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.

Chapter 86

While Haru and Rev. Adams were inspecting her camp, Sam stood in Wellington Carter’s mahogany-paneled office. Photographs of his paniolo winning rodeo contests lined the walls. The giant photograph behind Carter’s desk showed Ikua Purdy, Eben “Rawhide Ben” Low and Archie Kaaua sitting on their steeds in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with a roaring crowd acknowledging their victory in the 1908 World Rodeo Competition. The dimly lit room with small windows, catching only patches of the streaming sun, stank of stale cigar smoke. Sam held his shoulders back, but could not hold his eyes steady on the big man.

“I don’t think I have ever asked you for a favor, Mr. Carter. And if this were just about me, I would not be here.”

“Must be mighty important, Sam. You’re not the complaining type.” A sly smile crinkled his eyes. “I saw Kame yesterday. Am I right in thinking that her belly has swollen?”

Sam grinned and stood a little taller. “Yes, sir. We are hoping for an April birth.” He paused, his face returned to its sober expression. “The American Legion told me we couldn’t march tomorrow in the Washington Day parade.” He balled his fists. “They say we are not Americans, not loyal to the American flag.”

“It’s this strike, Sam — a nasty business, bringing out the worst in people on both sides.” He ran a hand through his blond hair streaked with grey and then narrowed his eyes. “Sam, tell your boys to clean their boots. They will be marching.”

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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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