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Author: Julie Otsuka
ISBN13: 978-0241963449
Title: When The Emperor Was Divine
Format: rtf azw lrf mbr
ePUB size: 1140 kb
FB2 size: 1388 kb
DJVU size: 1614 kb
Language: English
Category: Genre Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books; Re-issue edition (February 7, 2013)

When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination "both physical and emotional" of a generation of Japanese Americans. In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point of view "the mother recei Julie Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. Check it out if you haven't already.

When the emperor was divine. In a stranger’s backyard. It was a sunny day in Berkeley in the spring of 1942 and she was wearing new glasses and could see everything clearly for the first time in weeks. She no longer had to squint but she squinted out of habit anyway. She read the sign from top to bottom and then, still squinting, she took out a pen and read the sign from top to bottom again. The print was small and dark. She wrote down a few words on the back of a bank receipt, then turned around and went home and began to pack.

Personal Name: Otsuka, Julie, 1962-. On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book. The administration of the site is not responsible for the content of the site. The data of catalog based on open source database. All rights are reserved by their owners. Download book When the emperor was divine : a novel, Julie Otsuka.

When the Emperor was Divine is a historical fiction novel written by American author Julie Otsuka about a Japanese American family sent to an internment camp in the Utah desert during World War II. The novel, loosely based on the wartime experiences of Otsuka's mother's family, is written through the perspective of four family members, detailing their eviction from California and their time in camp. It is Otsuka's debut novel, and was published in the United States in 2002 by Alfred A. Knopf.

It is Berkeley, California, the spring of 1942. What is the effect when the reason becomes apparent? Otsuka skillfully places subtle but significant details in her narrative. When the mother goes to Lundy's hardware store, she notices a "dark stain" on the register "that would not go away. Membership Advantages. Beyond the Book" backstories. Find books by time period, setting & theme.

Japanese-American author Julie Otsuka’s historical fiction novel, When the Emperor Was Divine, was published in 2002. The first three sections are written in a distant third person narrative mode, where the characters are never referred to by name

Its slenderness belies its power. I was immensely moved by this novel. Its slenderness belies its power. In When the Emperor Was Divine, Julie Otsuka tells the story of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War by relating the experience of a single family consisting of two parents, an eleven-year-old daughter, and an eight-year-old son. The place is Berkeley, California; the year is 1942. As the novel opens, the father has already been arrested and imprisoned in New Mexico. The authorities had hustled him out of the house while he was hatless and still in his dressing gown and slippers.

Julie Otsuka, from When the Emperor Was Divine. JR: The book was published in the year following 9/11, and it has a very particular resonance in that context. JO: I finished writing the novel in June of 2001, so I had no idea that it would resonate in the way that it has post-9/11 as a sort of cautionary tale about what can happen when the government starts singling out ethnic groups as being the enemy. Julie Otsuka: Yes, it is- that chapter when they return, In a Stranger's Backyard," is told from the point of view of both the girl and the boy together, which is now a voice that I've used since- in my second novel, "The Buddha in the Attic," I use the collective "we" voice also- and again I don't know why.

When the Emperor Was Divine
Reviews: 7
When the Emperor Was Divine is meant to give the personal impact of the Japanese American interment during World War II. It’s not trying to provide the political background to President Roosevelt’s decision, or the anti-Japanese sentiment in California at the time. Rather it focuses upon one Japanese family in Berkeley that is informed of the evacuation order and has to move to a camp. Each chapter provides a different family member’s point of view on the experience from getting the notice, to riding on the train to the camp, to the routine of camp life, to their inability to adapt to life after their release.

While a noble attempt I feel that the author largely failed in her purpose due to her writing style. The book starts off well, but from the time of the train ride to the camp itself, the story gets so tremendously boring. For example, on the train the daughter stares out of the window the whole trip watching the rest of America go on with their lives, and then stares at a man on the train, and then back out the window. I get the symbolism, but there is simply not enough going on for pages and pages of the girl sitting and looking to keep any interest. It gets even worse during the chapter on life in the camp. My friend told me those chapters were meant to pass along just how monotonous those events were. There had to be a better way to show this to the reader other than writing boring prose. It was so bad that half way through the book I could not wait for it to be over.

Obviously different people are going to read this book in their own ways but personally I did not enjoy this book at all.
The complexities of hybrid identity are shown in Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine as its American characters of Japanese descent experience the effects of racism and xenophobia by their fellow Americans. Otsuka’s novel examines the many effects of racism and xenophobia experienced by Japanese Americans due to President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 during World War Two. Most of the characters do not suffer direct physical violence as a result of the internment, but Otsuka explores the other sufferings, ranging from being displaced from home to various losses of identity.

The characters (who Otsuka keeps nameless to reflect their loss of identity not only as Americans but as individuals) are displaced from home, something which is psychologically devastating as it creates instability. This is reflected in the girl’s feelings of uncertainty, “Later that evening, the girl awoke to the sound of breaking glass. Someone had thrown a brick through a window but the gas lamps were broken and it was too dark to see” (43). The young girl is confined to a train, parched by thirst and unsure of her surroundings. The Japanese-Americans are not told where they are being taken which is frightening for an adult, let alone a child. As time passes, rumors fly throughout the camp: loss of citizenship, loss of life, or deportation; all because they are of Japanese descent.

The family is separated from their father (and husband in the wife’s case), creating uncertainty which harms each of them. For example, the young boy is confused about his father’s absence. Otsuka’s chilling description suggests the boy’s confusion is bordering on mental harm. “In the beginning the boy thought he saw his father everywhere. Outside the latrines. Underneath the showers. Leaning against barrack doorways. Playing go with the other men in their floppy straw hats on the narrow wooden benches after lunch” (49). It can be argued the boy is merely confused by the other Japanese-American men who resemble his father, but it is also arguable the boy is losing his grip on reality.

Otsuka captures the monotony of camp life and its endless routine “Three times a day the clanging of bells. Endless lines. The smell of liver drifting out across the black barrack roofs. The smell of catfish. From time to time, the smell of horse meat. On meatless days, the smell of beans…Hundreds of mouths chewing. Slurping. Sucking. Swallowing” (50). Sparse meals served to hundreds of people whose routine is arguably that of animals lining up at a trough, a dehumanizing process for all involved. The monotony of life is seen in the characters losing their sense of time. Early on, it becomes apparent there is no need to mark time as the girl recalls, “She had stopped winding it the day they had stepped off the train” (65). The mother stops tracking time, withdrawing into a world of dreams, remembering home. Her son recalls this is the first time in months he has seen her smile (95). To make things worse, the internees have no idea when their internment will end.

The loss of identity as the characters want to be “good” citizens and take punishment for something they did not do. The characters are told they are being interned for their own good and to protect them from their fellow Americans. All of this is due to racism and xenophobia which reduces Japanese-American citizens to a nameless other because they look like the enemy, regardless they have done nothing else.

The harm caused by the family’s internment continues, even after their return home. The family has lost whatever American identity they had before their internment. The family wants things to return to normal. “We would dress like they did. We would change to our names to sound more like theirs. And if our mother called out to us on the street by our real names we would turn away and pretend not to know her. We would never be mistaken for the enemy again” (114). The child’s belief is a fantasy though as the family faces overt and covert racism ranging from vandalism to their home and the indifferent reactions from their neighbors. The townspeople’s racism prevents them from differentiating their neighbors from the enemy overseas. The townspeople’s fear and hatred instills such guilt in their Japanese-American neighbors that their American identity is destroyed. “We looked ourselves in the mirror and did not like what we saw: black hair, yellow skin, slanted eyes. The cruel face of the enemy” (120). The Japanese-Americans have voluntarily endured internment to prove their loyalty, and yet their allegiance is still questioned. Otsuka’s novel is powerful in showing the effects of racism and xenophobia in reducing a person to their outward appearance.

When the Emperor Was Divine illustrates the abuse suffered by Japanese-Americans during and after World War Two due to xenophobia and racism. The Japanese-American characters fulfill what they think is their duty as good citizens, but they pay a terrible price for the fact they look like the enemy, regardless that they are American citizens and have shown no sign of disloyalty.
This was one of the most beautifully sorrowful books I've ever read. I can't even imagine what it was like for thousands of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Families who had made this their home, who were neighbors and friends, forced to leave their homes for years and never know if it would still be there when they came back. Or if they would even come back. No apologies, and things were lost that could never be given back. Vivid emotions of joy and sorrow dance across the pages of this book and an exquisite warning to not repeat the mistakes we've already made.
While Otsuka’s book tells a story, has a plot, features complex characters, and evokes universal themes, I’m hesitant to call it a novel. It’s really more of a prose poem. When a mere 144 pages of words can evoke such powerful feelings through imagery and symbolism, the novel rises to the level of poetry.

The story of Otsuka’s unnamed Japanese-American family is told from multiple perspectives. The first part is told from the mother’s limited third-person point of view; soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the mother, her son, and her daughter are notified that they will be relocated from Berkeley, California to an internment camp. The second section, seen through the daughter’s eyes, relates the family’s train journey to a camp in Utah after their brief stay at Tanforan, a former horse stable that’s now a shopping mall. The son provides the lens for the novel’s third section, which describes the family’s daily life in camp. Upon returning home in the fourth section, a first-person narrator (it’s unclear whether the narrator is the son or the daughter) tells of the family’s permanent sense of unease and the lasting emotional damage their 3+ years in custody has wrought. Even after the father returns (he had been apprehended by authorities before the family’s relocation) and the family is reunited, they are still incomplete—forever marred by their oppression. The father narrates the brief but potent final section of the novel, entitled “Confession.”

Set in the 1940s and written in 2002, Otsuka’s novel is—regrettably—impossibly timely, considering this year’s (2018) separation of immigrant families at the border. Few novels resonate this strongly with the past and with the future, showing us how little progress we have made on the scale of humanity and kindness.