Study Guide

Farewell to Manzanar Part II, Chapter 18

By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

Part II, Chapter 18

Ka-ke, Near Hiroshima: April 1946

  • Here's another chapter entirely in italics… Think of it as a sign that this chapter's coming from someone else's perspective—in this case, Woody's.
  • It's 1946 and Woody's in Ka-ke, near Hiroshima (hey look—just like the chapter title states).
  • He's with Toyo, Papa's old aunt, and she's showing him some of the destruction from the A-bomb; she also tells him that he lost a cousin to the bomb.
  • There's no gravesite for the cousin since he was near the center of the firestorm.
  • Toyo does show him Papa's tombstone from 1913 though.
  • We know—you just did a double-take.
  • No, Papa didn't really die in 1913, and yes, at this point in the book, Papa's still alive and kicking in California.
  • Okay, so Toyo's delusional right?
  • Nope again—she may be old but her noggin's clear as a ringing bell.
  • She shows the gravestone to explain that back in 1913, Papa had been gone for nine years and the family never received any news from him.
  • In a twisted sort of way, the gravestone is a happy thing because here Woody is telling her that Papa is actually alive. Yay.
  • Woody tears up, but Toyo's like a brick—she tells Woody to come along because there are more relatives to meet, all of whom would be happy to meet Ko's son.
  • Woody's been avoiding this trip to his relatives.
  • He's in Japan with the army to break up the black markets that have made the price of sugar skyrocket, and he doesn't want to deal with the stares and the mutters of people who might think he's a traitor to Japan.
  • He decides to bring sugar to the relatives since it's in such high demand.
  • Even though he's got a military crew cut and American smile, his relatives are all over him because all they see is that he's Ko's son; they bust out the good china, the good prewar sake, and some seriously good teriyaki fish.
  • Aunt Toyo even gives him this super-nice silk comforter to sleep on despite the fact that the war has clearly made his relatives poor.
  • You know what else is nice? Knowing that all the stories his dad told them about this super-old, huge estate and their classy, educated, powerful Japanese lineage was all true.
  • Then Toyo comes into his room and stares at him, with tears running down her face.
  • She just that she can't keep her emotions back anymore because Ko was her favorite nephew (and she was his favorite aunt); she even gave him the money to flee to Hawaii way back when.
  • Plus Woody totally looks like Ko, so no wonder Toyo's breaking up.
  • She tells him to go back to sleep and leaves him alone.
  • He can't go back to sleep because he's imagining Papa before him, Papa who all of a sudden looks a lot like Toyo.
  • No wonder Papa's so crazy proud about his family—Toyo and the rest of them are super-classy and kind.
  • All of a sudden he wishes he had asked Toyo about what Papa was like as a boy…
  • But there's time enough for that tomorrow, when he's going to go hike the hill Papa used to climb and see.

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