“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.

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Soaking in the ofuro weeks later, Haru massaged her abdomen as she felt the soft kicks of her unborn baby, reminding her how fortunate she had been during the Spanish flu threat. The outbreak of the flu had been relatively mild in Waimea. It had claimed six people — Ualani, two townspeople and three Filipino plantation workers. While a new, more virulent strain was moving across America, Haru’s entire family was now immune.

Buddha had rewarded her forgiveness. Ko had been nurse, cook and housecleaner during the two weeks of recovery. She now thought of Ko as her sister. Haru felt another kick. Although the doctor estimated she was in her seventh month, the frequent kicking and size of her belly told her she was closer to eight months.


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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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