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Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese American Internment Camps Paperback – March 10, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Mary's writing is so vivid and she makes the internment come alive as she shares her thoughts and feelings at being plunged into this terrible situation. While her anger and fear are so real, so also is the hope that her mother in particular, instills in the family.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand our history and also racial discrimination. In our world today when many are punishing those who "look like the enemy", may this book serve as a lesson to us all.
Jeanne Wakatusi Houston also wrote a classic memoir: Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment, and it is well worth reading both of the books for the similarities and differences between the two experiences. Houston was perhaps 8 or 10 years younger than Mary Matsuda, and her family dynamics were quite different, so they really complement one another. Being older, Mary Matsuda had to confront personally and directly issues that Jeanne Wakatusi Houston didn't, although of course her family members did. JWH tells us more about her life after the camps; MMG ends her books in 1945, with only an afterword summarizing the later lives of the Matsudas.
I found the book very vivid. I could easily imagine how I would feel having to destroy so much family history, even being afraid to keep a set of dolls lest it add fuel to the anti-Japanese fervor.Read more ›
The author was seventeen when she was imprisoned - old enough to understand the implications, young enough to rage at the injustice. Her own government, to which she pledged allegiance daily in school, imprisoned her without cause. In this book, she exposes the raw emotions - fear, anger, worry, doubt - that she felt during those formative years of her life, and tells vivid stories I will never forget. She persevered and endured, strengthened by the wisdom of her mother.
The book has changed me profoundly; I will never look at the removal of civil liberties in the same way again.
Mary Matsuda moved to Puget Sound with her family at the age of two, in 1927. She and her older brother, Yoneichi, aged four, were American citizens by birth. Her parents had emigrated from Japan, but due to complex and unforgiving American immigration laws at the time, they remained Japanese citizens. Life on Vashon Island was "idyllic," (p. 1); her family rented a small strawberry farm which they worked; Mary and her brother attended the local school and church; and all the residents were friendly and warm-hearted. There were only a handful of Japanese on the island, and Mary was one of the few in her schoolhouse, but rarely were any in her family victims of prejudice.
In December 1941, the Matsuda family trembled as they listened to radio broadcasts of the Pearl Harbor bombings. Though their neighbors and friends gathered around them in support, and though they were loyal residents, citizens, and believers in America, they were concerned the government might move against them. They burned all their cultural belongings; all their records, all their dolls, and all their photographs. The only Japanese item they did not burn was her parents' copy of the New Testament.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was curious about the Japanese internment. How terribly sad. A dark stain on US history No mention of people this in FDR memorial !!Published 6 days ago by krishna prasad
I couldn't put this book down. It was so interesting and you felt like you were there. The author did a great job of telling her story.Published 5 months ago by Lynn Hanson
Great book. Everyone should read this book, and learn the injustice done to our own citizens.Published 6 months ago by Dennis Copenhaver
This book was very helpful to understand the Japanese Internment from the viewpoint of Japanese Americans.Published 6 months ago by John D. Camp
Very interesting and informative. Growing up in Auburn, WA I had many Japanese-American neighbors. I went to summer camp on Vashon Island, where the author and her family had... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Pat