Study Guide

Farewell to Manzanar Part I, Chapter 7

By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

Part I, Chapter 7

Fort Lincoln: An Interview

  • To be clear, we don't know if this chapter is an actual interview with Jeanne's dad or an interview Jeanne imagines between some government official and her dad. Either way, the whole chapter is one big long interview.
  • Here's the stuff we learn about her dad:
  • His name is Wakatsuki Ko.
  • He was born in Hiroshima-ken, on the island of Honshu.
  • He went to a military school for four years.
  • He left the school because he hated all that marching.
  • He has an uncle who was a famous general, but they're not in contact anymore.
  • Why? Because Jeanne's dad is the "black sheep" (14) of the family.
  • Her father's memory ain't so great—he can't remember all the names of his kids because he has so many.
  • No way did he deliver oil to Japanese submarines.
  • He carried chum (you know, fish guts) in the oil drums on his boats to bait mackerel.
  • Pearl Harbor makes him sad for both countries (you know, because he's a lover, not a fighter).
  • He thinks the American army is just like the Japanese—both are all about war.
  • But he also thinks the Americans will win because they're bigger and richer.
  • Then… the big question: Is he still loyal to Japan? Is Japan still his country?
  • Just so you know, Jeanne's father isn't the kind of guy who minces his words.
  • In fact, he turns the tables on the interviewer and asks the interviewer when the interviewer was born.
  • Turns out, Jeanne's father has lived in the U.S. nine years longer than the interviewer (who's only 29), but he can't own land, become a citizen, or be with his family. All because he's Japanese-American.
  • And he tells all of that to the interviewer.
  • The interviewer doesn't want to be there either and tells him the sooner they get done with the interview, the sooner they both can leave.
  • But no dice—Jeanne's father is in interrogation mode, and he wants to know where the interviewer will be going after he leaves.
  • The interviewer tries to keep asking the questions he's supposed to ask, but Jeanne's father isn't answering.
  • Instead, he asks what the interviewer would want if his mother and father were in a fight. Would he want them to kill each other or stop fighting?
  • It's a super intense chapter…

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