Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

Pamela Rotner Sakamoto is a scholar of U.S.-Japan relations fluent in both English and Japanese. For this book she conducted research in archives, museums, and libraries in both the U.S. and Japan, along with interviews of dozens of people over the course of more than a decade. She works as an expert consultant on Japan-related projects for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and has taught in the University of Hawaii System. She teaches history at Punahou School.

Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds is a true and moving narrative of a Japanese-American family divided across continents during World War II. The Fukuharas were a Japanese immigrant family, raising five American-born children near Seattle, Washington, with little certainty about their future in the United States. When the patriarch of the family died, his widow moved back to Hiroshima with the children. Two of them returned to the Seattle area in the late 1930s but were interned in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. One, Harry, volunteered to serve in the Army as an interpreter and island-hopped through the Pacific, making his way toward his two younger brothers, both Japanese soldiers.

As the story alternates between the American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight offers a penetrating look at children separated from their families out of perceived necessity, life in two suspicious cultures, the distress of ethnic internment, divided loyalties in two countries, and fraught military campaigns throughout the Southwest Pacific. It is also the story of the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima -- as never seen before in English -- and a fresh look at the dropping of the atomic bomb.


“This deeply researched and elegantly written history is a rare human drama that spans the Japanese-American experience as few, if any, books have done…. a cultural document that immerses the reader…” USA Today

“Deeply reported and researched… Midnight in Broad Daylight” not only tells one family’s remarkable story but also makes an important contribution to our knowledge of the Japanese-American experience in World War II, on both sides of the ocean and the hyphen. New York Times Book Review

“[S]ublime prose and prodigious research…“Midnight in Broad Daylight” is as riveting and moving a book as has ever been written about World War II, made all the more compelling by the blending of American and Japanese perspectives.” Seattle Times

"Rich, memorable detail...Sakamoto takes great unforgettable and powerfully moving book." Honolulu Star-Advertiser

“An intimately detailed look at the agony of a Japanese American family struggling to maintain American loyalty amid discrimination and war. . . . A richly textured narrative history. . . . A beautifully rendered work wrought with enormous care and sense of compassionate dignity.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Midnight in Broad Daylight is a deeply moving, well-written work that ranks among the better accounts of the injuries inflicted in wartime on civilian and ethnic populations. Students of war crimes and crimes against humanity are sure to notice this book.”

Herbert Bix, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

“One of the most wrenching, inspirational-and until now unknown-true epics of World War II….luminous, magisterial…[Sakamoto] has helped shape and set the standard for a vital and necessary new genre: transpacific literature. Her readers will want more.” Ron Powers, Pulitizer Prize winner and author of Mark Twain: A Life

“Riveting in its alternating American and Japanese perspectives, and a fresh look at the dropping of the atom bomb over Hiroshima, this story is inspirational as well as educational. A great addition to World War II literature.” Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, coauthor of Farewell to Manzanar


Twitter: @PamSakamoto