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, Georgia and Japan.
Sunday brunch at the Takayama home that February was a dismal affair, with no one more disappointed than Haru. She believed in the promise of America, and now this.
“What did I tell you about the whites?” said Hiromi. “The killing of a nonwhite by four whites is called an ‘honor killing.’ They are demanding that the murderers go unpunished.”
Haru sighed, her eyes roaming over all six children. In a voice sounding more defeatist than her family was used to, she said, “I confess that I never suspected the degree of loathing haoles feel toward us, seeing us only as their racial inferiors. Buddha knows how hard I’ve worked to raise you all as good Americans.”
“Sorry, Mommy,” blurted Hiromi, “but our citizenship has only made the whites hate us even worse. We will vote, and then, good-bye, Big Five.”
Suddenly, she flared, “Haha, they will never let that happen. You just wait and see. You don’t see any colored governors in Mississippi or Alabama, do you? Well, they will make sure that no Japanese will ever govern them. She waved her chopsticks in the air. “Just like a few years after I was born, they passed an immigration law. NO MORE JAPS!” Hiromi’s shrill voice silenced the table.
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