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Meet Author Pamela Rotner Sakamoto At The Darien Library

Pamela Rotner Sakamoto
Pamela Rotner Sakamoto Photo Credit: Nathan Tibbetts

DARIEN, Conn. -- The Darien Library will host Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, author of "Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds," as featured speaker on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.

Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served. "Midnight in Broad Daylight" is a true narrative of a Japanese-American family divided across continents during World War II.

The Fukuharas were a Japanese immigrant family, raising five American-born children near Seattle with little certainty about their future in the United States. When the patriarch of the family died, his widow moved back to Hiroshima with the children. Two of them returned to the Seattle area in the late 1930s but were interned in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

One, Harry, volunteered to serve in the Army as an interpreter and island-hopped through the Pacific, slowly making his way toward his two younger brothers, both Japanese soldiers. As the story alternates between the American and Japanese perspectives, "Midnight in Broad Daylight" offers a look at children separated from their families out of perceived necessity, life in two suspicious cultures, the distress of ethnic internment, divided loyalties in two countries, and fraught military campaigns throughout the Southwest Pacific. It is also the story of the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima and a new look at the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Sakamoto is a scholar of Japanese-American relations, fluent in both English and Japanese, having conducted research in archives, museums, and libraries in both the United States and Japan, along with dozens of interviews. In addition, she visited the Fukuhara family’s former home in Hiroshima. The author first met Harry, the book’s central character, by chance in 1994. The two stayed in touch, and Sakamoto slowly uncovered the layers of his family’s story.

She lived in Kyoto and Tokyo for 17 years and works offsite as an expert consultant on Japan-related projects for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and has taught in the University of Hawaii System.

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