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Paperback Color of the Sea Book

ISBN: 0307386074

ISBN13: 9780307386076

Color of the Sea

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Growing up in a time between wars, Sam Hamada finds that the culture of his native Japan is never far from his heart. Sam is rapidly learning the code of the samurai in the late 1930s on the lush... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Color this story beautiful

Reviewed by Beth Cummings "What color is the sea?" Early in this fascinating novel, Fujiwara-san, an elderly man who agrees to teach the young protagonist, Isamu (Sam) the ways of a samurai, asks Sam this question. He has been quizzing Sam about the colors of everything he sees for about six months, but finally Sam gives the answer the old man seeks..."I see light blue and dark blue and gray and green and black and white and yellow and orange. I see green. Gray-green, dull green, bright green, yellow-green, blue-green..." Finally he asks Sam the color of the shadow of a fish that jumped. When Sam answers that the shadow had no color but just darkened the colors it passed, over the old man is delighted. This is the first test of many as Sam learns the way of a samurai - the ancient Japanese tradition of martial arts combined with philosophy and honor. John Hamamura received the 2007 Alex Award for this coming-of-age story of a Japanese-American boy, born in Hawaii, schooled first in Japan then in Hawaii, and finally in California. Isamu reads and writes in both English and Japanese and he understands the both cultures. These are the years leading up to WWII. When the war begins, Sam enlists to fight the Germans, but unlike many of his nisei (Japanese born in the United States) friends, he is not sent to the European front. Instead he becomes a teacher of Japanese culture and translator for the Army that will eventually be fighting his native country. His mother, brother and sister still live in Japan. He lives a life that is torn between two honorable courses of action - serve one's country (the U.S.) or honor one's family living in the enemy land. Hamamura himself came from a background like his character, Isamu, and has an intriguing way of telling this story. It starts slow and builds, layer upon layer. It gives a realistic look at what it meant to be a Japanese-American during WWII and also insight into what divided loyalties can do to a person in any kind of situation. Armchair Interviews says: This would be a great book for reading group discussions.

A Beautiful Story

"Color of the Sea" By John Hamamura is a tough book to find, but well worth every moment spent trying. Author John Hamamura is a Japanese American born in Minnesota at the end of World War II to Japanese parents. He Currently lives in California so when it comes to the experience of Japanese immigrants during WWII Hamamura knows deeply of that which he writes. The story begins pre-WWII and follows the life of 9 year old Isamu (Sam). Sam leaves his mother and siblings in Japan to join his father in Hawaii. From a proud Samurai family, Sam's father has become an alcoholic, blue collar laborer working in the cane fields of Hawaii. His dream for Isamu (like all parents) is that the boy transcend the his fathers station by being educated in English and ultimately to study at an American College. This story is deeply spiritual and the writing is superb. Hamamura understands the concept of "less is more" when it comes to writing. This short book is filled with images that run the whole gamut of the human experience; he contrasts images of love, sex, spiritual martial arts and the beauty of nature with the heart rending experiences of war, death, despair and the most vivid description of the ravages of Hiroshima that I have ever read. From an historical standpoint John Hamamura really gives readers a feel for what it must be like to live in a country and be a part of it, but at the same time be made to feel so "other". After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans became pariah with families locked in campls even though many served valiantly in the war (these events are detailed in the book). If you could read only one book this year read Color of the Sea. This is an important book.

A Well Told Tale with the Correct Historical Background

This is a powerful book about a couple of people caught in one of the more painful moments of American history when the treatment of Japanese descended peoples in the United States was a travesty of the things America is supposed to stand for. The author says that he spent years working on the book, but that the story has been working on him since he was born. He was born in 1945 in an US Army hospital in Minnesota. His father was a Japanese language instructor. His mothers family lived in a concentration camp in southern Arkansas. His father's mother and siblings lived in Hiroshima. This is already the basis of a story. One where the telling of a tale with these almost makes it seem contrived and artificial. The story is told from the standpoint of a Japanese-American man drafted into the US Army and a Japanese-American girl who returned to Japan just before the war. It is a tale well told against a well researched time in history. Indeed it places a personal aspect on the history of that time.

This book will change the way you look at the world

One of my favorite books of all time now--beautiful writing and such vibrant, passionate characters. Family relationships, the meaning of ethnic heritage and family loyalty, and a concept of truly seeing and interacting with the layers underneath life: the color, the vibrancy, the joy... all make this one of the most enthralling books I've ever read. But the action-filled story is a journey that will draw you in immediately and you'll never forget it. This book sets the bar for great writing. You won't be able to resist passing it along to your friends and family.
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