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dhaupt
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Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Week Two Parts 3 & 4
Chapters 25-45

 

Part two brings to the forefront the brutalities brought on by the war, some couldn’t be helped while some were tragedies of our country’s making.

 

Inside the internment camp there is a rather large faction of men/boys who are loyal to the Emperor.
Does this surprise you?


The unfairness of this situation is brought to the forefront many times in this section. The scene that stands out for me is the little Japanese girl being separated from her adoptive parents (chapter 29). Was there any one situation, scene, happening that stood out for you?

 

Jo’s character has gone through a bit of a metamorphosis from gangly girl to pin up.
Tell us your feelings about Jo.
Do you like her?
Do you predict a relationship between she and TJ?

 

What makes Lane’s enlistment ironic?
Or is it?

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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

As we ended the week one thread, the topic of historical details was being discussed.  I thought I’d continue with that discussion here.

 

I love the historical details that you have provided, Kristina.  Frankly, some of them are shocking. 

 

On page 152, this took me aback:

“…she looked Chinese, not Japanese.  Assuming Time magazine’s comparative illustrations held any validity.”

What?!?!  Seriously?!?!  Time magazine ran an illustrated article comparing the two nationalities?  Wow!

 

On page 164, I was horrified to read about an adopted Japanese child being taken from her Caucasian adopted parents! 

 

On page 191, we were privy to Maddie’s thoughts:

“She saw the rows of cribs and ironing boards, the Japanese girl being ripped from her adoptive family.  What possible threat could the youngster have posed to national security?  One-sixteenth of Japanese blood was all it took for exclusion.” 

I was reminded of the slave trade and segregation, where families were separated and small amounts of blood determined people’s fates.

 

On page 243, we read that even though a third of the Hawaiian population was Japanese, few had been detained.  Why the inconsistency with the mainland?  Was it safety in numbers?  Could two thirds of the population detain one third?  Maybe not.  Maybe it was easier on the mainland where the numbers of Japanese as compared to the general population were low.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


dhaupt wrote:

Week Two Parts 3 & 4
Chapters 25-45

 

 

Inside the internment camp there is a rather large faction of men/boys who are loyal to the Emperor.
Does this surprise you?

 


Jo’s character has gone through a bit of a metamorphosis from gangly girl to pin up.
Tell us your feelings about Jo.
Do you like her?
Do you predict a relationship between she and TJ?

 

What makes Lane’s enlistment ironic?
Or is it?


I had no idea that there was a group of Japanese that was loyal to the Emperor.  That fascinated me.  Speaking of this group, I was wondering what other readers thought of Maddie’s decision in Chapter 39, not to tell Lane what had happened to her on the outskirts of camp while she was alone with her violin.  I understand why Maddie did not tell Lane.  She clearly tells us on page 226.  However, when I read on page 227 that members of the group were obviously watching Maddie, I thought she should have said something to Lane.  I know she did not want to be separated from him, but being a victim of rape or murder would mean a separation too.

 

I like Jo.  I hope that a relationship develops between her and TJ.  They have a lot in common, and both know the pain of losing parents.  They both seem so independent though, they both may sabotage the relationship before it has a chance to gain a firm footing.

 

Lane’s enlistment is ironic.  As an American of Japanese descent, he is detained.  Yet, the only way he can think of to help the situation of the detainees, to allow them to go back to their homes, is to fight with the country that is detaining him, against the country of his heritage.

 

I’m looking forward to discussing this section of reading with everyone, but I have to confess, I have already moved on in the reading!  Don’t worry, no spoilers from me!

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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dhaupt
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Laura, thanks for your comments

 

I'm amazed at how much I still don't know about this time and your post just prooves my point.

 

(I love the historical details that you have provided, Kristina.  Frankly, some of them are shocking. 

 

On page 152, this took me aback:

“…she looked Chinese, not Japanese.  Assuming Time magazine’s comparative illustrations held any validity.”

What?!?!  Seriously?!?!  Time magazine ran an illustrated article comparing the two nationalities?  Wow!

 

On page 243, we read that even though a third of the Hawaiian population was Japanese, few had been detained.  Why the inconsistency with the mainland?  Was it safety in numbers?  Could two thirds of the population detain one third?  Maybe not.  Maybe it was easier on the mainland where the numbers of Japanese as compared to the general population were low.)

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


I’m looking forward to discussing this section of reading with everyone, but I have to confess, I have already moved on in the reading!  Don’t worry, no spoilers from me!

 

Laura, I agree with you here too. This was a particularly difficult book not to go on with.

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ReadingPatti
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Registered: ‎10-24-2008

Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Part two brings to the forefront the brutalities brought on by the war, some couldn’t be helped while some were tragedies of our country’s making.

 

Inside the internment camp there is a rather large faction of men/boys who are loyal to the Emperor. Does this surprise you? No, Japan was the country they came from and of course they would be loyal to the leader.

 

The unfairness of this situation is brought to the forefront many times in this section. The scene that stands out for me is the little Japanese girl being separated from her adoptive parents (chapter 29). Was there any one situation, scene, happening that stood out for you? I liked that one too. I can't imagine what it would be like to be separated from your parents. It must have been so very hard so them and for her.

 

Jo’s character has gone through a bit of a metamorphosis from gangly girl to pin up. Tell us your feelings about Jo. Do you like her? Do you predict a relationship between she and TJ? I like her a lot. She knows what she wants and is determined to get it. I think that she and T J.  I want them to get together and have a great life. I also hope that Jo and Maddie stay friends.

 

What makes Lane’s enlistment ironic? Or is it? No, I did not think it was ironic. I think he did it to fight for what he believed in.

 

 

This is a very interesting book. A lot of stories withing stories about that time.

 

ReadingPatti

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elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


Fozzie wrote:

As we ended the week one thread, the topic of historical details was being discussed.  I thought I’d continue with that discussion here.

 

I love the historical details that you have provided, Kristina.  Frankly, some of them are shocking. 

 

On page 152, this took me aback:

“…she looked Chinese, not Japanese.  Assuming Time magazine’s comparative illustrations held any validity.”

What?!?!  Seriously?!?!  Time magazine ran an illustrated article comparing the two nationalities?  Wow!

 

On page 164, I was horrified to read about an adopted Japanese child being taken from her Caucasian adopted parents! 

 

On page 191, we were privy to Maddie’s thoughts:

“She saw the rows of cribs and ironing boards, the Japanese girl being ripped from her adoptive family.  What possible threat could the youngster have posed to national security?  One-sixteenth of Japanese blood was all it took for exclusion.” 

I was reminded of the slave trade and segregation, where families were separated and small amounts of blood determined people’s fates.

 

On page 243, we read that even though a third of the Hawaiian population was Japanese, few had been detained.  Why the inconsistency with the mainland?  Was it safety in numbers?  Could two thirds of the population detain one third?  Maybe not.  Maybe it was easier on the mainland where the numbers of Japanese as compared to the general population were low.


Unlike Deb, I'm still finishing up this week's reading! Done soon....

 

I agree with a lot of what Laura said. Like her, I was completely unaware that Time had illustrations of Chinese vs. Japanese. Really shocking, and totally unacceptable. But am I surprised? No. Just look to our most recent past, in particular 9/11, and think of the ostracism of ALL Muslims because of the acts of A VERY FEW Muslims. I know our collective memory is short, and I am not going to engage in a political argument here, but the press did not help this situation for the most part. And there is still ongoing prejudice. 

 

At the same time, I don't find it surprising that Japanese Hawaiians were not detained. Again, I agree with Laura, the percentage of Japanese in Hawaii was far higher than on the mainland. And native Hawaiians trace their ancestry (probably?) to Polynesia, so they would look 'different' than mainstream America as well. Between those two groups of people, who will detain who??

 

Thank you to both Kristina and Muse for providing some interesting, much needed background on this very dark time.

Elaine

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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dhaupt
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Wow all the comments have been wonderful.

 

I for one am surprised that the Japanese weren't somehow detained on Hawaii, this is where the attack was, it's why we entered the war when we did. Perhaps it's because it's an island and travel was pretty much non-existent from that point forward.

 

Kristina, do you know why they weren't detained in Hawaii?

 

 

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elaine_hf
Posts: 389
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

[ Edited ]

Although I'm not yet caught up, I can say that I love Jo! She is loyal, strong, and independent, and is not cratering to TJ. I do think they're headed for a relationship, but it will be on an equal footing, not just TJ's terms. 

 

And I agree, Deb, the scene with the little Japanese girl being separated from her adoptive parents was startling. But again, I can call to mind a very recent occurence here - a Hispanic woman was within days of dying, and her parents weren't allowed into the country to say goodbye. She died without that comforting last visit, and I simply cannot understand the frame of reference being used by the people that enforced that, much less a person who would deport a small child away from his or her parents. Could this little girl have been a spy? Absolutely not. Did those parents plan to use their daughter's death to sneak into the country for good? Very doubtful. I am appalled by our lack of humanity at times.

Elaine

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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Mountain_Muse
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Hey guys, lots happening at our house this week....will get caught up and on the board ASAP ..... Don't want to miss the discussion and discovery. :-)
Muse
A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
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dhaupt
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


elaine_hf wrote:

Although I'm not yet caught up, I can say that I love Jo! She is loyal, strong, and independent, and is not cratering to TJ. I do think they're headed for a relationship, but it will be on an equal footing, not just TJ's terms. 

 

And I agree, Deb, the scene with the little Japanese girl being separated from her adoptive parents was startling. But again, I can call to mind a very recent occurence here - a Hispanic woman was within days of dying, and her parents weren't allowed into the country to say goodbye. She died without that comforting last visit, and I simply cannot understand the frame of reference being used by the people that enforced that, much less a person who would deport a small child away from his or her parents. Could this little girl have been a spy? Absolutely not. Did those parents plan to use their daughter's death to sneak into the country for good? Very doubtful. I am appalled by our lack of humanity at times.

Elaine


Thanks Elaine, very true on both accounts

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


Mountain_Muse wrote:
Hey guys, lots happening at our house this week....will get caught up and on the board ASAP ..... Don't want to miss the discussion and discovery. :-)
Muse

We'll be waiting

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aprilh
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

[ Edited ]

I was surprised to learn there was a group of Japanese who were still loyal to the Emperor. I had never read about that before. Up to the point where we meet this group, most of the Japanese we read about were doing anything they could to prove their loyalty to America, including burning their letters and pictures. So I was a bit shocked to learn there was another group who not only were loyal to the Emperor, but also were out to attack those Japanese (and their families) that chose to fight for America.

 

The scene where the little Japanese girl was being taken away from her parents was one of the most heartbreaking scenes to me. I couldn't understand how taking a little girl away from her parents could make sense to anyone. Surely everyone involved with the situation knew this young girl who was being raised by American parents had no ties to the Japanese government and posed no threat to anyone. Was this their way of making an example that anyone with Japanese blood was to be detained? My heart broke for this young girl and her parents.

 

I've loved Jo from the beginning and  have kept my fingers crossed that something would happen between her and TJ. I loved when Jo showed up at the train station, looking like a pinup girl. The kiss between them hasn't left TJ's mind and the letters he wrote to her, even though he never intended to send them, show how much he cares about her and wants to be with her. After the letters accidentally got sent out, he writes to Jo saying he doesn't care about her enough to have her wait for him. I just hope she sees through that last letter.

 

I think Lane's enlistment is ironic. He is willing to fight for the same country that has detained him and his family against the country his ancestors came from. He is willing to do whatever he has to to prove his loyalty to America.

April
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aprilh
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


Fozzie wrote:

I had no idea that there was a group of Japanese that was loyal to the Emperor.  That fascinated me.  Speaking of this group, I was wondering what other readers thought of Maddie’s decision in Chapter 39, not to tell Lane what had happened to her on the outskirts of camp while she was alone with her violin.  I understand why Maddie did not tell Lane.  She clearly tells us on page 226.  However, when I read on page 227 that members of the group were obviously watching Maddie, I thought she should have said something to Lane.  I know she did not want to be separated from him, but being a victim of rape or murder would mean a separation too.

 


I was surprised when Maddie didn't tell Lane what had happened with the Black Dragons. I knew she didn't want to rile Lane up if the administrators weren't going to do anything and telling him might make him take revenge. She was safe and learned not to go off alone, so I understood why she didn't want to tell him. When when she spots the Black Dragons watching her from their apartment though, I thought Maddie should have told Lane what had happened. She was putting not only herself, but Lane, Emma and Kumiko in danger. This was not a group to be messed with. He had a right to know his family was in danger so he could find a way to protect them. If he had this knowledge, maybe Lane wouldn't have joined the Army.

April
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dhaupt
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

As many of you who are regulars here on the forum know I present a thought for the day every day. Today's is a Japanese proverb that I thought I would share and ask.

 

Do you think this relates to our novel?

 

“Fall seven times,
stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

 

 

 

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Fozzie
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


aprilh wrote:

I was surprised when Maddie didn't tell Lane what had happened with the Black Dragons. I knew she didn't want to rile Lane up if the administrators weren't going to do anything and telling him might make him take revenge. She was safe and learned not to go off alone, so I understood why she didn't want to tell him. When when she spots the Black Dragons watching her from their apartment though, I thought Maddie should have told Lane what had happened. She was putting not only herself, but Lane, Emma and Kumiko in danger. This was not a group to be messed with. He had a right to know his family was in danger so he could find a way to protect them. If he had this knowledge, maybe Lane wouldn't have joined the Army.


"If he had this knowledge, maybe Lane wouldn't have joined the Army."

 


I hadn't thought of that angle.  It was because he was joining the army that he was singled out.  However, they knew Lane's intention and feelings, so even if he stayed, I think he and his family would still have been targeted.  He may have been able to protect them a bit with his presence though.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


dhaupt wrote:

As many of you who are regulars here on the forum know I present a thought for the day every day. Today's is a Japanese proverb that I thought I would share and ask.

 

Do you think this relates to our novel?

 

“Fall seven times,
stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

 

 

 


Yes, definitely!

 

The Japanese immigrants living in the U.S. and their children were repeatedly challenged in their lives.  The parents had to journey to a new country and make something of themselves in a new culture.  The children were brought up between two worlds, feeling not a complete part of either the Japanese or the American world.  Then World War II created unimaginable challenges, yet the people as a whole survived.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


dhaupt wrote:

As many of you who are regulars here on the forum know I present a thought for the day every day. Today's is a Japanese proverb that I thought I would share and ask.

 

Do you think this relates to our novel?

 

“Fall seven times,
stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

 

 

 


I love that saying! It applies to not only our book, where everyone has to keep standing again, but to our own lives as well. How appropriate, thank you for sharing it!

 

I wonder if it has more than just the surficial meaning. Not just standing again, but finding new ways to stand. TJ had to make some adjustments in his way of thinking - when he asked for furlough, I think he was surprised not only at the response, but also to the fact that the commanding officer expressed some irritation at the way that the Japanese were being treated. He would have been much more comfortable with a more negative response, so I think this is making him rethink his views. At least it planted the seed.

 

Maddie had to learn a new way of standing when she moved to the camp. And that applies to everyone there - but Maddie volunteered for it, she had a choice. She prepared herself for standing again, even though it meant giving up Juilliard. 

Elaine

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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Kristina_McMorris
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Ooh, I love that! And yes, I agree, SO fitting -- both to the story and, more importantly, to life.

 

Thanks for sharing!

 


dhaupt wrote:

As many of you who are regulars here on the forum know I present a thought for the day every day. Today's is a Japanese proverb that I thought I would share and ask.

 

Do you think this relates to our novel?

 

“Fall seven times,
stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

 

 

 

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Kristina_McMorris
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎12-28-2012
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Re: Week Two Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

[ Edited ]

Uh-oh...here's where I get to throw a wrench into things. LOL. 

 

It's honestly been so long since I read the book myself, I had to go back and confirm how I remembered the ending of that scene, where Maddie senses someone watching her after her first run-in with the Black Dragons:

 

"The dog snipped off a tiny bark as they reached the door. Maddie turned around to quietly shush him; she wanted the full effect of Emma’s surprise. But then a figure caught her eye. A man in black was watching from a distance. Before she could make out his face, he disappeared into the firebreak."

 

So, although, it MIGHT be one of the villains, we -- and Maddie -- will never really know. :smileyhappy: 

 

 


aprilh wrote:


I was surprised when Maddie didn't tell Lane what had happened with the Black Dragons. I knew she didn't want to rile Lane up if the administrators weren't going to do anything and telling him might make him take revenge. She was safe and learned not to go off alone, so I understood why she didn't want to tell him. When when she spots the Black Dragons watching her from their apartment though, I thought Maddie should have told Lane what had happened. She was putting not only herself, but Lane, Emma and Kumiko in danger. This was not a group to be messed with. He had a right to know his family was in danger so he could find a way to protect them. If he had this knowledge, maybe Lane wouldn't have joined the Army.