Originally Posted by ism
lol we're all crushing on her. I think she was developed more well-rounded than Ichiro's mother, who was kinda one-dimensional. Emi, representing a particular viewpoint -- that America needs to be forgiven, and America will accept Japanese eventually -- had to be developed to properly support a complex issue. There's just as much development with Kenji, who has a different belief. Ichiro's mother, on the other hand, was all about loyalty (woo more Ophelia parallels) in such a one-track way that it drove her to insanity. Was her name ever mentioned in the book?
And yeah, it's a product of its time. Wonder if Okada really felt there was a positive resolution coming or the ending was just for appeasement.
I remember my professor talking about how Okada really expected the book to do well and was severely disappointed when the JA community almost outrightly rejected his book. It wasn't until Frank Chin and other authors rediscovered it that it's gained it's popularity (or maybe infamity would be a better word).
I believed that Emi was to directly contrast the barren wasteland Okada used to describe the mother. Not to generalize but the mother, through a shallow analysis, represented the nationalistic Nikkei who moved to America fully expecting to return. Emi on the other hand is the Nikkei who integrated very well into society. Ichiro courted Emi and thus Emi's ideas much better than his mothers, but he doesn't fully accept them at the end. If it had been a really bad ending, it might have went something like this: Emi and Ichiro lived happily ever after moving out of the ghetto Little Tokyo in Seattle and raised their children in a Washington suburb. The End.
Respectfully, I liked the ending. It left his identity and his conclusions ambiguous. The book is unpretentious because it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. Maybe, Ichiro reached a conclusion and it's better than what he had when he was released, but we don't know. Okada liked it that way.
I really liked the part when Ichiro discusses the reasons of being a "no, no" boy. the double speak and then some during that section is the only section in the book like it. it covers a lot of the reasons no no boys refused to fight very well.