Saturday, July 20, 2019

John Okada’s No-No Boy Essay -- Japanese American Internment

The United States of America a nation known for allowing freedom, equality, justice, and most of all a chance for immigrants to attain the American dream. However, that â€Å"America† was hardly recognizable during the 1940’s when President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, ordering 120,000 Japanese Americans to be relocated to internment camps. As for the aftermath, little is known beyond the historical documents and stories from those affected. Through John Okada’s novel, No-No Boy, a closer picture of the aftermath of the internment is shown through the events of the protagonist, Ichiro. It provides a more human perspective that is filled with emotions and connections that are unattainable from an ordinary historical document. In the novel, Ichiro had a life full of possibilities until he was stripped of his entire identity and had to watch those opportunities diminish before him. The war between Japan and the United States manifested itself into an internal way between his Japanese and American identities. Ichiro’s self-deprecating nature that he developed from this identity clash clearly questions American values, such as freedom and equality which creates a bigger picture of this indistinguishable â€Å"America† that has been known for its freedom, equality, and helping the oppressed. Ichiro frequently faced hostility from Japanese-American veterans for being a No-No boy, which heightened self-hatred of his identity. From the moment he arrived back to Seattle, he was met with negativity from Eto Minato, a Japanese-American veteran who went from friendly to hateful after realizing Ichiro was a No-no boy. Ichiro came face-to-face with Eto’s harsh criticism as he told him, â€Å"Rotten bastard. Shit on you†¦ I’ll piss on you nex... ...her he is Japanese or an American. The obstacles Ichiro faced in searching for his lost identity reveal a discrepancy of American values, such as freedom and equality, which are deeply rooted in a segregated society. Through the negativity of many of the Japanese-American veterans and the differences among Ichiro’s entire family, he has literally gone from having a duel-heritage to no identity at all. Since he has no desire to be Japanese and feels unworthy to be American, he sees himself as nothing. His hatred of himself not only hinders the possibilities before him, but it also paints a whole new picture of America. Instead of a nation that is united and fights for freedom and equality, America is divided by racism and strips away the freedom of those they find inferior. Works Cited Okada, John. No-no Boy. Seattle: University of Washington, 1981. Print.

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