The Identity Crisis In John Okada's No-No Boy

Decent Essays

John Okada’s novel of the same name of these ‘disloyal’ men, No-No Boy, traces 25 year-old Ichiro Yamada’s experience directly after his internment and imprisonment, as he moves back home to Seattle. Here, he is attempting to reconcile his internment in a nation he once thought belonged to, and now is placed in a nation that is cold and unwelcoming to Japanese-American citizens. Ichiro returns home to his mother, father and brother who all have helped manifest Ichiro’s identity crisis in some way. Although Ichiro was born in American and his full American citizenship, he feels displaced by his own citizenship, Okada writes, “I blame myself and I blame you.” (Okada 17). Ichiro blames himself for his imprisonment, but also blames his mother. Before his four-year imprisonment, Ichiro was a scholar, Okada writes, “He had almost forgotten that there had been a time before the war when had had actually gone to college for two years and studiously applied himself to courses in the engineering school. The statement staggered him. Was that all there was to it? Did she mean to sit there and imply that the four intervening years were to be casually forgotten and life resumed as if there had been no fours and no war…” (Okada ##) Importantly, Okada demonstrates that Ichiro’s disillusionment is learned and brought onto him by outside forces. Ichiro does not see his dual identity, or does not view it as a negative, until he is imprisoned by the United States government. Authors such as,

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