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.

81.

The constant winds buffeting Mauna Kea had died down. Hushed murmurs washed over the lawn as hundreds of mourners, including many Filipinos, stood outside Waimea’s Buddhist mission. Inside, another 200 bereaved community members jammed into the pews and aisles. All eyes faced the open coffin, which sat front and center on the altar. From the altar’s left window, a pillow-sized stream of the day’s last sunrays shone brightly over Yumi, lying on her mother’s chest, both wrapped in white cotton. Mayo’s arms, wrapped in gauze, held her child one last time and forever after. No one asked why the shrouds violated custom by covering their faces.

With sweat trickling down her back, Haru sat in the front right pew, next to the center aisle. Feeling fatigued for the first time that day, she fought off the drowsiness by digging her nails into her palms. Mayo’s surviving children sat next to her, looking bewildered in little black yukata that had been borrowed from friends. Without Haru’s prompting, Auntie Sachi, sitting on their other side, had already told them, “You will stay with me until Daddy is better.” Squeezed into the pew was Uno, whom Haru had personally escorted when informed that he had arrived unexpectedly.

On the pew opposite Haru sat Dr. Tebbits, Wellington Carter and the Reverend Adams. Carter had called Tebbits and Adams. “We need to show that Bilkerton does not represent us,” he told them.

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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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