Journey Home
Yoshiko Uchida

This suggested script is taken from chapter 10, in which the Sakane family hears the news that the war is over at last.

SUGGESTED STAGING:
The narrator stands at a lectern. Yuki, Emi, Uncle Oka, and Mrs. Jamieson sit on chairs.

NARRATOR'S OPENING LINES:
We shall present a scene from Yoshiko Uchida's Journey Home. The characters are Yuki, a young Japanese-American girl, read by ; her concentration camp friend, Emi, read by ________ Uncle Oka, who emigrated from Japan long ago as a young man, read by ________; and Mrs. Jamieson, former neighbor and close family friend, read by ________. I, ________, am the narrator.

Although the Sakanes were thrilled to hear that they could return to their home in California after the exclusion order against the Japanese on the West Coast was lifted, the many changes that met them made life uncomfortable and difficult. Yuki's mother, a poet, worked cleaning house for a wealthy white family; and her father, formerly in charge of a large shipping company but now considered an "enemy alien on parole," had trouble finding a job at all. At last he was hired as a lowly clerk, and the entire family put up with the lack of privacy living in a hostel for returning Japanese. As the scene opens, the family longs for the war to end, so that life can return to normal. Yuki and Emi are listening to the radio when they hear the news that Japan has surrendered after the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

SCRIPTING SUGGESTIONS:

    1. Begin with Yoki and Emi shouting together that Japan has surrendered.

    2. Throughout the script include instructions to tell the readers what voice or facial expressions to use, such as happily, sadly, angrily.

    3. Uncle Oka should speak quietly and sadly, in contrast to the girls' excited voices. Combine his speeches about when he was small and the one in which he feels no one wins a war.

    4. After Uncle Oka says that nobody wins in a war, continue with Mrs. Jamieson's speech about baking a cake, from what is actually the next scene. In this Way, her asking what she can say seems to be a response to Uncle Oka's saying that nobody Wins in war.

    5. Continue the dialogue as written.

    6. End the scene with Mrs. Jamieson's pronouncement that it is time a lot of things were changed and that she is going to write to the president.

NARRATOR'S CLOSING LINES:
The end of the war brings many changes to the Sakanes' lives: a move into an apartment over their own store, and the return of Yuki's brother Ken, wounded from fighting for a country that put him behind barbed wire. But Yuki holds off celebrating until she is "really home", back in her old house, with everything the same as it was before the war and the concentration camp that disrupted all their lives. Only when Ken comes to terms with the cause of his despair does Yuki discover that her journey is complete.

More Information on Readers Theater


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