deliver the broiled eels that morning and had brought it in the afternoon. She took the eels out of the refrigerator and showed them to Kobayashi san, but he thought the whole story was a fabrication and did not believe her.
Since that time, Kobayashi-san had suspicions that the young peddler was meeting secretly with his wife from time to time. Because he had phoned her from Honolulu saying he would not be returning until night perhaps… returning home with these suspicions, he sensed that his attractive wife had invited that young fish peddler into the house. He became angry and his body shook.
Kobayashi-san, in order not to be noticed by Hisako, silenced his footsteps, climbed the cottage steps of the veranda quietly and noticed a pair of zori with yellow straps, which definitely were not his. Just as he thought. Jealousy mixed with fury began to mount in his chest.
He put his hand on the door knob, turned it. The door was not locked.
Two cigarette butts were in an ashtray on the living room table. Kobayashi-san only smoked Bull Durham cigarettes. He shook as though he could feel his heart beat. He walked stealthily, holding his breathing. He tiptoed into the kitchen, but Hisako was not there. Inside the house, all was quiet.
She may be taking an afternoon nap. She is a hard worker, always doing something, so she would not be taking a nap on a holiday like today. Kobayashi-san went toward the bedroom, which was on the right of the living room and put his face against the narrow slit in the rough-hewn door. Of course, he could see nothing inside.
“Oh. Oh.” Hisako’s voice reaching the height of ecstasy could be heard faintly.
Kobayashi-san’s anger could not be held back any longer. He grasped the door knob, turned it and opened it violently.