Saturday, November 23, 2019

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

I do not remember learning anything about the Japanese interment camps in my history classes during high school. It wasn't until I was in my 20s when I actually first learned about the Japanese interment camps and it was quite shocked to learn about them. 

Earlier this year, my husband and I visited the Presidio Officers' Club inside the Presidio in San Francisco, California. While we were at the Presidio Officers' Club, we saw a special exhibit about the Japanese interment camps. The exhibit renewed my interest in learning more about this period of US history.

A few days after visiting the Presidio Officers' Club, I discovered George Takei's graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy. I wanted to read it and learn about Takei's firsthand experience living in an internment camp with his family while he was a boy. 

The artwork for They Called Us Enemy by George Takei is stunning as well as George Takei's experience living through this ordeal as a young boy trying to make sense of the world around him during a turbulent time in US history.

Below is a YouTube video of George Takei discussing his experience living in an internment camp in a Ted Talk in Kyoto 5 years ago. It's a powerful message and one worth watching if you haven't seen it already. 

Below is the summary for They Called Us Enemy by George Takei from Amazon:
New York Times Bestseller!
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.
I am giving They Called Us Enemy by George Takei a rating of 4 stats out of 5 stars.

Until my next, post, happy reading!!


  1. Such a shameful and bizarre event and yet here we are doing it again with immigrants. Thank you for your review.

    1. Yes, shameful and bizarre indeed! It's sad that history seems to repeat itself.

  2. I remember my own shock when I first learned of this piece of our history. Perhaps it should not have been a shock considering our country's historical betrayal of Native Americans, as well as our record regarding slavery, Jim Crow laws, and treatment of people of color in general. Obviously, the country has never lived up to the aspirations expressed in its founding documents, but we have to keep trying to get there.

    1. I only hope that by educating future generations about our country's past transgressions and by teaching tolerance and compassion, that our nation will finally live up 'to the aspirations expressed in its founding documents.'

  3. Off to order this one up. Cheers