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April 09 , 2010

Midnight in Broad Daylight

A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds


Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamoto’s history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Japanese experience in America.

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After their father’s death, the Fukuhara children—all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—moved with their mother to Hiroshima, their parents’ ancestral home. Eager to go back to America, Harry and his sister, Mary, returned there in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Harry and Mary were sent to an internment camp until a call came for Japanese translators, and Harry dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, their brothers, Frank and Pierce, became soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army.

As the war raged on, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy—and to his younger brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face one another in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of the Fukuhara family.

Alternating between American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight captures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting, as well as the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima—never depicted before in English—and provides a fresh look at the events surrounding the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, here is an indelible portrait of a resilient family, a scathing examination of racism and xenophobia, an homage to the tremendous Japanese American contribution to the American war effort, and an invaluable addition to the historical record of this extraordinary time.

Advance Praise for Midnight in Broad Daylight

“ ‘Mother, I am Katsuharu. I have come home.’ By the time the reader arrives at this simple, Odysseus-like declaration, she will have been tossed and transported through one of the most wrenching, inspirational—and until now unknown—true epics of World War II. Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, in her luminous, magisterial reassembling of the lives of the two Japanese brothers who found themselves on opposite sides of the great conflict, has helped shape and set the standard for a vital and necessary new genre: transpacific literature. Her readers will want more.”—Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize winner andauthor of Mark Twain: A Life

Midnight in Broad Daylight takes the reader back into World War II, into the life of Japanese American Harry Fukuhara, a brilliant bilingual interpreter in the U.S Army. Riveting in its alternating American and Japanese perspectives, and a fresh look at the dropping of the atom bomb over Hiroshima, this story is inspirational as well as educational. A great addition to World War II literature.”—Jeanne WaKatsuki Houston, coauthor of Farewell to Manzanar

Midnight in Broad Daylight is a deeply moving, well-written work that ranks among the better accounts of the injuries inflicted in wartime on civilian and ethnic populations. Students of war crimes and crimes against humanity are sure to notice this book.”—Herbert Bix, Pulitzer Prize–winning author ofHirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

“An intimately detailed look at the agony of a Japanese American family struggling to maintain American loyalty amid discrimination and war. . . .A richly textured narrative history. . . . A beautifully rendered work wrought with enormous care and sense of compassionate dignity.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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