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When the Empire Was Divine

            Julie Otsuka's book When the Emperor was Divine tracks one Japanese family uprooted from their house in Berkeley, California and sent to an internment camp in Utah during the World War Two. The attack on Pearl Harbor commanded by the imperial Japanese navy, as a profound military strike, led to an intense situation and domestic insecurity, ones lead the U.S. government shortly started to relocate and incarcerate nearly citizens of Japanese ancestry who lived on Pacific coast. In this novel, the father, who has been already arrested and removed by the U.S. government at the start of the story, shows some relationship with the Emperor by giving the evidence of the connection to the Japan and his final confession after return four years later.
             There is some evidence to suggest the relationship between the father and the Emperor in Otsuka's novel, and the reason why the U.S. government arrests him on purpose. First of all, the father physically has typical characteristics of Japanese ancestry such as black hair, slanted eyes, thick glasses, thin lips and high cheekbones, and also he represents a symbolic person of Japanese-American who are from Japan living and working on west coast at that time. Second, the handsome and polite father has a descent job to support his family. He always wears beautiful suits and travels abroad very often, and the mother takes care everything at their white house. Moreover, in the section "When the Emperor was Divine", the mother traces back to her memories right after her husband is detained that she burns the frame portrait boy's uncle who had once served the Emperor's army, and all of the letters from Kagoshima, which indicates a sensitive background of Japanese family and their communications with the Emperor. So, by connecting the father's information and intercommunications with the Emperor, it is reasonable that he is an authentic Japanese ancestry who inevitably becomes a target of the U.

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