Sharon's Reviews > Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream

Kiyo's Story by Kiyo Sato
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it was amazing
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This memoir is an incredible account of one family's legacy. Kiyo starts with her parents' lives in Japan and their journey to the US. They were so determined to build their lives here and contribute to society even though they were banned from applying for citizenship. A large portion of the book is about our WWII concentration camps and the pervasive anti-Japanese racism that supported them. The rest of the book is the sprawling tale of her eight siblings (whom she calls "the children" because she helped raise them) and her dozens of nieces and nephews.

The book is told almost entirely in chronological order, with the camps are in the middle and family stories before and after. This allows Kiyo to build a picture of her childhood on farms, which was difficult because of the work involved but always loving because of how her family supported one another. Knowing how hard they had worked for everything on their farm makes it even more painful when FDR signs Executive Order 9066 and their fellow Americans seize their land and their possessions.

I found this book from a 2016 Cracked article ("Why Modern America Scares Me: By An Internment Camp Survivor") and I'm so glad that I did. I believe that every person in the US has a duty to learn about the mistakes this country has made. These camps are too often glossed over in history classes, and it's illuminating to see the brutal impact of racist policy decisions on people's lives.
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Quotes Sharon Liked

“We have no one to go to for help. Not even a church. Anything goes, now that our President Roosevelt signed the order to get rid of us. How can he do this to his own citizens? No lawyer has the courage to defend us. Caucasian friends stay away for fear of being labeled "Jap lovers." There's not a more lonely feeling than to be banished by my own country. There's no place to go.”
Kiyo Sato, Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream

Reading Progress

July 14, 2016 – Shelved
July 14, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 19, 2017 – Started Reading
February 20, 2017 –
February 24, 2017 –
February 25, 2017 –
27.0% "The first five chapters were mostly about family. Chapter six starts on the day after Pearl Harbor is bombed and the hate seems to escalate really really quickly."
March 3, 2017 –
March 5, 2017 –
50.0% ""Months before our evacuation, the FBI dragged her father off their farm without even giving him a chance to say goodbye or to change his dirty work clothes. He became another one of the numbers of 'Jap spies,' to make headlines and 'prove' to the public that the FBI was making our country safe. From people like Mr. Saiki? What is scary is that everybody believes the lies.""
March 13, 2017 –
March 14, 2017 –
March 16, 2017 –
March 16, 2017 – Finished Reading

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