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Rising Sun, Falling Star by Vickie Hall
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Rising Sun, Falling Star

by Vickie Hall

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December 7, 1941 is a day many American remember as the day that Japanese forces attacked US military bases in Hawaii. For hundreds of thousands of Japanese and people of Japanese descent living in the US, this was the beginning of a horrible nightmare. Soon rounded up like cattle, they were forced to leave almost all of their possessions behind and live in "relocation centers," a polite name for what really amounted to a prison. Through the dark times, the Onishi family will have to depend upon each other in ways they never imagined.

This story was hard to read. I had heard about the relocation and detention of Japanese citizens and US citizens of Japanese ancestry, but I didn't know a lot of the details. The fact that this happened at all is horrific. I can't imagine what it would have been like to live like this. The book follows the Onishi family. Father Kenji owns a music store in San Francisco. He is truly living the American dream. His hard work has allowed him to buy a home and have a beautiful family. All that changes with the bombing of Pearl Harbor though. Suddenly the Onishis are the enemy merely based on how they look physically. Initially they go along with things to prove their allegiance to the US, but things quickly get out of hand when they realize this isn't the American experience they signed up for.

I found the writing to be a bit jumpy for my liking, but that doesn't take away from the story one bit. In this instance the story was so intriguing. I wanted to keep reading, but I was almost afraid to see how much worse things could be. If you are unfamiliar with the situation for Japanese (and people of Japanese descent) during those war years this is a must read. I can't imagine being forced from everything I know like that. Ultimately they find strength with each other though. The book manages to end on a rising note, and I wanted more just so I could see if the Onishis got the happy ending that I really felt they deserved. This book will make you think and will make you sad that something like this ever had to happen. It's not necessarily an enjoyable read, but it's a great book.

Book provided for review. ( )
  l_manning | Jul 30, 2013 |
4 STARS

Before hearing about this book I can only remember hearing about what happened once to the Japan American people. Sadly I really did not understand at all what it was about and what happened to so many innocent people.

This book was hard to read in so many ways. It told what happened to the fictional family Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their three children. Based on what happened to many people. It was hard for me to connect with the characters. I knew it would not be a easy book to read. I kept saying well that would not happen now, we know better, but do we? I think about 9/11 and anti Iran, Iraq, Afghan or the cold war anti Russia. It is easy to say us against them.
This tells how all of a sudden the Japanese/American citizens were now the enemies. That is was now okay to spit on them, round them up, destroy their property, take their homes, and make them pay for what the leaders of their former Country actions did.
How it kept going worse to worse before it got better. How some people turned negative, others tried to change by protesting, others by sacrificing. They could not change what was happening now but how they let them be affected they could change.

Kenji and Aiko had a nice house. Two boys and a girl. Mr. Onishi was proud that his children were American. He had his own business. Aiko had a good job in a flower shop. Little by little everything was taken from them by greedy people, by thoughtless ones.

They were first taken to a race track, lived worse conditions than the horses. Later they were sent to Topaz out by delta. The conditions were not great. I can picture just how hot and dry it got in the summer. No air condition, no fans, no thick walls and tall trees.( right now about an hour away from Topaz on Jun.13 it is 83degrees at 4:30) It is hot and that's with fans. Winter would really get cold their.)

Toward the end I was crying hard. The story did end on hope. These stories about the history different people faced is important to learn about so we don't keep making the same errors over and over again. They are
not easy to face and read about. But they did happen and some happened not so far from where I live now. Lets not let it happen again. ( )
  rhonda1111 | Jul 27, 2013 |
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