No sooner does Hideo Ishihara, a young Japanese-American, arrive in Japan to bury his grandmother than America, a victim of a sneak attack upon its naval base at Pearl Harbor, declares war on the country. Trapped, he must choose between imprisonment or military service in the Imperial Japanese Army. Upon learning that the only way he will ever come out of prison will be in a coffin, he, reluctantly, chooses the lesser of the two evils--military conscription. Fluent in English, he is assigned to serve as a guard with the transport unit which is responsible for moving American and Filipino prisoners from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell--an historic episode now known as the Bataan Death March.As best he can, he helps the prisoners in his group to survive the brutality and horror of the long trek. But, at the end of the war, proving his citizenship and getting back to America become herculean tasks. When, at last, he succeeds and arrives back in the states, he learns, to his consternation, that his parents and sister were put into an internment camp for the duration of the war and, in the interim, lost all their worldly possessions.Feeling as if he were a stranger in his own home, he forsakes America and crosses into Canada.
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