When the Emperor Was Divine

It is worth noting that the Japanese people that were being faced into internment by the government were legally citizens of the United States of America and being accused of spying was outrageous. It is like a case of biting that hand that feeds you and according to what one learns from the characters in the book, Japanese were and are not people to pay with ingratitude. From what can be deduced in the book from the characters, especially the father of the family when he returns home as a shell of a man from torture and abuse is that he was true to America since he believed it to be his home country and there was no reason that could have driven him to spy on it, more so to Japan, a country that he had never set foot in.

Apparently, America was also selective of the people that they were targeting since there were Germans and French men that were living in the united states who were not in any way suspected of conspiracy. Note that the second world war had been sparked by Germany and the united states was one among many nations that were against the insurgence of Germany but what is learned from the book is that the boy passing near military barracks usually heard people speaking a language that was not Japanese and not English which is identified as German. “What is auf wiedersehen? (P 12)”is always what the boy used to wonder.

The whole story sounds through and through like something in an alien land because of the brutality that the Americans suffered and more importantly the manner in which the whole thing was conducted with placing of the order by the president to get rid of Japanese that were living in close proximity to military bases that led to stripping them off their property (p.70). Most of this things not only taint America but have happened in so many instances in America where a certain community, due to stereotype, prejudice or racism has found itself in some awkward positions and to greater disadvantage of the opportunities that America has to offer as if they were not Americans. To make my point clear, I will state, yes! This is America and this is how it has been.


The book is written in a good presentation format, almost poetic to clearly bring out the hidden face of America and although such a case may not happen again in the future of America, it makes people conscious of the fact that it is a possibility. As it is said, exceptional situations call for exceptional measures and therefore one need to worry which measures the government can decide to take on a certain community in the name of loyalty. America has been unkind to her people, not collectively, but selectively. It has happened before, it might happen again. This is really America.

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