Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a family divided by war. After their father’s death in Seattle, the Fukuhara children — all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest — moved to Hiroshima with their mother. Eager to go back to America, two of the children — Mary and Harry — returned in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Despite being sent to an internment camp with Mary, Harry volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, their brothers Frank and Pierce became soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army.

As the war raged, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy—and to his brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face each other in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of their own family.

Alternating between the American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight captures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting as well as the deteriorating home front of Hiroshima—as never seen before in English—and provides a fresh look at the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Intimate and evocative, it is an indelible portrait of a resilient family, a scathing examination of racism and xenophobia, an homage to the tremendous Japanese American contribution to the American war effort, and an invaluable addition to the historical record of this extraordinary time.


Mother, I am Katsuharu. I have come home.’ By the time the reader arrives at this simple, Odysseus-like declaration, she will have been tossed and transported through one of the most wrenching, inspirational—and until now unknown—true epics of World War II. Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, in her luminous, magisterial re-assembling of the lives of two Japanese brothers who found themselves on opposite sides of the great conflict, has helped shape and set the standard for a vital and necessary new genre: trans-Pacific literature. Her readers will want more.
— RON POWERS, Pulitzer Prize Winner and author of Mark Twain: A Life.
Midnight in Broad Daylight takes the reader back into World War II, into the life of Japanese American Harry Fukuhara, a brilliant bilingual interpreter in the U.S. Army. Riveting in its alternating American and Japanese perspectives, and a fresh look at the dropping of the atom bomb over Hiroshima, this story is inspirational as well as educational. A great addition to World War II literature.
— JEANNE WAKATSUKI HOUSTON, coauthor of Farewell to Manzanar
Midnight in Broad Daylight is a deeply moving, well-written work that ranks among the better accounts of the injuries inflicted in wartime on civilian and ethnic populations. Students of war crimes and crimes against humanity are sure to notice this book.
— HERBERT BIX, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
An intimately detailed look at the agony of a Japanese American family struggling to maintain American loyalty amid discrimination and war. . . . A richly textured narrative history. . . . A beautifully rendered work wrought with enormous care and sense of compassionate dignity.
— KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)
Sakamoto presents a gripping story of colorful individuals…Sakamoto draws on extensive interviews as well as a long acquaintance with her subject and his family to infuse the narrative with great poignancy.
This history is evocative of Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sister in scope but provides a richer look at the human costs of war. . . . Sakamoto succeeds in telling a new, compelling, and essential World War II narrative by presenting a story about family caught on both sides of history.
— LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)