“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.


The three days passed without Kenji harping on the dangers of the coming boat ride. At mid-morning, they headed off to Kona to spend the night with Irie before catching the ship to Moloka‘i at nearby Kailua Harbor. The children, standing next to Auntie Ko, shouted, “Come back soon,” although Haru suspected they were looking forward to Ko’s looser discipline and her easy dispersal of sweets.

Two hours later, Irie’s three children squealed gleefully as they ran to meet the Ford pulling into their yard. Haru’s eyes flew open, and then she snapped a hand over her mouth. She and Kenji glanced at each other in alarm. There were smudges of dirt and caked food all over their naked bodies. One child was sucking on a cane stalk while drizzle dripped from the chin of another toddler holding a half-eaten mango.

When Kenji and Haru emerged from the car, the two older kids grabbed Haru’s hand. “Auntie Haru! Auntie Haru!” cried the oldest. “We are so glad to see you!” The other child squeezed her hand and gazed at her with wide, loving eyes.

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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