Citizen 13660

by Mine Okubo | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 0295959894 Global Overview for this book
Registered by beautyredefined of Washington, District of Columbia USA on 12/18/2004
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by beautyredefined from Washington, District of Columbia USA on Saturday, December 18, 2004
For the third book in my Asian-American Lit class, we turn to Citizen 13660, a graphic novel detailing the experiences of the author at Japanese internment camps during WWII. Not necessarily a pleasant topic, but one that is important to our history and something that deserves more public attention.

I find I'm not all that attracted to graphic novels of this type. I tend to focus more on the text of books, and leave the pictures up to my own mind. With this, you lose your own visual interpretation of the text, and since I'm focused on the text, I didn't spend enough time really looking at the art. I glanced at the art on each page, but I feel if I spent more time on each illustration, I might have a better appreciation for the book.

I also didn't really appreciate the text much. Each paragraph was more like a caption, with constant passive voice as well as mostly simple sentences. This was that. People did this. There was something here. It didn't engage me in a literary sense. We didn't learn a deep insight into the feelings of the author; she didn't often tell us what she felt or thought. That made it harder for me to connect with the experience too. This book seems strictly to be a record of life in two camp, not the reflections and thoughts of someone who lived in one. It is a story not of an individual, but of everyone who was interned.

The text was littered with irony and humor though, which prevented the story from becoming too dark. Without the levity occasionally provided, this book would have been harder to keep reading. Sometimes the humor shows in the drawings, such as her sticking out her tongue or tripping over a bush, but more often the text provides a dry humor and could bring a subtle smile to your face. A simple sentence for instance, saying "Kite-making and flying was not limited to the youngsters." Other times, the text was filled with irony. "Those who wished privacy went out into the wide open spaces." It seems that Okubo wanted to show the contradictions in the camp.

She talked a lot about freedom. How they both near to it and far from it at the same time. In Tanforan especially, she was surrounded by guards and barbed wire, but highways and the freedom of transportation was just on the other side. Even with their campaign for some self-governing within the camps, they were given the opportunity to vote, only to have the council dismantled shortly thereafter.

Overall, I think the story needs to be told, but I didn't really get into the way that Okubo told her story. It's a quick read, so it might be worth the few hours even if you don't appreciate graphic novels as much as a regular novel.

Released 14 yrs ago (5/27/2005 UTC) at University Health Services - 1552 University Ave. in Madison, Wisconsin USA



I left this book in the second floor waiting room around 2:45 PM

Journal Entry 3 by wingAnonymousFinderwing on Thursday, June 16, 2005
Caught this novel in the waiting room before my dr. appointment. It was a treat to have something to read besides Family Fun magazine! Took the book home and finished reading it. This is a graphic novel about Japanese internment during the second World War. I love historical comics! Recommended.


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