One with the Angels (short story)
Creators: Yachiyo Uehara
Short story by Yachiyo Uehara about a young woman's death shortly after leaving the concentration camps. The story begins in the present when Saye sees an editorial cartoon in a Japanese American newspaper that laments the fact that the $20,000 reparations payments advocated by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) would be too late for many former inmates. She then recalls her younger sister Yoko's story and how even a fraction of that money might have changed its course. Imprisoned in Heart Mountain with her family, Yoko leaves for New York City in 1944 and soon finds a good job and a nice apartment. The widowed Saye and her young son soon join Yoko and have a joyous reunion and initially enjoy their new life. But a demanding job and active social life—including an ill-fated lover affair—drain Yoko, and she is soon diagnosed with tuberculosis, which leads to her untimely death at age twenty-six.
Author Yachiyo Okubo Uehara (1916–99) was born in Tokyo and arrived in San Francisco at age eight. During World War II, she and her family were forcibly removed from their homes and sent first to the Pomona Assembly Center , then to the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, concentration camp. She and her husband, Kenji Sumi, left Heart Mountain for New York in May of 1944 to join younger sister June Toshiko Okubo. She returned to San Francisco in 1950. She began writing short stories while in her sixties in answer to her son wanting to know more about her life history. One with the Angels first appeared in the 1984 Hokubei Mainichi New Year's edition.
For More Information
Uehara, Yachiyo. "One With the Angels." Hokubei Mainichi , Jan. 1, 1984, 2. Reprinted in Fusion 4: A Japanese American Anthology . San Francisco: Asian American Studies Department, San Francisco State University, 1988. 7–15.