George Takei (Star Trek) tells the story of his own incarceration as a child in his autobiography, a TED talk, a Broadway musical, and now he has released a new graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy.
With his latest project, Takei tells readers about the internment camps where 120,000 Japanese-Americans were detained during World War II.
“Perhaps by going the graphic memoir route, the comic strip route, we can reach the young people at a point in life when they are sucking in information,” Takei noted.
“They Called Us Enemy” explores the family’s almost four years unfairly detained. The novel isn’t only for youngsters- it also has plenty to offer adult readers who need to brush up on their history.
Being a child of the internment camp, Takei can see parallels in today’s treatment of asylum seekers at the US southern border, in particular the separation of families and children. Calling the current system “a new low”, noting how he and his family during WWII “were always intact as a family.”
“Now, their children are torn away from them as examples, so that other desperate people won’t follow in their footsteps,” he says. “This is beyond wartime hysteria. This is intentional evil.”
“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 centres,” 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 legalised 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 is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins cowriters Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.”