They Called Us Enemy ペーパーバック – 2019/7/16
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New York Times Bestseller!
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.
"They Called Us Enemy is truly beautiful — moving, thoughtful, important, engaging, and stunningly rendered. I am so excited to see this book's impact on the world." — Jacqueline Woodson, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming
"George Takei’s story reveals the important lessons of the WWII Japanese American Incarceration that still need to be learned today. They Called Us Enemy is a compelling must-read for all ages.” — Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute
"Riveting... Takei has evolved into an increasingly powerful voice for oppressed communities, and Enemy finds him at peak moral clarity — an unflinching force in these divisive times." — The Washington Post
"A detailed, wrenching account... They Called Us Enemy should prove the most potent introduction for younger readers to this ignoble chapter in our history." — The New York Times
"Powerful, moving and relevant." — Los Angeles Times
"Moving and layered... Giving a personal view into difficult history, [They Called Us Enemy] is a testament to hope and tenacity in the face of adversity." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A compelling blend of nostalgia and outrage... this approachable, well-wrought graphic memoir is important reading, particularly in today's political climate." — Booklist (starred review)
"This evocative memoir shares stories of the nation’s past, draws heartbreaking parallels to the present, and serves as a cautionary tale for the future."— School Library Journal (starred review)
"Emotionally staggering... They Called Us Enemy also inspires readers to engage through democracy to insist that we treat fellow human beings with fairness and dignity." — Amazon's "Best Books of the Month"
"A cogent reminder that liberty and justice is not always for all, They Called Us Enemy explores a dark episode of America’s past as it dives into the heart of a pop culture icon." — Foreword Reviews' "Indie Books That'll Blow You Away"
"The creators are gifted storytellers, and Takei has a great story to tell, full of unexpected twists. And as compelling as it is, it is also inspirational, a story of ordinary people and the choices they faced in an extraordinary time." — ICv2
"A tale of triumph over adversity." — BBC America
コミックライターやイラストレーターとのコラボレーションである『They Called Us Enemy（彼らは私たちを敵と呼んだ）』は、歴史をすっかり忘れているアメリカ人に「同じ過ちを犯してはならない」と思い出させるものであり、「お前は、我々とは違う」から「人間として同じ尊敬を持って扱う必要はない」という大衆心理が与える影響の残酷さを訴えるものである。
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Not long after, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living in the U.S. were sent to live in internment camps. In the spring of 1942, Takei was incarcerated first at Santa Anita Racetrack, where the family spent months living in a horse stall, and then in two successive internment camps. He had just turned 5. He spent the next 4 years living behind barbed wire with his parents and two younger siblings. Especially harrowing was the long train trip from California to their first internment camp in Arkansas, taken at a time in history when being herded onto a train led to a notoriously bad outcome. Takei's determined mother did everything she could to turn the journey into a vacation for her children, and it is a testament to her determination that she succeeded.
Takei's mother was born in the United States. But his father, while raised in the U.S., had been born in Japan. He was not a U.S. citizen because at the time it was illegal for Asians to apply for U.S. citizenship. (!) These distinctions became critically important for the family. While the Takei family was in an internment camp, the Supreme Court found the camps unconstitutional. U.S. citizens could no longer be held in internment camps, but ironically Japanese-Americans were safer behind barbed wire because of the stunningly racist environment of the time. Takei's mother took the difficult step of renouncing her U.S. citizenship so she could remain in the camp, only to face deportation to war-ravaged Japan when the war ended.
Years ago, I read George Takei's autobiography To the Stars. It was published in 1994 and, as an avid Trekkie who read all the autobiographies of the Star Trek gang, I bought it immediately. I expected to read about George Takei's experiences filming Star Trek; instead, I was blindsided by reading in vivid detail about his childhood in an internment camp in which people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated. I was 33 years old, college educated with three graduate degrees. I had never before heard about these camps. Our history books have been whitewashed. In high school and in college, it simply never came up.
My stomach was in a knot before I even cracked open this book. It comes into my hands as people of conscience struggle with what is happening at our southern border. Children are being separated from their parents at the border, the children effectively incarcerated under unfathomable conditions, the parents also jailed or sent back to their countries of origin. Asylum seekers are commonly being (mis)referred to as illegals. Dreams of the better future promised by the U.S. are being destroyed, innocents imprisoned. In this context, I opened the book. It had me in tears by page 8.
Apparently, history has taught us nothing.
You have heard the expression “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” and its corollary “Those who can remember the past are condemned to watch other people repeat it.” This is why this book is so important, right now. It could not have been published at a more meaningful time than when we are once again incarcerating children for non-existent crimes.
They Called Us Enemy is a powerful history lesson, one we should never forget. The writing is good. The artwork is sparse, but it works very well with the story it is telling. One weakness is that no context is given for World War II, just that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and then the U.S. found itself at war. But it is an excusable omission; the authors must have made judicious decisions about what to include and what to exclude, and the tale they tell in this story will stay with you. It is an emotional gut-wrenching read of a history we would do well not to forget and better not to repeat.
My thanks to the publisher for providing an advance reader copy of this book which in no way influenced my review.
This graphic novel was sitting at my door today when I got home, and I read it in two hours.
They Called Us Enemy is a memoir that tells the story of George Takei (known for his groundbreaking role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek as well as his activism for social justice) and his family’s imprisonment in two different internment camps during World War II. Jumping between the present day and WWII,
this is a text that belongs in all school and classroom libraries. (Honestly, though, if you know a middle grade/high school reader with an interest in WWII or social justice, they’d like this book.)
I was mesmerized by this story. Tears definitely fell from my eyes, and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end. I love that it is written as a graphic novel and adds another access point for kids to interact with this chapter of history. It also is a wonderful tribute to the Takei family and a haunting (and timely) reminder of the importance of learning from history’s mistakes.
I genuinely enjoy reading George Takei’s comments on our lives and the world we live in now. His sense of humor helps to keep the horror at bay. But he also articulates his opinions of the horror, in bright powerful language. It is hard to imagine what he survived and now he has drawn it out for us, in vivid style and mesmerizing voice.
This is a difficult book and I would let children read it. (Mine is on Kindle so they won't, but I will certainly buy it in paperback shortly.) This is an American story. They are living it now. It was an American internment camp. FDR ordered people of Japanese descent put into camps without due process. They lost everything, from their homes to their jobs and their freedom. Children know what is going on in our country.
Takei uses the comic book format to explain this to a younger audience. “The resonance of my childhood imprisonment is so loud today…every headline, every morning…It’s an endless cycle of one inhumanity, cruelty, injustice, repeated generation after generation. And it’s got to stop. We have to learn our history. America is a land that is made up of the desendents of immigrants.” (Washington Post interview with George Takei, published 7/16/19).
This is about history and now.