The Tale Of A Japanese-American Family Caught Between Two Worlds With Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

Jul 29, 2016

It’s been more than 70 years since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, ushering in the end of World War II. Yet true stories such as the one from today’s guest, Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, remind us how much history still has to teach us, and why personal accounts remain so powerful.

Sakamoto is the author of Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds. As the title suggests, it is the story of a family with deep ties to both Japan and America, caught in the crosshairs of war. When Japanese bombers swept low over Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, part of the Fukuhara family was living in the United States, the rest in Japan. Two sons were drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army, and another enlisted in the U.S. Army as a bilingual interpreter. Family members on both sides of the Pacific felt the weight of  war, as deprivation deepened for Japanese civilians, and Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States were evacuated to internment camps in the country’s interior.

Pamela Sakomoto conducted dozens of interviews and did extensive research in both the United States and Japan to tell this intricate and moving story. She is a scholar of Japanese-American relations and is fluent in both Japanese and English.  Sakamoto is as an off-site consultant on Japan-related projects for the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and she teaches history at a private college preparatory school in Honolulu.