“Picture Bride” — A Family Saga

“Picture Bride” — A Family Saga

Historical Fiction by Michael G. Malaghan

Michael G. Malaghan

Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Editor’s note: We continue Michael G. Malaghan’s serialized historical novel, “Picture Bride — A Family Saga,” based on the Japanese immigrant experience. Malaghan’s trilogy takes readers from turn-of-the-20th-century-Japan to Hawai‘i in the picture bride era; the Islands during World War II, highlighted by the exploits of the Nisei soldiers; and beyond.

The novel begins with 12-year-old Haru-chan, fleeing her home in Amakusa, Kyüshü, for Hiroshima, where she becomes the picture bride of a Buddhist priest in Hawai‘i.

Author Michael Malaghan is a retired businessman who divides his time between Hawai‘i, Florida and Japan.

Part IV — Allegiance


Waimea, Hawai‘i, Nov. 11, 1918

Haru set her coffee cup down on the dining room table, not suspecting that her already stressful day was about to become even more stressful and end even worse. Ualani was in the kitchen, washing the last of the breakfast dishes. Kenji was next door at his mission office, writing a letter to Bishop Imamura. Sachi, who had moved in with Kenji and Haru after her parents died of pneumonia, was reading stories to the nursery school children, including Haru’s 5-year-old son, Yoshio. Haru’s and Kenji’s first-born, a boy they had named Takashi, had ridden his bicycle to his third grade class an hour earlier. Haru looked down at 18-month-old “Tommy,” suckling her breast — Yoshio had such a difficult time pronouncing his little brother Tomio’s name, so Haru and Kenji decided to give him a nickname, “Tommy.”

Honolulu’s Pacific Commercial Advertiser, already three days old by the time the delivery boy tossed it on her porch, lay innocently next to the saucer, still tightly rolled.

Haru rubbed her stomach knowingly. She’d been lucky: three healthy sons, only one miscarriage. She recalled watching the Emperor ride into the Yasukuni Shrine and how she had pledged to breed sons to serve in his wars. The longer she lived in America, the more she appreciated a country that sent its sons into combat reluctantly.

You can read this story in its entirety in the print edition of The Hawaii Herald, which is sold at:

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  • Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Gift Shop
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As a new retiree who was free to dream, Michael G. Malaghan attended a Maui Writers Conference presentation on historical novels. It left him with a deep desire to meld his interests in history and writing. After attending the premiere of historian Tom Coffman’s 2007 documentary, “The First Battle,” which detailed how Hawai‘i’s Japanese community avoided mass internment by preparing for that expected consequence three years before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Mike decided to tell the entire Japanese immigrant experience in historical novel form. His trilogy will take readers from turn-of-the-20th-century-Japan to Hawai‘i in the picture bride era; the Islands during the World War II, highlighted by the exploits of the Nisei soldiers; and beyond. Mike was born in the Midwest and raised in Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida and volunteered for the Peace Corps after college. In his business life he was president of a Walt Disney licensee, marketing English language learning materials in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea. Mike and his wife Tomoko, a native of Tochigi Prefecture, are worldwide travelers and adventurers. They split their time between homes in Waikiki and Winter Park, Fla., and also spend nearly a month every year visiting with Tomoko’s parents in Japan, where Mike also conducts workshops for his former company.


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