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    "url_title": "When the Emperor Was Divine (book)",
    "title_sort": "whentheemperorwasdivinebook",
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    "modified": "2023-12-15T06:43:10",
    "title": "When the Emperor Was Divine (book)",
    "body": "<div class=\"mw-parser-output\">\n <div id=\"databox-BooksDisplay\">\n  <table class=\"infobox\" width=\"200px;\">\n   <tbody>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Title\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      When the Emperor Was Divine\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      <a class=\"external text offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n       Genre\n      </a>\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Fiction\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Author\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Julie Otsuka\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Original Publisher\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Knopf\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Original Publication Date\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      2002\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      Pages\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      144\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n    <tr>\n     <th scope=\"row\" style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      WorldCat Link\n     </th>\n     <td style=\"text-align:left;\">\n      <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n      </a>\n     </td>\n    </tr>\n   </tbody>\n  </table>\n </div>\n <div id=\"databox-Books\" style=\"display:none;\">\n  <p>\n   Title:When the Emperor Was Divine;\nAuthor:Julie Otsuka;\nIllustrator:;\nOrigTitle:;\nCountry:;\nLanguage:;\nSeries:;\nGenre:Fiction;\nPublisher:Knopf;\nPubDate:2002;\nCurrentPublisher:;\nCurrentPubDate:;\nMediaType:;\nPages:144;\nAwards:;\nISBN:;\nWorldCatLink:\n   <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n   </a>\n   ;\n  </p>\n </div>\n <div class=\"floatright\">\n </div>\n <div class=\"rgonly\">\n  <!--\"rgdatabox-CoreDisplay\" removed-->\n  <div id=\"rgdatabox-Core\" style=\"display:none;\">\n   <p>\n    RGMediaType:books;\nTitle:When the Emperor Was Divine;\nCreators:;\nInterestLevel:;\nReadingLevel:;\nGuidedReadingLevel:;\nLexile:;\nTheme:;\nGenre:;\nPoV:;\nRelatedEvents:;\nAvailability:Widely available;\nFreeWebVersion:No;\nPrimarySecondary:;\nHasTeachingAids:No;\nWarnings:;\nDenshoTopic:;\nGeography:;\nChronology:;\nFacility:;\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <p>\n  Short novel centering on the forced removal and incarceration of a Japanese American family from Berkeley, California, in 1942 and their return to their home after the war. Praised for its spare yet detailed and poignant text that tells each section of the story from the perspective of a different character, the novel received numerous and positive reviews. Educators in particular embraced the book in part for its relevance in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and fallout. The book has been translated into six languages and has sold more than 250,000 copies.\n </p>\n <div aria-labelledby=\"mw-toc-heading\" class=\"toc\" id=\"toc\" role=\"navigation\">\n  <input class=\"toctogglecheckbox\" id=\"toctogglecheckbox\" role=\"button\" style=\"display:none\" type=\"checkbox\"/>\n  <div class=\"toctitle\" dir=\"ltr\" lang=\"en\">\n   <h2 id=\"mw-toc-heading\">\n    Contents\n   </h2>\n   <span class=\"toctogglespan\">\n    <label class=\"toctogglelabel\" for=\"toctogglecheckbox\">\n    </label>\n   </span>\n  </div>\n  <ul>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-1\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Book_and_Author_Overview\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      1\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Book and Author Overview\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-2\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Reaction_and_Impact\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      2\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Reaction and Impact\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-3\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#For_More_Information\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      3\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      For More Information\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-4\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Footnotes\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      4\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Footnotes\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n  </ul>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Book_and_Author_Overview\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Book_and_Author_Overview\">\n    Book and Author Overview\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    Julie Otsuka was born on June 15, 1962, in Palo Alto, California, the eldest of three children born to an aerospace engineer father and lab technician mother. When she was nine, the family moved to Palos Verdes, California, an upscale suburb of Los Angeles. Otsuka excelled in school and was accepted to Yale University where studied sculpture and painting, graduating with a degree in art in 1984. Over the next several years, she pursued a career as a painter, first in New Haven, then entering an M.F.A. program at the University of Indiana, then in New York City, ultimately giving up in 1990 at age 27. She spent the next three years going to a cafe to read and eventually write, supporting herself doing word processing in the evenings. She entered Colombia's MFA program in 1994, eventually graduating in June 1999.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    While at Columbia, she began what would become\n    <i>\n     When the Emperor Was Divine\n    </i>\n    . She told William Nakayama \"The first chapter of the novel started as a story that I wrote at Columbia. It literally seemed to come out of nowhere. I had never written about the war before. I'd never written a serious voice before. It was very uncharacteristic of me to write in that way and about that subject.\"\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref1_1-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref1-1\">\n      [1]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    Two chapters were published in anthology that was eventually read by well known literary agent Nicole Aragi, who took her on as a client. Her master's thesis included two-and-a-half chapters of the book. When Aragi sent the finished manuscript to an editor at Knopf on a Friday, the editor called back the following Monday wanting to buy it. The book was published in September 2002.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref2_2-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref2-2\">\n      [2]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    The novel was loosely based on the experience of the author's mother's family whose members were the same age as the characters in the book and were taken to the same camps. It tells the story of an unnamed family of four—\"the woman,\" a 41 year old mother of two, \"the girl,\" who is ten when the story begins, and \"the boy\" who is seven—from the posting of the \"\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Civilian_exclusion_orders/\" title=\"Civilian exclusion orders\">\n     evacuation order\n    </a>\n    \" to their return to their home after the war. When the narrative begins, the father had already been taken away on the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor to be held in a variety of detention camps away from his family. The book consists of five chapters, each told from the perspective of a different character: \"Evacuation Order No. 19,\" on the preparations for \"evacuation\" is told through the eyes of the mother; \"Train,\" on the journey from\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Tanforan_(detention_facility)/\" title=\"Tanforan (detention facility)\">\n     Tanforan \"Assembly Center\"\n    </a>\n    to Topaz, from the perspective of the daughter; \"When the Emperor Was Divine,\" on their time at\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Topaz/\" title=\"Topaz\">\n     Topaz\n    </a>\n    , from the perspective of the son; and \"In a Stranger's Backyard\" from the perspective of both children. The brief final chapter, \"Confession\" is an angry and satirical rant by the father. The family had been quite privileged before the war, with the father having been a successful businessman, and the family lived in a nice home in Berkeley \"not too far from the ocean.\" When they\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Return_to_West_Coast/\" title=\"Return to West Coast\">\n     return to the home after the war\n    </a>\n    , it has been vandalized. All dream of being reunited throughout their incarceration and letters to between the man and his family are frequent. However, the reunion never does come in camp, and when he finally comes home to Berkeley, he is no longer the same person, never going back to work and staying in his room staring out the window.\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Reaction_and_Impact\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Reaction_and_Impact\">\n    Reaction and Impact\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    The book received almost universally positive reviews. Influential\n    <i>\n     New York Times\n    </i>\n    reviewer Michiko Kakutani set the tone, writing that \"Ms. Otsuka's precise but poetic evocation of the ordinary ... lends this slender novel its mesmerizing power\" and praising Otsuka's \"lyric gifts and narrative poise, her heat-seeking eye for detail, her effortless ability to empathize with her characters.\" Similar reviews followed in such publications as\n    <i>\n     The New Yorker\n    </i>\n    (\"Otsuka's incantatory, unsentimental prose is the book's greatest strength\"),\n    <i>\n     Los Angeles Times\n    </i>\n    ,\n    <i>\n     Times Literary Supplement\n    </i>\n    (UK) and many other magazines, newspapers, and journals.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref3_3-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref3-3\">\n      [3]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    Some reviewers thought the prose too distant to be affecting and some, including Kakutani, were critical of the final chapter, which differs in tone greatly from the rest of the book.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref4_4-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref4-4\">\n      [4]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    The book also struck a chord with educators, who saw the book as an ideal educational vehicle in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the questions about civil liberties in times of war that emerged. As noted by\n    <i>\n     New York Times\n    </i>\n    education writer Samuel G. Freedman, \"What has happened with 'Emperor' is what no one in publishing or education can predict: the way an accomplished work of art, though set in the past, captures something essential about the present day.\" Freedman went on to compare the impact of the book to the debuts for\n    <i>\n     Lord of the Flies\n    </i>\n    or\n    <i>\n     To Kill a Mockingbird\n    </i>\n    , books that remain staples of high school curricula.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref5_5-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref5-5\">\n      [5]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    It has been chosen for freshman read-type programs (where all incoming freshman read the book) at over 35 colleges and universities and became a selection of both Barnes and Nobles \"Discover Great New Writers\" and Border's \"Original Voices\" programs. It was also one of the ten recipients of the 2003 Alex Award by the Young Adult Library Services Association, awarded to adult books with particular appeal to young adult readers. Otsuka's website reports that the book has been translated into six languages and has sold more than 250,000 copies.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref6_6-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref6-6\">\n      [6]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Otsuka's second novel,\n    <i>\n     The Buddha in the Attic\n    </i>\n    , about a group of\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Picture_brides/\" title=\"Picture brides\">\n     picture brides\n    </a>\n    , was released to great acclaim in 2011.\n   </p>\n   <div id=\"authorByline\">\n    <b>\n     Authored by\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Brian_Niiya/\" title=\"Brian Niiya\">\n      Brian Niiya\n     </a>\n     , Densho\n    </b>\n   </div>\n   <div id=\"citationAuthor\" style=\"display:none;\">\n    Niiya, Brian\n   </div>\n   <p>\n    Might also like:\n    <i>\n     The Legend of Fire Horse Woman\n    </i>\n    by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston;\n    <i>\n     The Red Kimono\n    </i>\n    by Jan Morrill;\n    <i>\n     After the Bloom\n    </i>\n    by Leslie Shimotakahara\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"For_More_Information\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"For_More_Information\">\n    For More Information\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    Otsuka, Julie. When the Emperor Was Divine: A Novel. New York: Knopf, 2002.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Julie Otsuka website:\n    <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n    </a>\n    .\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Freedman, Samuel G. \"On Education: One Family's Story of Persecution Resonates in the Post-9/11 World.\"\n    <i>\n     New York Times\n    </i>\n    , August 17, 2005, 9.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Fugikawa, Laura Sachiko. \"Domestic Containment: Japanese Americans, Native Americans, and the Cultural Politics of Relocation.\" Ph.D dissertation, University of Southern California, 2011.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Hong Sohn, Stephen. \"These Desert Places: Tourism, the American West, and the Afterlife of Regionalism in Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine.\"\n    <i>\n     Modern Fiction Studies\n    </i>\n    55.1 (Spring 2009): 163–88.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Kawano, Kelley. \"Bold Type: A Conversation with Julie Otsuka.\"\n    <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n    </a>\n    .\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Manzella, Abigail Genee Hughes. \"Permanent Transients: The Temporary Spaces of Internal Migration in Four 20th-Century Novels by U.S. Women Writers.\" Ph.D. dissertation, Tufts University, 2010.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Morishima, Emily Hiramatsu. \"Remembering the Internment in Post-World War II Japanese American Fiction.\" Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 2010.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Nakayama, William. \"Simmering Perfection.\"\n    <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n    </a>\n    .\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Park, Josephine. \"Alien Enemies in Julie Otsuka's\n    <i>\n     When the Emperor Was Divine\n    </i>\n    .\"\n    <i>\n     MFS Modern Fiction Studies\n    </i>\n    59.1 (Spring 2013): 135–55.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Shea, Renee H. \"The Urgency of Knowing.\" Poets &amp; Writers 39.5 (Sept./Oct. 2011): 50–56.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Trachtenberg, Peter.\n    <i>\n     Anchor Books Teacher's Guide to When the Emperor Was Divine\n    </i>\n    . New York: Anchor Books, 2003.\n    <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n    </a>\n    .\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Wong, Gary Sasaki. \"Sansei Internment Camp Literature and Guilt from Secondary Victimization.\" M.A. thesis, San José State University, 2010.\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Footnotes\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Footnotes\">\n    Footnotes\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <div class=\"reflist\" style=\"list-style-type: decimal;\">\n    <div class=\"mw-references-wrap\">\n     <ol class=\"references\">\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref1-1\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref1_1-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        William Nakayama, \"Simmering Perfection.\"\n        <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n        </a>\n        , accessed October 14, 2012.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref2-2\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref2_2-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Author and book background from Samuel G. Freedman, \"On Education: One Family's Story of Persecution Resonates in the Post-9/11 World,\"\n        <i>\n         New York Times\n        </i>\n        , August 17, 2005, 9; Kelley Kawano, \"Bold Type: A Conversation with Julie Otsuka,\"\n        <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n        </a>\n        ; and Nakayama, \"Simmering Perfection.\"\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref3-3\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref3_3-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Michiko Kakutani, \"Books of the Times: War's Outcasts Dream of Small Pleasures.\"\n        <i>\n         New York Times\n        </i>\n        , Sept. 10, 2002,\n        <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\";src=pm\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n;src=pm\n        </a>\n        ; \"Books Briefly Noted,\"\n        <i>\n         The New Yorker\n        </i>\n        , October 28, 2002,\n        <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n        </a>\n        , both accessed on October 14, 2012.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref4-4\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref4_4-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        For instance, Sylvia Santiago \"When the Emperor Was Divine (Book),\"\n        <i>\n         Herizons\n        </i>\n        17.3 (Winter 2004): 37-38,\n        <i>\n         Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost\n        </i>\n        and \"When the Emperor Was Divine (Book),\"\n        <i>\n         Kirkus Reviews\n        </i>\n        70.15 (August 2002): 1068,\n        <i>\n         Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost\n        </i>\n        , both accessed October 14, 2012.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref5-5\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref5_5-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Freedman, \"On Education.\"\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref6-6\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref6_6-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Charlotte Abbott, \"Paperback Comebacks,\"\n        <i>\n         Publishers Weekly\n        </i>\n        250.12 (March 24, 2003): 19,\n        <i>\n         Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost\n        </i>\n        ; 2003 Alex Award Winners,\n        <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n        </a>\n        ;\n        <a class=\"external free offsite\" href=\"\" rel=\"nofollow\">\n\n        </a>\n        , all accessed October 14, 2012).\n       </span>\n      </li>\n     </ol>\n    </div>\n   </div>\n   <!-- \nNewPP limit report\nCached time: 20240418160732\nCache expiry: 86400\nDynamic content: false\nComplications: []\nCPU time usage: 0.023 seconds\nReal time usage: 0.031 seconds\nPreprocessor visited node count: 386/1000000\nPost‐expand include size: 4173/2097152 bytes\nTemplate argument size: 589/2097152 bytes\nHighest expansion depth: 5/40\nExpensive parser function count: 0/100\nUnstrip recursion depth: 0/20\nUnstrip post‐expand size: 3925/5000000 bytes\nExtLoops count: 0\n-->\n   <!--\nTransclusion expansion time report (%,ms,calls,template)\n100.00%   19.779      1 -total\n 16.33%    3.230      1 Template:Reflist\n 12.58%    2.489      1 Template:RGDatabox-Core\n 10.70%    2.117      1 Template:Databox-Books\n  7.05%    1.395      1 Template:AuthorByline\n  6.96%    1.376      1 Template:Published\n-->\n   <!-- Saved in parser cache with key encycmw:pcache:idhash:1428-0!canonical and timestamp 20240418160732 and revision id 35650\n -->\n  </div>\n </div>\n</div>\n<div class=\"toplink\">\n <a href=\"#top\">\n  <i class=\"icon-chevron-up\">\n  </i>\n  Top\n </a>\n</div>",
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