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The Red Kimono

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In 1941, racial tensions are rising in the California community where nine-year-old Sachiko Kimura and her seventeen-year-old brother, Nobu, live. Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor, people are angry, and one night, Sachiko and Nobu witness three teenage boys taunting and beating their father in the park. Sachiko especially remembers Terrence Harris, the boy with dark skin an ...more
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by University of Arkansas Press (first published April 26th 2011)
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May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Red Kimono is more than a story about the injustice done to American citizens of Japanese descent during WWII. It's a story about hate and how letting hate against a race cloud your judgement against a person. Gee, how timely. After Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 the United States government rounded up all of the Japanese immigrants and their children - who were citizens - and interned them in several camps located throughout the West. Their property was taken and many men were removed from ...more
Kathleen Rodgers
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Read Out Loud Kind of Tale!

The Red Kimono is one of those stories that demands it be read out loud. The second you start reading it for yourself, you want to share it with others.

In my case, I started reading it out loud to my husband on a recent road trip. While he drove, I sat in the passenger seat reading the story out loud from my Kindle. As we traveled over miles and miles of two-lane blacktop and interstate, the countryside flashed passed and we were quickly immersed in the lives of Sac
Meg Dendler
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written book about one of the many sad events in American history. Not just WWII, but how honest Japanese-American citizens were rounded up and placed in internment camps. The author's mother was one of those detained, and though the story is fiction you can feel the authentic nature of a personal family story coming through on every page. There are also other characters dealing with judgments and limitations based on the color of their skin woven through the story. Highly recommend. ...more
Dustin Dye
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Morrill's historical fiction novel about a Japanese family in an internment camp is engaging and believable. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the subject.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janice Heck
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: The Red Kimono by Jan Morrill
Reviewer: Jan Heck

On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

Japanese Americans, both naturalized and American-born, who have lived in the United States for years, suddenly face intense social and political scrutiny based on the shape of their faces, the slant of their eyes, the language they speak in the privacy of their own homes, and the cultural differences they display. . . all because of the aggressive actions of a country they’d emigr
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was not what I expected at all. The Red Kimono is told from the view point of 3 different people. The story begins just before Pearl Harbor is attacked. Sachi and Nobu are Japanese and after Pearl Harbor is attacked life for them becomes very hard. Terrence is black and in the same grade as Nobu. One day Terrence finds out his father was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He becomes so angry that he attacks a Japanese man. He doesn't realize it is Nubu and Sachi's father. He did ...more
Jo Ann
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I heard the author of The Red Kimono read and share some of the story behind this novel, and was intrigued by both the book, and the author. She has written about an era in our American history that is shocking - the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II...what a shameful part of our legacy, and one that needs to be voiced! Though a work of fiction, the book is based on fact, and a compilation of true characters. We hear about the thoughts and feelings of Sachi, the m ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
An enjoyable and very well-written addition to the ranks of the WWII-era American internment camp bildungsroman novel. The plot and characters are complex, making this an excellent pick for book group discussion. The reader is definitely left wanting to know more at the end, and happily Ms. Morrill is obliging with a forthcoming sequel. As a well-read reader in this basic plot (WWII era American internment camp + youth = disillusionment / anger) in both fiction and non-fiction, and having grown ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 1941, racial tensions are rising in the California community where nine year-old Sachiko Kimura and her brother, Nobu, live. Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor, people are angry, and one afternoon, Sachiko and Nobu witness three teenage boys taunting and beating their father in the park. Sachiko especially remembers Terrence Harris, the boy with dark skin and hazel eyes, and Nobu cannot believe the boys capable of such violence toward his father are actually his friends.

What Sachiko and Nobu do
Pearl Harbor has been bombed. Told from the third-person viewpoints of young Sachiko, her big brother Nobu, and his former friend, African-American Terence, the story follows the Kimura family through the beating death of the father to the Santa Anita racetrack assembly center to the Rohwer, Arkansas, internment camp.

This novel is multi-layered, with 3-D diverse characters each struggling with their own conflicts. Sachi must hide her unacceptable new friends from her mother, Mrs. Kimura has her
J.M. Davis
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as did my wife. Although the main characters are fictional, the story is based on seeds of truth. The author's mother and her mother's family were Japanese internees during WWII. The rounding up of Japanese Americans was covered briefly in my American history classes, but I had never before read any detailed accounts of how the Japanese Americans were treated after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I was also unaware there were Japanese internment camps in the ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jan Morrill's debut novel is a beautifully written account of the Japanese internment during WWII, as told through the eyes of children. While the historical details of life in the internment camp were informative and interesting (and frequently horrifying), I found myself reflecting most on the themes of racism and prejudice as they appeared in many different variations throughout the book. In addition to the obvious Japanese/American tensions, Sachiko's mother demonstrates contempt for both Af ...more
Kay Lawson
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
As delicate as a cherry blossom, The Red Kimono blooms quietly but persistently. It’s a gentle story of a very ungentle time. Mostly expressed through the words of young people, The Red Kimono is, of course, a comment on racism and war, but it is also a coming of age story not only for its characters but for a culture. Whether you buy the plot, or not—whether you appreciate the characters or the lovely prose or not, the premise for the story is true. Japanese interment really happened and it hap ...more
Janette Mcmahon
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Morrill tackles hard issues in this well written WWII era historical fiction novel. The main storyline is concerning the Japanese interments directly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She then masterfully interweaves the racism of the time, not only for the Japanese, but also for African Americans. We follow the thoughts and rationales of the differing characters for their actions, while the voice of reason is a young girl who wants a friend. As a reader I was given much to think about and woul ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Red Kimono is beautiful story of two families whose lives intersect in a hate crime. Sachi and her Japanese-American family are forced to relocate to several internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Terrence, an African-American whose father has just been killed at Pearl Harbor, brutally attacks Sachi's father with two other boys. Through the interweaving of three distinct narrators, Sachi, Nobu, her brother, and Terrence, comes a story of endurance, forgiveness, and acceptance. T ...more
C.D. Jarmola
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I recently read the Red Kimono and found it a beautifully written tale about a very shameful part of the American past that I was almost unaware had happened.
This is a good book to read to get a grasp of the real people who were forced from their homes and treated as prisoners although they did nothing other than have Japanese ancestors. No account was given for the fact that they were American citizens.
I highly recommend everyone reading this book.
Mary Coley
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story. The characters were so human, utterly believable, more like friends of my family. A wonderful learning experience, as I was not familiar with the history of the Japanese work camps in the United States. To learn, through this fictional account based on real life, about the struggles endured by US citizens of Japanese descent during WWII, was heart-wrenching. Thank you, Jan Morrill for a great read!
Keli Wright
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have been wanting to read this since it came out. It was even better than I had hoped. Weaving together varying perspectives and struggles of people of different races during the period following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this story manages to give an impressively intricate view of living with and overcoming prejudice in a short 300 pages. Beautiful and powerful.
Pat Hollingsworth
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jan Morrill has done an excellent job in recreating the feel of the time after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She looks at the strain on relationships among Japanese, whites, and blacks but does not leave us feeling hopeless. This book helps us understand how easily relationship can be broken and how difficult it can be to mend them.
Erin Robyn Walker
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. A journey that will touch your heart. Lives & worlds are effected by connected, disconnected, and altered events surrounding WWII. Amazing writing that wraps you into the characters lives. ...more
Kerry Mueller
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good story on a topic I have only learned about in recent years. I was taken with the Arkansas connection, having lived in Fayetteville for several years. The moral development of the characters was appropriate, but written with too heavy a hand.
Book covers the time of internment of Japanese in camps during WWII and covers the misery and the racism of the time. However, book too open ended and clearly meant to be a series because the main characters scatter to different places at the end.
Claudia Mundell
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book dealing with Japanese internment camps. But it also deals with prejudice and its destructive force in many forms. It is an adult book but suitable for younger readers. If I were still teaching, I would use this as a classroom read. Good writing.
Cynthia Stevison
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was about a Japanese family during internment camps. This book was beautifully written. There are several different POV. This is a story of racism and glimpse of our American history that is often left out. Great story. Recommend.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A truly beautiful and tragic story about a Japanese American family and their experiences following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I had to read in chunks because the book got heavy. Overall it was an amazing story and I would recommend this book for everyone to read.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Told from three character's views... Racial profiling and hatred in World War Two.
Mary King
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book explains by examples how we are taught to fear and hate other races.
Ronda Boccio
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I did a full review on Amazon and my site Fabulous book with great character development
May 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Good story but it reads like a YA book. Needs better editing
Topic I am very interested in.
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Jan Morrill was born and (mostly) raised in California. Her mother, a Buddhist Japanese American, was an internee at Tule Lake and Topaz during World War II. Her father, a Southern Baptist redhead of Irish descent, retired from the Air Force.

Her award-winning historical fiction, The Red Kimono,(University of Arkansas Press, 2013) and other short stories and memoir essays, reflect growing up in a m

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