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.
On the morning of March 24, Taka was eating a late breakfast at a brown, wooden table in the student cafeteria after having attended his 7:30 a.m. Asian history class. He shook his head like an older brother catching his much younger brother with his hand in the cookie jar as he read the Advertiser’s fawning, front-page coverage of the “great” Clarence Darrow’s arrival at Honolulu’s cruise ship pier. Pafko’s accompanying editorial would have one believe that, at age 74 and with a lifetime of court victories behind him, Darrow’s dazzling oratory would soon put all this unpleasant murder indictment business to bed by convincing any jury of the righteousness of bringing back a not-guilty verdict for the four defendants.
Taka’s anger grew, not with Pafko, but with himself. It wasn’t enough to just shake his head in disapproval. He swirled the final morsel of his over-easy egg into the rice remains on his plate, lifted them to his mouth and washed it down with the last of his coffee. Taka rose, crumpled the newspaper in his fist and walked over to the trashcan. He jammed the offending newsprint on top of napkins and paper plates and then fast-stepped to the bike rack.
As he pumped his legs down Kapi‘olani Boulevard, he began drafting his next column in his head. It was a touch of arrogance considering his predicament — after all, he was an unemployed writer.
Twelve minutes later and out-of-breath, Taka stormed into the Hochi office. His father was right: He was a voice. He recalled the last time he likened his cause to Don Quixote fighting windmills. One of his pals who had heard the bromide once too often reminded him, “Don Quixote never gave up.”
Taka also missed the buzz of the copy room and the adrenalin of pounding keys to meet a deadline. As he walked down the aisle leading to Makino’s office, seasoned newspapermen looked up from their typewriters and greeted him. He returned their smiles, straightened his back and stepped up his pace. He belonged here!
As Taka entered his editor’s office, Makino smiled wryly. It wasn’t quite a smirk. “Taka, my young frustrated idealist . . . have a seat.”
On Makino’s desk, Taka could not help but notice a press pass printed with his name: Takeshi Takayama.
Taka’s eyebrows rose. “You knew I’d be back?”
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