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Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream Paperback – December 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1569478660 ISBN-10: 156947866X Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; Reprint edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156947866X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569478660
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this memoir, originally published as Dandelion Through the Crack, first generation Japanese-American Sato chronicles the tribulations her family endured in America through the Great Depression and WWII. Emigrating from Japan in 1911, Sato's parents built a home and cultivated a marginal plot of land into a modest but sustaining fruit farm. One of nine children, Sato recounts days on the farm playing with her siblings and lending a hand with child-care, house cleaning and grueling farm work. Her anecdotes regarding the family's devotion to one another despite their meager lifestyle (her father mending a little brother's shoe with rubber sliced from a discarded tire) gain cumulative weight, especially when hard times turn tragic: in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the Satos find themselves swept up by U.S. authorities and shuffled through multiple Japanese internment camps, ending up in a desert facility while the farm falls to ruin. Sato's memoir is a poignant, eye-opening testament to the worst impulses of a nation in fear, and the power of family to heal the most painful wounds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Kiyo's Story is unforgettable."—Sacramento News & Review

"Touching . . . an important portrait of a shameful period in American history."—Kirkus Reviews

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
Very well written.
Linda J Thrasher
Every American child needs to have this book as required reading in high school.
Terri Merritts
Kiyo's life is an amazing story and she is an incredibly strong woman!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ruff on April 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that belongs in every library, especially school libraries. It is the story of a Japanese man who came to the United States as a 14 year old boy, returned to Japan to marry his bride,returned to the United States to raise a family of 9 high-achieving children on a farm in the Sacramento Valley of California. This poignant story is told by Kiyo Sato, the oldest of their children.It tells of how her family struggled to improve the land and make it productive.She tells of the internment without bitterness but with great sadness that her country could do this to her family. She tells of her parents' determina- tion that the children receive a good education and become good citizens.
They became nurses, scientists, secretaries, nurses, engineers. Five sons served in the military A daughter served as a Captain in the Air Force Nurse Corp. She tells the story of her family and remarkable father simply and lovingly. It is what it is...the story of a family who overcame almost unsurmountable odds and never gave up on America.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Danalee Lavelle on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book locally on May 30th, 2009; I finished it on June 2nd, 2009. I can only say I was moved to tears many times reading this book. The Sato family survived an American Holocaust that no family should've been subjected to; yet, thousands were. As a resident of Sacramento, my reading about the places of Kiyo's childhood that I was vaguely familiar with, brought them to life. Weaving her family's legacy with her father's Haiku was a delightful addition to the already moving story. Kiyo truly brought her parents back to life with this book. It is a wonderful tribute to the strength and spirit of a beautiful couple who put their trust in a God, even when other Christians were treating them abominably. Even after the war years, the family was treated badly. Reading about the unscrupulous actions of local business giants and their attempts to squeeze the Sato family off their land made me ill. I certainly lost respect for some of the County Board of Supervisors I have known through the years. Thank you, Kiyo, for opening your heart and soul and sharing the legacy of your family. As you indicated in closing, the Sato family is truly Americanized (in the best sense)--a wonderful diversity of cultures and ethnicities--all of whom can point to the fortitude of Shinji and Tomomi Sato, the strong roots of their glorious family tree.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Umbach on January 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kiyo's Story is a new edition of Dandelion Through the Crack, with some minor edits, new typesetting, new cover design. Same great book otherwise.

See the reviews of Kiyo Sato's Dandelion Through the Crack, as all are equally pertinent to the new edition.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Terri Merritts on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I recently read Kiyo's Story and I still lie in bed at night thinking about Kiyo and her family. My father was very young when he was drafted into World War 2 and sent from California to the Pacific theater to battle the Japanese. He knew the terror of kamikaze pilots making suicide runs and he knew the agony of being seriously injured (left untreated) and being a prisoner of war of very cruel Japanese soldiers. What he did NOT know was how to hate all Japanese for the actions of some.

My father grieved and raged over the USA committing a human rights violation by dropping atomic weapons on CIVILIAN targets and killing innocent babies, toddlers, school kids, housewives, grandmas and grandpas, the handicapped, Downs Syndrome teens and other noncombatants (the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor- a military installation) and he equally grieved and raged over the treatment and incarceration and hatred of Japanese-Americans, noting that we were also fighting Germany and Italy but did not set up concentration camps for German-Americans and Italian-Americans. It was a clear case of racism and bigotry.

Daddy died over 20 years ago but he would have cried over this book just as I did. I loved this family and am one white Atheist who would have felt honored to be friends with these Japanese christians had I lived at the time all of this happened.

Kiyo has put a personal face and story to the racist confinement of Japanese Americans during World War 2. The book is so warm and loving, full of grace and class. This family is just classy in every way. They are a family like any other and their ethnicity should not be grounds for hatred and prejudice. I was absorbed in their personal story. This story is so inspiring and encouraging and shows what family life can be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matt Beatty on September 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I loved this story so much more than I thought it would. It was a random recommendation from my dad, and then my wife read it first and I finally got to it quite a bit later, just because. For no good reason.

And I am lucky for doing so. Kiyo's tale is about family. There is history, much of the Japanese internment and Japanese-American relations (or lack thereof) in the 20th century. There is farming and hard work, the American dream perched on the backs of industrious and persistent immigrants, people with dedication, loyalty, and love--to their families, their dogs, their newly adopted nation, to any spot of land that could be called theirs.

More than inspiring. I felt encouraged to work harder, love deeper, and experience fuller. I will be a better father, tell my children more stories, work and play with them more. (Kiyo's mother and father were apparently some of the truest saints in this world.)

I finished this at 3:30 am, weeping. That's a little hard to admit, maybe, but I felt such a deep appreciation for people and family and love, life and living it. Potential. History under the asphalt, history for every person living or dead, told and untold, remembered and forgotten. This book is a gift to Kiyo's family. It's a history of good people, the best. I want to visit the very few remnants of their family farm near Mather Field, maybe find one of those long-abandoned almond trees in the high weedy grass and just sit under it, put my hands in the fallow red soil that was once turned fecund by the toils of gentle souls.
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