Home Is the Expatriate (short story)
Creators: Larry Tajiri
Short story by Larry Tajiri about a Nisei strandee just returned from Japan after a decade there. Joe Suzuki was a Nisei in Los Angeles who graduated high school in the mid 1930s. Unwilling to take the types of jobs available to Nisei at that time—primarily agricultural and/or manual labor type jobs—he first tried Hollywood, then went to Japan, as did many other Nisei at that time. He landed a white-collar job at a Japanese firm, but it proved to be a dead end job, and, as a Nisei, he drew suspicion from the police. He attempted to return to the U.S. in November 1941, but his ship turned around midway as war broke out, and he was stuck in Japan during the war. He returns embittered, his mother having died in an American concentration camp, and his father having resettled in Chicago .
As the editor and a columnist for the Pacific Citizen newspaper, Tajiri published many stories about Nisei like Joe who had been trapped in Japan during the war. These ranged from stories about these "strandees" seeking to return to the U.S. after the war, their employment by the U.S. Occupation in Japan, and criminal cases such as Iva Toguri d'Aguino and Tomoya Kawakita . "Home Is the Expatriate" appeared in the February 14, 1948 issue of the Pacific Citizen in Tajiri's "Nisei USA" column, subtitled "A Short Story."