Kubota (short story)
Creators: Garrett Hongo
Short story/essay centering on the author's maternal grandfather, whom everyone called by his last name, Kubota. A Kibei from Hawai'i, Kubota had graduated high school in Hiroshima before returning to become a successful shopkeeper and community leader—as well as an avid fisherman—on Ō'ahu's North Shore prior to the war. Arrested by the FBI on the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kubota was one of the relatively fortunate ones, having been taken to Honolulu for questioning, but released after just a few days. Years later, Kubota lives with the author's family in Gardena, California, and repeatedly tells the teenager his World War II story, urging him not to forget it and to be his chronicler. The author is puzzled to find that other Japanese Americans not only didn't care to hear this story but were very reluctant to talk about their wartime exclusion and incarceration. After his grandfather's death, the author dreams of him on the night that the the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed into law.
First published in the literary journal Ploughshares in 1990, "Kubota" has been appeared in several anthologies subsequently.
For More Information
Hongo, Garrett. "Kubota." Ploughshares 16.2–3 (Fall 1990): 107–18. Reprinted in Growing Up Asian American: An Anthology , edited and with an introduction by Maria Hong, afterword by Stephen H. Sumida (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1993): 209–21; American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context , Second Edition, edited by Barbara Roche Rico and Sandra Mano (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995): 338–47.