Eyes of the Emperor

Written by Graham Salisbury
Review by Viviane Crystal

“…if they ever let us fight in this war, I will stand up and go to the end. They’re not going to crush me, no. Ganbare! Persevere! That was what Pop would do.” Ganbare is a Japanese term which means to hold steady with courage beyond what one thinks is possible. Eddie Okubo is 16 and yearns to be successful in America, unshackled by traditional Japanese values held by his father, mother, and other older immigrants from Japan. So in his rebellion, Eddie lies about his age and joins the American Army. After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, however, perceptions are not so clear on any side. Eddie’s father is forced to move beyond the rigid honor code he has always accorded Japan and accept his rebellious son’s career choice as equally honorable. Eddie, however, is about to face his own crucible. For he will be forced to obey life-threatening commands that place him in the most horrific position any human being could endure outside of combat. This is the story of how Eddie and his father do more than survive a war and learn what true, unconditional loyalty to country is all about. This is a must read for anyone who wants to know all points of view regarding Japanese residents in America during WWII. Accurate and real, it adds several layers of meaning to the time-honored notions of patriotism during a time of war.