Gaijin: American Prisoner of War

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War - Matt Faulkner

It’s not fair, why is this happening? The year is 1941 and America has just declared war on Japan. Koji’s father has returned to Japan for family matters a while back and now Koji and his mother are alone in San Francisco, when this news hits. Being of mixed race, Koji immediately begins to feel discrimination towards him, in every part of his world. Concerned over his father’s whereabouts, Koji world is becoming smaller and more limited as the war progresses. Word is sent that he must leave for a relocation center for Japanese-Americans and I could feel the tension and the anger in the novel mounting. Why is this happening to me? Where is my father? These were the sentiments racing through Koji’s mind. Relocating with his mother, Koji soon realizes that things are not much different at the center than they were in San Francisco as Koji is still an outcast, only for different reasons. I began to wonder if they would receive communication from Koji’s father and when things would settle down for this family. I am at odds with his mother for she seemed personable and caring yet I felt that she was too lenient with Koji, there seemed to be something off with her relationship with her son. Koji is on edge; his world is no longer accepting of who he is and he begins to isolate himself. Someone needed to get on top of this situation before it escalated. This novel is based on true events.

I liked the way this graphic novel was put together. The illustrator varied the sizes of the text boxes throughout the novel isolating each one with a white boarder. The story is told through white text balloons that told the story of a dark world that Koji possessed. I loved the characters faces, the detail and emotions that were expressed in the lines. I wasn’t too fond of the ending, it seemed rushed and not altogether. I am glad that I picked this novel up, it’s a good novel to shed light on some major issues.