Historical Fiction, Picture Bride – A Family Saga

Historical Fiction, 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, which is now available as a printed softcover book, opens 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.

80.

Haru stepped out the back door with Kenta riding in a sling on her back. Another strap holding an open wicker basket hung from her left shoulder. She surveyed the rows of corn, carrots, radishes, lettuce and tomato plants in the back, fronting the tree line. Frowning, she turned to Kame, who was walking behind her, carrying another basket.

“Yesterday the mission grounds seemed so spacious and our garden so large. Now the space seems so small with all the displaced families, and our garden is too meager to feed so many.”

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Haru turned toward the sound. Breathing heavily, Sam was pounding a peg into the ground to start marking off 8-by-5 grassy “housing plots,” as he called them. Holding the mallet in his right hand, he called over, “Including the front yard, we have enough space for 40 families. We can squeeze another 10 into the hotel.”

Sam paused to catch his breath. “Bilkerton is as evil as any man I’ve known. His hands have the blood of a child and a mother, and yet he evicts his families. And the law stands behind him because his workers strike over this outrage.”

Thinking of Tamatsuke’s early morning plea, Haru said, “We will let the sheriff chase the murderers. Our mission is to focus on what we can do — provide support for families so the workers won’t crawl back to their jobs defeated. Justice means we win the strike, Sam.” Looking at her basket brimming with ripe tomatoes a few minutes later, she knew she couldn’t postpone her next mission any longer.

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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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