‘Under the Blood Red Sun’ recalls Pearl Harbor attack

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‘Under the Blood Red Sun’ recalls Pearl Harbor attack

Mariko Galton, Reporter

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“Under the Blood Red Sun” by Graham Salisbury is about 13-year-old Tomikazu “Tomi” Nakaji who lives through the early days of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Tomi has lived in Hawaii his whole life. Although he is an American, his family, especially his grandfather, observes many traditions of Japan. With a fisherman father who is often away and a mother who works for a well-to-do Caucasian family with an obnoxious, mean-spirited son, life in Hawaii is sometimes difficult for Tomi.

As the news of Japan’s aggression in Asia spreads across the island, local residents begin to be suspicious of Japanese families in Hawaii.

When Tomi’s friends talk about a possible war between the United States and Japan, Tomi worries about the safety of his family.

Early on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese planes strike the Island of Oahu and thousands are injured or killed. Several battleships in Pearl Harbor are greatly damaged or sunk.

Not long after the bombing, Tomi’s father and grandfather are arrested on suspicion of helping Japan, now the enemy of the United States.

With the new responsibility of taking care of his mother and sister and guarding the family katana, an ancestral samurai sword, Tomi learns the importance of loyalty, bravery and survival.

“Under the Blood Red Sun” is an historical novel that captivates readers with its unique perspective of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Tomi’s perspective gives readers the view from a young Japanese-American and the effects of war on his family.

This book is recommended for ages 10 and above because of mild violence and language. “Under the Blood Red Sun” puts readers close to the devastation and tragedy of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. More than that, it is an unforgettable story of one boy’s bravery in the face of racism, hatred and unexpected difficulties.