John Okada was born in Seattle and attended the University of Washington and Columbia University. Much like other Japanese Americans, he fought for the United States during World War II, and was discharged as a sergeant in 1946. His war experiences formed the basis for his only book, No-No Boy (1957), the first novel published by a U.S.-born Japanese American. No-No Boy deals with the Japanese internment camps and the conflict many Japanese American soldiers felt serving the United States while fighting the forces of their Japanese heritage.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most effective and moving novels I have ever read. It is a very readable book about the plight of Japanese-American citizens in the immediate aftermath of WWII.
The story follows Ichiro, a first generation American-born Japanese-American, who choose not to join the American army in order to escape the internment camp into which he and his family had been placed in the anti-Japanese fever following Pearl Harbor (hence his classification as a No-No Boy). As a result, Ichiro is imprisoned for two years. The book picks up his story after he is released and returns to his now disinterred family in their home
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