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Gaijin: American Prisoner of War

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3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  700 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
With a white mother and a Japanese father, Koji Miyamoto quickly realizes that his home in San Francisco is no longer a welcoming one after Pearl Harbor is attacked. And once he's sent to an internment camp, he learns that being half white at the camp is just as difficult as being half Japanese on the streets of an American city during WWII. Koji's story, based on true ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
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Raina
Jun 25, 2015 Raina rated it really liked it
Important story, stunning artwork. Intense subject matter. So glad it exists. Read it thinking I might booktalk it to elementary kids this summer, but didn't end up doing that. Might be a better candidate for middle schoolers next January.
David Schaafsma
Oct 02, 2014 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
Japanese internment story based on the author/artist's own great-aunt's story. She was Irish, married a guy who was Japanese, they faced discrimination wherever they went as they had a "mixed" or "gaijin" son. Graphic history/memoir would work with any teaching unit on internment… and is complicated because of the mixed race issue and the fact the boy is very, very (and appropriately) angry, and acts out in his rage… so the ugliness happens all around, and is not swept under the carpet to create ...more
Dov Zeller
While World War II America is often portrayed in super-heroic terms, there was a lot of shady business going on. Gaijin brings to life in graphic form, I believe for the first time, a bit of this horrifying American history -- the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in internment camps after Pearl Harbor and through the end of the war.

Gaijin opens with a gorgeous two-page spread, the Golden Gate bridge bird's eye view, dotted with foggy clouds and soaked in the blues of sky and water. Gulls fly t
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Elizabeth A
Dec 28, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it liked it
Shelves: graphix, 2015, kids-ya
Book blurb: With a white mother and a Japanese father, Koji Miyamoto quickly realizes that his home in San Francisco is no longer a welcoming one after Pearl Harbor is attacked.

I do believe this is the first graphic novel I've read that portrayed the Japanese interment camps, and explored some of what Japanese Americans endured right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This is an important part of American history, and Koji's coming of age angst weaves well into the historical backdop. The art i
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Kristen
Visually stunning, this graphic novel brings to life an important time in American history. At the same time, it's a fantastic coming-of-age story as Koji, half-Japanese and half-Irish, struggles to fit in. Beautiful and powerful. LOVE!!!
Sarah
Jul 12, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
I liked it, I do. I am reading as a middle school teacher and feel responsible to put 'good' books around them. The images are beautiful, powerful, but the narration is missing nuance and layer for middle schoolers, I think. I feel like the ending was abrupt. I went back thinking I missed pages, and in a way, I liked that Faulkner trusted the reader to fill in the gap. And I wonder about the mom's plot line?

I will buy a copy and encourage conversations about what is and is not in the visual and
...more
Sue Thornquist
Jun 23, 2014 Sue Thornquist rated it liked it
Didn't do much for me, maybe even more of a 2.5. Visually pretty well done, but a fairly simplistic story even though it's based on real people and events. It felt more appropriate for junior high age group than high schoolers and because that was the lens through which I was reading, it probably affected my judgment of it. In comparison to David Small's graphic novel Stitches or Gene Yang's American Born Chinese, it was disappointing--not nearly as thought-provoking or layered.
Angie Fehl
Feb 21, 2016 Angie Fehl rated it really liked it
Japanese-American Koji Miyamoto is celebrating his 13th birthday in San Francisco, California on December 7, 1941. That same day, Japanese pilots flew over Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, dropping bombs on an American Naval Station, immediately and forever changing the life of Koji and all Japanese-Americans across the US. Almost overnight, it seems as if everyone Koji formerly interacted with suddenly turns vehemently racist, hating anyone with even the smallest amount of Japanese ...more
Alex Baugh
Jun 09, 2014 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Koji Miyamoto, 13, his American mom and Japanese dad have been living a quiet life in San Francisco. But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 all that changes immediately. Koji secretly fears his father may have been part of the attack since he was in Japan when it happened taking care of his sick father. At school, he is picked on by a group of bullies, the trolley operator won't let him on the board and the government has taken away the family radio, insinuating that all ...more
Ms. Yingling
May 01, 2015 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
Koji Miyamoto and his mother, Adeline, live in San Francisco, but Koji's father is in Japan. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, Koji is on the recieving end of a lot of racial slurs and discrimination, even though he is American born. When his mother is told he will be sent to a relocation camp, she goes with him because he is so young. At the camp, he is bullied because he is not Japanese enough, and the other boys push him around and call his mother a "floozy" for talking to soldiers. He makes ...more
The Styling Librarian
Dec 01, 2015 The Styling Librarian rated it really liked it
Gaijin, American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner – Graphic Novel – High School – This is one of the most powerful graphic novels I’ve read in a long while. It introduces a young man, Koji, who just learned that Pearl Harbor has been bombed. His father is away caring for family in Japan. His mother receives notice that Koji who is half Japanese is being sent to an internment camp. His mother joins him on this move losing most of the family’s belongings in the process. Koji is treated poorly by ...more
Kazia
Apr 10, 2015 Kazia rated it really liked it
Overall I found GAIJIN a really moving graphic novel that does an excellent job showing the unjust internment system and the parallels between that intense discrimination that Japanese Americans faced and the discriminations faced by other groups during the Holocaust and a post-9/11 America in particular. A few things didn't sit well with me, in particular the protagonist's slut-shaming of his mother, which I COULD read more into to justify it's inclusion, but which didn't feel was rejected by ...more
Patricia Tsune
Sep 15, 2014 Patricia Tsune rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, half Japanese, Koji and his white mom are left with a choice to be separated while Koji is sent to an internment camp or to stay together. Koji's dad is in japan caring for his elderly parents when all this happens. Koji and his mom decide to stay together. Being half-white in the camp proves to be just as difficult as being half Japanese on the streets of San Francisco. This graphic novel is based on the artist's own great-aunt and what she endured to stay ...more
Sean Kottke
Feb 16, 2016 Sean Kottke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel, 2016
Faulkner's artwork in this work of coming-of-age historical fiction is extraordinary, and could nearly convey the whole story without the assistance of dialogue. An afterword provides stirring personal context for this story of internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, and the whole project is quite timely with the debut of George Takei's musical "Allegiance." This would complement the classic Farewell to Manzanar beautifully as an entry text for learning about this period of American hi ...more
Patrick Funge
May 18, 2014 Patrick Funge rated it really liked it
Gaijin: American Prisoner of war, is a book about the camps for the Japanese in America during world war 2. In the beginning, Gaijin thinks that the camp is hard to get use to because he can't find his father, but later he gets use to the changes.

Gaijin: American prisoner of war was a cool and interesting book. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes comics and history.
Jim
i'd give this this 4.5 stars just because it is a story, quite real and quite true, beautifully illustrated and made me really angry. his use of font size, placement and choice reminded me of virginia lee burton.
important reading, should be in every jr. high and high school library in the u.s. should be in their history classrooms.
Amanda
Jul 30, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
Wonderful graphic novel based on the author's family. Set in San Francisco at the start of the war, the story follows Nissei Koji and his American mother as they are moved to an internment camp. Great art and excellent story.
Emily Scheinman
Sep 20, 2014 Emily Scheinman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-sarah
Amazing story. It opened a discussion at the dinner table tonight about war and peace and our collective humanity.
Thomas
Jan 23, 2015 Thomas rated it really liked it
it was very interesting
Mary Ann
Need to reread this and get some kids' reactions.
Charles
Nov 03, 2016 Charles rated it it was amazing
There is a history of government sanctioned discrimination in the United States that must be acknowledged and resolved, yet where many would rather just ignore it. Or even repeat it. One of the most significant, yet fortunately brief was the internment of Japanese-Americans immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a time of hysteria, greed, irrationality and overt racism. Gaijin is the Japanese word for non-Japanese, it literally means “outside person” and this graphic ...more
Lillian
Oct 30, 2016 Lillian rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016, 4-star

I had to read this book for a school paper where we had to compare how a historical event was presented in a graphic novel versus in prose accounts. My thesis was that the graphic novel was a better way to convey information because I enjoyed this graphic novel, and when I checked the facts it was very accurate. In addition, when I read prose accounts of the Japanese American Internment, I learned nothing more than from the graphic novel and [Gaijin: American Prisoner of War] was fun to read.


I l

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Deborah
The art is beautiful, my first criteria for delving into a graphic novel. I would have liked a bit more of narrative even though so much of the camp experience was displayed graphically ...it was interesting to have a teenage boy's experience portrayed.
Rachel
Nov 10, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: lis-403-lea
Vivid pictures depict this horrific event in American history. Fast paced and great story line add to reality behind to what American-Japanese felt and experienced during this time period.
Ashley
Nov 21, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Feel free to throw this at anyone that thinks a registry of any type of American is a good idea ever.

Reading Helps You Learn.
Libby
After this sat on my shelf ALL SUMMER LONG, I finally just picked it up and read the darn thing yesterday. It was excellent (which I expected, after hearing it book-talked by an HCPL librarian last May), and (apparently!) a very quick graphic novel read. Many of us now know about the internment camps that the US government set up and sent Japanese Americans to during WWII. A lesser-known detail is that those who were only partially of Japanese ethnicity were also sent, and that they faced ...more
Rachel
Oct 10, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
Certainly a 7th and up graphic novel. Tells a great piece of American History and is certainly a read for older kids.
Mrs W
Apr 10, 2016 Mrs W rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Koji Miyamoto is the teenage son of a Japanese-American father and white mother living in San Francisco, where he faces scrutiny and prejudice because of his Japanese heritage. When Pearl Harbor is attacked, that scrutiny and prejudice takes on a new rage. He is quickly gathered up to be placed in an internment camp on Alameda Island on the other side of the San Francisco Bay. Since his father is visiting family in Japan and Koji is a minor, his mother is allowed to accompany him to the camp. ...more
Venus
Jul 18, 2014 Venus rated it really liked it
Book Review originally posted here at Children's Atheneum.

Koji Miyamoto has a white mother and a Japanese father. When Pearl Harbor is attacked Koji finds himself being forced into an internment camp. His mother joins him, despite being a white American citizen. Once they are taken to the internment camp, Koji learns that being half white at the camp is just as bad as being half Japanese on the streets of California. Based on true events, Koji's story is one of sadness, where fear made people pr
...more
Deborah
Winner of the Asian Pacific American Library Association award for literature portraying contemporary or historical Asian/Pacific American experiences or cultures, Gaijin: American Prisoner of War is a visually stunning, sepia-toned graphic novel that powerfully and honestly portrays life in an internment camp.

It opens in San Francisco on the day of Koji Miyamoto's 13th birthday, the same day Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. His Caucasian mother works and manages the household while his Japanese fath
...more
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Award winning children’s book author and illustrator Matt Faulkner grew up in a small town just outside of Boston, Ma. Upon graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1983, Matt took a job setting typography in NYC at an ad agency. Boy, was that the wrong job for Matt! Just as the studio manager was about to let him go, the owner of the agency saw the drawings Matt had done on his work ...more
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