Cover image for They called us enemy / George Takei, Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott ; [art by] Harmony Becker.
Title:
They called us enemy / George Takei, Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott ; [art by] Harmony Becker.
ISBN:
9781603094504
Physical Description:
192 pages [unnumbered] : chiefly color illustrations ; 23 cm.
Summary:
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.
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Summary

Summary

New York Times Bestseller!

A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek , he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.


Author Notes

George Hosato Takei was born on April 20, 1937. He is an American actor and author, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. Takei is also a proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics apart from his continued acting career. He has won several awards and recognition in his work on human rights and Japanese-American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.

Takei enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied architecture. Later he attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in theater. He attended the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon in England, and Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. In Hollywood, he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop.

In 2004, the government of Japan named Asteroid 7307 "Takei" after him. In June 2012, the American Humanist Association gave Takei the LGBT Humanist Award. His book, Oh Myyy! (There Goes The Internet) was released on December 21, 2013 and became a New York Times bestseller in 2014.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Takei, best known for his role on Star Trek, relates the story of his family's internment during WWII in this moving and layered graphic memoir. Japanese-Americans were classified as "Alien Enemy" after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and were forced to relocate to camps when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Takei, who was five years old, along with his father, mother, and young siblings, was held from 1942 through January 1946, first at Camp Rohwer, Arkansas, and then later at Tule Lake, Calif.. The manga-influenced art by Harmony Becker juxtaposes Takei's childlike wonder over the "adventure" of the train trip with the stress and worry carried by his parents. As much as possible, Takei's parents took pains to ensure their children were shielded from the reality of their situation, though Takei still relates traumas and humiliations (and a few funny stories). It was only years later, during talks with his father, that Takei was given insight into his past. As a teenager, Takei lashes out in anger over the treatment of Japanese-Americans, and his father calmly states that "despite all that we've experienced, our Democracy is still the best in the world." Takei takes that lesson to heart in a stirring speech he delivers at the FDR Library on the 75th anniversary of the Day of Remembrance. Using parallel scenes from Trump's travel ban, in the closing pages, Takei challenges Americans to look to how past humanitarian injustices speak to current political debates. Giving a personal view into difficult history, Takei's work is a testament to hope and tenacity in the face of adversity. (July)


Horn Book Review

From the publisher of the March trilogy (March, rev. 1/14, and sequels), co-written by civil rights leader and U.S. Congress member John Lewis, comes another exemplary comic-style memoir by and about a notable American. Takeian author and activist, but most famously an actor on the original Star Trek television showcrafts his own childhood memoir about his years spent in Americas Japanese internment camps of World War II. As a five-year-old, he is relocated with his parents and younger brother and sister from their home in Los Angeles to the easternmost camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. Then later, when his parents answer negatively to a pair of survey questions about military service and swearing allegiance, they are labeled no-nos and sent back to California to Tule Lake, the most notorious, the most cruel, and by far the largest of the ten camps. Through all the unjust, degrading treatment they suffer, young George and his family maintain their resiliency, dignity, and humanity. And the storys denouement clearly demonstrates that this adversity profoundly shaped his future. Takei seamlessly blends his naive, limited childhood perspective with the wisdom and reflection of adulthood, with scenes from a 2014 TED talk by the author in Kyoto, Japan, and his 2017 speech at the FDR Museum and Presidential Library interspersed throughout. Beckers emotive black-and-white panel illustrations are effective in their subtle nuances, with occasional nods to manga and comic pop art. jonathan hunt September/October 2019 p.119(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei's (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for "processing and removal" due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei's family's story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU's Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei's parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Takei has spoken publicly about his childhood experiences in internment camps during WWII, and this graphic memoir tells that story again with a compelling blend of nostalgia and outrage. He was very young when he and his family were forced out of their California home and sent to Camp Rohwer in Arkansas, so some of his memories of that time are touched with gentle affection, though that fondness is short-lived. As he grows older and they're relocated to a camp with harsher conditions, it seems less like an adventure and more like the atrocity it truly is. Takei, together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, interweaves scenes of his adult realizations and reflections, as well as key speeches and historical events of the period, among the accounts of his childhood, which is very effective at providing context for those memories. Becker's spare, fine-lined, manga-inspired artwork focuses intently on faces and body language, keeping the story centered in the realm of the personal. Ultimately, though Takei is grateful for the official apologies he and other Japanese Americans received, he's careful to note how similar attitudes today mean that other immigrant communities in America are facing discrimination and internment. This approachable, well-wrought graphic memoir is important reading, particularly in today's political climate. Pair with John Lewis' acclaimed March series for a thought-provoking, critical look at the history of racism in American policies and culture.--Sarah Hunter Copyright 2019 Booklist