THEY CALL ME MOSES MASAOKA by Mike M. with Bill Hosokawa Masaoka


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A memoir by an eminent Nisei (second-generation Japanese immigrant) spokesman, who defended his brethren against scourge-like treatment by the US government during WW II, and who later helped to forge the terms of the peace treaty with Japan. Masaoka, who chose another Nisei spokesman and author (Thunder in the Rockies, 1976; etc.), Bill Hosokawa, to help articulate his tale, is clearly a regular and a nice guy, expert at turning the other cheek with staunch good humor. This took some doing in 1941, when the government began to incarcerate Japanese Americans and confiscate their property; but Masaoka and his four brothers all joined the military to fight in the war and demonstrate their loyalty, anyway. By then Masaoka was a veteran of disappointment: his father was victim of a Utah land fraud, and his mother forced Masaoka to turn down a full scholarship to Harvard. Still, Masaoka persevered, enrolling at the University of Utah--from which he ultimately procurred a law degree, so that, by WW II, he was already a well-educated and influential member of his community. As a leader of the Japanese American Citizens League, he lobbied ceaselessly for his people, and helped to find safe havens for displaced Japanese Americans. He was also one of the authors of a peace treaty that reflected lenience toward a defeated Japan. Homey, inspirational, but rather dull, despite its sobering account of the heart-rending WW II Nisei experience.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1987
Publisher: Morrow