George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s—and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon—and America itself—in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
The second season of the TV series The Terror, subtitled Infamy, was set in a Japanese-American internment camp around old Japanese ghost stories. It was quite interesting (). George Takei, of Star Trek fame, who had experienced the camps in his childhood, was asked to be a consultant and, since he is also an actor, to be a member of the cast. He incorporated a lot of his own experience into the TV series. This comic memoir, where Takei recounts the whole traumatic experience of the internment camps, could be a good companion book to the TV series.
The storytelling is excellent as it not only chronicles the daily life of his family inside the camp, how he felt as a four-year-old and what was the impact on his later life, but it also tells us of the journey that brought him to want to share this story. However, if it is presented has a book for all ages, it should probably more appropriately targets a teenage readership as the story is very serious, with references to policies and politics that kids would probably not understand.
The artwork is generally nice but often a little crude and simplistic with an overuse of screentone to add shades and textures. The story would have been better served by a more professional graphic style. However, this look was probably chosen to make the book feel more accessible.
Overall, it is a very interesting comics about an important (but little known) part of American history that should be a mandatory reading in civics or history classes all over America. A must (particularly now).
They called us enemy, co-written by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker. Marietta: Top Shelf Comics (imprint of IDW Publishing), July 2019. 208 pages, 6.5 x 19 in, $US 19.99 / $C 25.99. ISBN 978-1-60309-450-4. For teenage readers (12+).
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© 2019 George Takei
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