“Kuma,” A Short Story, Part 2 of 3

Please Note: This story is fictional and was originally intended for a children’s book. 

Kuma black and white II

Previously… “Kuma” (Part 1)

Kuma (Pt. 2)

Eddy was a Nisei, which means second generation Japanese.  In other words, his parents were born in Japan, but he was born in America and was therefore a citizen.  Because he had never visited his parent’s homeland and since he couldn’t speak a word of their native language, he always felt more American than Japanese.

But when others saw Eddy, they saw the enemy. At school, the other kids wouldn’t let him play baseball during recess and the teachers stopped calling on him in class. They all blamed him for what Japan had done.  It was the first time Eddy felt more Japanese than American.

Not everyone stopped being friends with Eddy.  Julia told him. “Now you have more time for me.”

Kuma barked, which was his way of saying, “Don’t forget about me, too!”

A month after Mr.  Murakami was taken away, the family finally got a letter from him.  Mr.  Murakami told them that he was safe, but he couldn’t say where he was.

In late March 1942, Eddy was playing catch with Kuma and Julia when one of their old Japanese neighbors walked past them in tears.

“They are sending us away,” she told them.

Eddy wanted to know more, so Julia, Kuma, and Eddy went down to City Hall.  On a wall, there was a poster and on it in big black letters were the words, “Instructions To All Persons of Japanese Ancestry.”

Eddy didn’t understand the rest of the poster so he asked one of the adults nearby to explain it to him, “It says that we have to leave our homes and move away.”

“When?”

“In a week.”

“But how will Dad find us?” Eddy later asked his mom.

“I guess we’ll have to write him a letter and tell him where we are.”

Eddy knew his mom was sad.  He wanted to say something to make her feel better, so he told her, “Ganbatte,” which means, “Do your best” in Japanese.  She always said that to him when he struggled with his homework.

To be continued…

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Author: Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (www.CHOPSO.com), the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.