The Akune brothers: Siblings on opposite sides of war

The world history is full of remarkable stories of heroism and patriotism.  Here we are going to look at an incredible story of a family . A family whose members were divided by the war against each other and also against their own identities.


Settling on a Newsoil

Like many others Ichiro and Yukiye Akune left their country Japan in 1918 and came to America in search of new opportunities.  They started building  life for themselves and their nine children by opening a grocery store in California.

The Tragedy

After the death of Yukiye in 1933, all children were sent to Japan to live with relatives .Soon after that Ichiro too came back to his homeland.

Initially it was difficult for the children to adjust themselves in Japan as they were born and raised in America. With time a very strong bond had developed between Harry(Masami, the older son ) and his grand uncle. Harry learnt Japanese culture, language and values from his uncle.

As soon as the boys became capable enough to work ,Harry and Ken(Kenjiro) returned back to America and settled at Los angels .

Attack on Pearl Harbor

This attack on 7th December 1941 brought hostile attitude of the government and citizens towards the people from Japanese heritage.

Even though they possessed US citizenship,like other Japanese the brothers were relocated to internment camp in Colorado.

Fidelity of brothers

The Brothers got themselves recruited in U.S. Army, which was seeking volunteers who could speak Japanese. The brothers played a vital role in the war even though they had to face cold behaviour from their fellow companions and the environment was full of hostility.

They did jobs like interrogating the Japanese soldiers , translating documents and proved their loyalty towards the United States.

A big revelation

It was a suprising revelation for the Akune brothers when they all met at a family reunion. Harry and Ken were surprised to know that their brothers Shabro and Shiro also fought  the war but as their opponents. Shabro served in Naval Air Force and Shiro as an orientation trainer. Ichiro , their father immediately negotiated peace between the brothers.

Later on all four of them returned to America and fought on the same side against the Korean army.

Justice for the ones at Internment camps

In 1988, the US government to give reparations to the survivors from the internment camps and acknowledged the injustice done to the Japanese Americans.

A regret with Harry

Harry has always regretted not thanking his grand uncle enough and showing his gratitude towards him for his teachings.

The end

This story unfolds the struggles of a family due to circumstances, the injustice faced by Japanese Americans and the conflict between national identities.

Also we can see the how profound was the pressure on the immigrant groups and with a great perseverance they were able to overcome it.

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