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No-No Boy (Classics of Asian American…

No-No Boy (Classics of Asian American Literature) (original 1957; edition 2014)

by John Okada (Author), Lawson Fusao Inada (Introduction), Ruth Ozeki (Foreword)

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4991331,203 (3.58)6
Title:No-No Boy (Classics of Asian American Literature)
Authors:John Okada (Author)
Other authors:Lawson Fusao Inada (Introduction), Ruth Ozeki (Foreword)
Info:University of Washington Press (2014), Edition: Reprint, 232 pages
Collections:Your library

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No-No Boy by John Okada (1957)

  1. 00
    Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (weener)
    weener: About coming to terms with the aftermath of war.
  2. 00
    Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)

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No-No Boy Summary. The novel opens as Ichiro, a no-no boy and second-generation Japanese American man, returns home to Seattle. World War II has just ended, and Ichiro is free for the first time in four years. He has spent two years in an internment camp, and the next two in prison, after he refused the draft.
  HeidiSki | Jul 11, 2019 |
The primary focus of the book was Ichiro who refused to fight for the United States against Japan. Not only have Americans shown racism against him since has return but also he has had many friends and family members show their disappoint him. I found that I could relate to the book because I am from another country and I have faced some racial tensions as well. Also I have face backlash from some decisions that I have made since I been in the U.S. since some of them don't fit my culture. The one thing that disappointed somewhat is that it feels as if there wasn't really a good.Also that this a realistic book because you get the sense that Ichiro some hero who defeats evil and obtain a girl as many books seem to do these days.The ending makes you feel as if Ichiro still hasn't found piece with himself. i would recommend this book to individuals who have a interest in World War 2 and also to people who are going through an identity as Ichiro is. There's parts that lag but overall it's a solid read for most people. ( )
  MacADub | Apr 28, 2016 |
I'm not really sure what to say about No-No Boy. It's very tragic. Very true. Very well-written. It highlights an era of American history that is often, if not always, glossed over. I had no idea about Japanese-American issues before reading this book, and I must say that Ichiro's story told it very well.

The only thing I would say is that the ending felt very abrupt to me and I wanted a little bit more. Every time it felt like things were concluding, more would happen. And then more happened, and then it ended. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Feb 26, 2016 |
No-No Boy was searingly wrong for its time: in 1956 John Okada wrote a novel about a Japanese American man who went to prison instead of fighting for a country that had sent his family to an internment camp. It was a time when white readers weren't ready to read the truth, and when Japanese-Americans were trying to move on. This novel was just reprinted last year by U Washington Press, with a foreword by Ruth Ozeki--it's worth getting a copy of the new edition just to read her essay about Okada and about the immediate post-WWII realities of Japanese American life. As Ozeki writes in her foreword, Ichiro's "obsessive, tormented" voice subverts Japanese postwar "model-minority" stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man's "threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world."

I was expecting something polemical and discovered something far more subtle. The characters are complicated in interesting ways. I expected Ichiro, the titular No No Boy, to be righteous, a conscientious objector, to have a strong and (from my vantage point of 2015) completely defensible reason for refusing to swear loyalty to the United States or to enlist in the US armed forces when at the same time his people were being shipped off to internment camps.

Not at all. The novel is simply told, but never simple. Instead, the protagonist, Ichiro, is full of shame and self-doubt about his decision to refuse to swear a loyalty oath to the U.S. He wishes he could change his mind and take back the last two years, not because he spent them in prison, but because now he doesn't know who he is any longer. He envies friends who have come home wounded from the war; he even envies the war dead, even though their sacrifices have not given their families any more acceptance, and have not shielded them from race hatred at home.

Along with Ichiro, Okada introduces a host of other characters who each reflect a reasonable response to the prejudice and hardships faced by Japanese Americans in the 50's. One of my many favorites is Ichiro's mother, an unabashed Japanese nationalist, a woman who thinks any news about Japanese defeat must be U.S. war propaganda, and who rejects even the letters from her own family members in Japan as false.

Okada's writing has a hard-boiled feel that reminded me of From Here to Eternity by James Jones, which was published just a few years prior to No No Boy. The themes of the novel anticipate the turmoil of the Viet Nam war to follow, when men of a certain age found themselves divided into those who fought, and those who fought the draft. The novel should be read more widely not only as literature but as a fictional testament to the era in which it was written. ( )
  poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I understand why this is considered a classic; I was moved by the emotions and struggles of not only the main character, Ichiro, but by all of the characters, and how each was affected by their decisions regarding WWII, and even their greater life decisions (for example, Mama's views on Japan and America and WWII). It is well written but not plot driven. While I enjoyed reading it when I picked it up, I never felt compelled to pick it back up again when I wasn't reading. Even still, I think this novel will stay with me for a long time. All of the books I've read about Japanese Americans during WWII all took place before or during the war, so it was interesting to read a new perspective: what happens after the war, when people return home? There were many wonderful insights in this book...about being an immigrant, about being an American, and what that means...about racism and hatred and people. These insights and his beautiful writing ultimately land the book as "I liked it" even though the plot didn't fully capture my attention. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Okadaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chin, FrankAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inada, Lawson FusaoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ozeki, RuthForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my wife Dorothy
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Two weeks after his twenty-fifth birthday, Ichiro got off a bus at Second and Main in Seattle.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In the aftermath of World War II, Ichiro, a Japanese American, returns home to Seattle to make a new start after two years in an internment camp and two years in prison for refusing to be drafted.

(summary from another edition)

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