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Girl Reading A Book In Bed
Girl Reading A Book In Bed
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Culture > Entertainment

Review: “They Called Us Enemy”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kutztown chapter.

I have been a fan of “Star Trek: The Original Series” since high school. Aside from Spock and Doctor McCoy, Lt. Hikaru Sulu is also a favorite of mine. I always found the character of Sulu interesting and wanted to learn more about the actor who played him. That’s when I began to learn more about George Takei. 

Besides being an activist for the LGBTQ+ community (including marriage equality), he is also chairman emeritus at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Much of his adult life has been dedicated to the Japan-US friendship and showcasing Japanese American lives, especially the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. In 2015, “Allegiance,” the broadway musical showcasing the story of Japanese American internment, debuted. Takei’s most recent project about the Japanese American internment camps comes from his comic book, “They Called Us Enemy.” This book was written with the help of Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker. While these three people helped with the making and drawing of the book, the story is George Takei’s. 

The comic book starts off with five-year-old George Takei when his family is given the orders to leave their home to be taken to an internment camp. Throughout the comic book, readers are introduced to Takei’s family, the world he lived in before the internment camps, the different camps his family was sent to, and what they did when they were told to leave the camps at the end of WWII. 

The book is personal. Takei takes readers back into his childhood. He takes them into the fear and confusion of the war and the camps. While doing this, he also adds that he thought of the camps as a play area. At times, young Takei could see the worry in his parents eyes about their treatment within the country, despite the fact that his mother was born a US citizen. Yet, Takei does mention how his parents tried to make the camps seem like home. To a point, Takei admits that he found the camps to be home. He feared what the world outside the camps were like. Nevertheless, just as before, his parents worked to make their home back in LA just as much home as before. Takei follows up the end of the book discussing how he went into activism through watching his father’s understanding of politics. 


This book was one that I have been wanting to read since I heard it was out. It took hold of me quickly with its personalness. One of my favorite parts of the book was the relationship between Takei’s parents. Throughout the book, Takei’s father and mother continuously agree that, no matter what happens, they do it together. They hold onto each other and support each other. They comfort each other. Takei’s father was born in Japan while his mother was born in the US. She didn’t leave her husband in hopes of being treated differently. She even agreed to give up her US citizenship at one point, which meant that the whole family would have gone to Japan after the war. It is inspiring to see a relationship hold on despite all the suffering and hardships the family went through. 


I also liked the relationship between George and his father. His father, once George was a teenager, did not mind telling his son about the camps and how they were treated during the war. His father actually wanted George to know how their people were treated and how the US government had made a huge mistake. However, George’s father also told him, that despite that mistake, the US government was still the best government. The US government is the best because it can be changed by the thoughts of its people. This is one of the reasons that Takei went into activism; to make the change his father said he had the power to make.

In today’s political climate, where many people don’t think we can make a change, we must remember that we can. The Japanese Americans fought for an apology from the US government and got it. They got it late, but they got it. Women fought for the right to vote and got it. African Americans fought for civil rights and got it. Marriage equality was given after fighting for it. It might take time to get what we want from the government, but in the end, our fighting now will be well worth it in the future. 

Kaitlin McElroy

Kutztown '21

I am an English major with two minors (History, and Women's and Gender Studies). I love books, writing, and discovering new things.