There is one passage about Ichiro’s feelings towards Taro that really stood out to me. Perhaps it is because I am too an older sister as well that I really feel for Ichiro and his struggles. The passage on page 75, Ichiro says ” Taro, my brother who is not my brother, you are no better than I . You are only more fortunate that the war years found you too young to carry a gun. You are fortunate like the thousands of others who, for various reasons of age and poo health and money and influence, did not happen to be called to serve in the army, for their answers might have been the same as mine. And you are fortunate because the weakness which was mind made the same weakness in you the strength to turn your back on Ma and Pa and makes it so frighteningly urgent for you to get into uniform to prove that you are not a part of me. I was born not soon enough or late enough and for that I have been punished. It is not just, but it is true.” When I read this I thought about how one of Ichiro’s biggest roles was to be the older son who bridged a gap between the parents and the other sibling. The sufferings of the older sibling as I like to call it. Ichiro had paved a way that makes it easier for Taro in a way because Taro never had to make the difficult decision. He was able to see the outcome of one decision (which was negative in his eyes) so he chose the other.

Ichiro’s relationship with Taro

One thought on “Ichiro’s relationship with Taro

  • September 28, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    I can see that point, that Ichiro paved the way for Taro, yet I read it a different way. Yes, Taro sees the consequences of his brother’s decision and makes the opposite choice. However, I don’t know if knowing what would happen if he said no made the choice easier for him. It almost boxed him in even more: because his older brother said no, everyone, specifically their mother, was probably expecting Taro to say no, too. Yet, because he saw what happened to Ichiro, he knew what would happen to him– he saw his brother’s struggle to reintegrate back into a “normal” life. Also, I assume he had seen veterans come back injured, like Kenji, or not at all, like Bob Kumasaka. He knew first hand (or second hand) that no matter what choice he made, he would be shamed somehow and some part of his community–whether it was his mom and other older Japanese Americans, his friends, or most of America– would not accept him. I don’t think either boy, or anyone for that matter, had an easy decision to make, whether they knew the consequences of their choice or not.

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