“Kuma,” A Short Story, Part 1 of 3

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

Kuma black and white


Eddy Murakami’s10th birthday was on July 4, 1941 and he knew he wanted a dog.  He even had a name picked out already.  The dog’s name was going to be Kuma, which in Japanese means, “bear.”

For the entire month of June, Eddy begged his dad to get him a dog.

“Dad, can I have a dog?” Eddy would ask every time he saw him.

And every time Mr.  Murakami would say, “No.”

But Eddy wasn’t the kind of boy that took no for an answer.  So he kept asking.

By the time his birthday finally came, Eddy hadn’t been able to change his dad’s mind.  That’s why when his dad came home from work with a handsome 100-pound Akita, he had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.

“Happy birthday,” Mr. Murakami told Eddy.

Mrs.  Murakami asked him, “What are you going to call him?”

Eddy didn’t have to think about it.  “Kuma.” And the funny thing was that Kuma really did look like a bear!

“That’s a great name,” Mr.  Murakami said.

And from that point on, Kuma was part of the Murakami family.

Kuma and Eddy quickly became best friends.  Kuma went everywhere Eddy went.  They even slept in the same bed!  His mom told him that he’d get bit by fleas, but Eddy didn’t care.  He couldn’t fall asleep without Kuma right next to him.

Every day they visited Eddy’s other best friend, Julia, who lived right down the street from the Murakami’s.  Kuma liked Julia because she tied fancy bows in his hair and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.

December 7, 1941 started like any other Sunday.  Eddy and his mom went to the Church down the street.  During the middle of the service, people began to whisper that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Eddy knew his dad would want to know the news right away, so he excused himself and ran all the way home.

But when he got to his house, Eddy knew something was wrong.  There was a strange car parked in the driveway and the front door was wide open.

Eddy entered the house and saw Kuma growling at two strange men who looked like police officers, but were wearing suits instead of uniforms.

Mr.  Murakami told Eddy, “Take Kuma up to your room.”

Eddy was about to protest, but then he saw the look on his dad’s face.  He had never seen him look so scared before. Eddy did as he was told and when he came back down the two strangers were looking through all the family’s pictures and letters.

“Eddy,” Mr. Murakami said, “You are now the man of the house, take care of your mother.”

A few minutes later, the two men took Mr.  Murakami away in the car.

To be continued…

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About 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.
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