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Am I a Traitor? (short story)

Creators: Shigeki Oka


Essay by Issei socialist journalist Shigeki Oka (1878–1959) focusing on his decision to aid the Allies and oppose the Japanese militarist regime during World War II. Oka begins by describing the situation prior to the war, where Japanese American leaders dismissed the possibility of war between the U.S. and Japan. While preparing a translation of Hitler's anti-Japanese writings to be distributed in Japan, the attack on Pearl Harbor occurs. Oka sends a telegram to President Roosevelt offering his services and expresses the desire that Japan lose the war as quickly as possible so that its militarist regime would be brought down; these actions lead to members of the Japanese American community branding him a traitor. He later volunteers to go to India despite his advanced age to write and distribute propaganda for the U.S. After the war, the Japanese community continues to shun him despite the fact that the events of the war, in his opinion, have proved the rightness of his actions.

The essay originally appeared in the Japanese magazine Bungei Shunju in 1951 and was published in both Japanese and English in the 1980 anthology Ayumi .

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like " Ganbatte: Sixty-year Struggle of a Kibei Worker by Karl Yoneda; From Kona to Yen'an: The Political Memoirs of Koji Ariyoshi by Koji Ariyoshi; " A Star Is Something to Steer By " by Mataileen Larkin Ramsdell

Media Details
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Author Shigeki Oka
Publication Date 1951
For More Information

For More Information

Oka, Shigeki. "Am I a Traitor?" In Ayumi: A Japanese American Anthology . Edited by Janice Mirikitani, et al. San Francisco: Japanese American Anthology Committee, 1980. 50–56.