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Just Because I'm Japanese

by btm1


One winter weekend in 1941,
I went on my boat to fish for fun.
Just to go away for a couple of days,
But something terrible happened
And I was done.

The Japanese had bombed the harbor,
I didn't know what that was.
I realized then what I had to do,
I had to burn all of my stuff.

I burned my flag like a cigarette,
I burned all my documents too.
I realized that I
Was a Japanese spy,
Going to be caught
By the FBI;
It was only a matter of time.

Two weeks later,
I got arrested
For delivering oil to Japan.
I couldn't believe I'm Japanese;
I was in a struggle for loyalty,
But I still had my dignity
Because I'm Japanese.

My time at Fort Lincoln destroyed me
And made me feel less of a man.
Emasculated, humiliated,
No power and no rights.
Just because I'm Japanese,
I had to pay the price.

When I arrived at the internment camp,
That's where I met my family.
I had a horrible time at the prison
And needed to regain my sanity.

Treated like animals,
And interned here like slaves,
I have limited freedom
And want to get away.
But I can't,
Just because I'm Japanese.


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121 Reviews


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Reviews: 121

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Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:47 pm
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WritingWolf wrote a review...



Hello btm1, Wolf here to give a quick review.
Well, I really don't see much to critique. So I guess it's just my opinions.

I think that this was done quite well. Everything portrayed in a simple way, that made it seem very eloquent.

It has a nice charm. I found the feel of this poem rather odd, but I liked it.

I don't think I really have anything else to say. Although I would like to give you a more useful review, I really just don't know what to say.

I enjoyed reading your work. :)

~WW



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btm1 says...


Yt


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btm1 says...


ty


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btm1 says...


ty



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7 Reviews


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Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:32 am
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ElizabethQueen wrote a review...



Was he actually a spy? That was a bit murky, I'm unsure if he just feels like he's a spy for a bad guy because of what the government is going to do to him or if he is actually a spy (in which case that particular probably wouldn't be persecuted JUST for being Japanese). But that's a really picky little detail.
Also, "Just Because I'm Japanese" sounds a little clunky; when you said "Because I'm Japanese," and dropped the just (at the end of the third stanza) the flow was smoother.
Finally, although the content was very powerful, at times the rhyme scheme got a little sing-songy and didn't seem to mesh with the content. It seemed a bit light and wishy-washy.

Overall, as it stands, it's a cool poem and I especially like the third stanza. It reads very much like a song (and instantly reminded me of Bob Dylan and politically charged songs We Didn't Start the Fire, and Fortunate (Favorite?) Son).



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btm1 says...


Thanks!


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btm1 says...


No, he wasn't actually a spy.



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33 Reviews


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Reviews: 33

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Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:11 am
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SkyeJane wrote a review...



Wow btm! This poem definitely has a powerful meaning.

When I read the first line I really didn't know where it would go,but after I read through a couple times it made sense that you used that line "just for fun" to stress how innocent and unaware the persona is of how harsh people could be towards Persons of a different culture,in this case the Japanese.

I don't particularly think that the statement "and I was done" fits too well here because it just seems a bit too bland. I'm sure there is something you can find to put in there...it doesn't have to rhyme..I actually think something non-rhyming would make it a bit more interesting because honestly,if you were locked in jail writing about how you got there you wouldn't be worrying about rhymes.

The rest of it though,is really great. Emotionally it made my jaw drop because I felt the impact of everything that you said.

The only nitpicking thing I have to mention is well,the rhymes..they just made it lose some of that impact. They made it seemed forced. I can tell you put a lot of very hard work into this poem and you should be proud of that. I think you need to work on getting your work to be a bit more flowing and effortless.
Skyexxx



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btm1 says...


Thanks!



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Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:42 am
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bandgeek101 wrote a review...



This was a great poem, it was ver unique and I liked that. You really put a lot of emotion into it, and that was good too. Really, the only thing you could work on is your rhythm and lines in each stanza. The second stanza doesn't seem t flow very well and the poem seemed to have an inconsistent rhythm. Unless you want a certain par to be choppy, try and make each stanza have the same amount of lines or at least the same sort of rhythm. Good job, though, this is definitely and exceptional poem worthy of being published.



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btm1 says...


Wow! I'm shocked! Thank you.



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Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:11 pm
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dark wrote a review...



I really see this poem as something very close to you. Maybe it is a true story? Or something that you came up with by looking into the Sea of Japan or while taking a stroll after finishing your work after school. I too am Japanese even though I live in far away from home.m I do like your creativity and talent. Keep it up.



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btm1 says...


No, I'm Chinese American. This poem was based on a book called "Farewell to Manzanar", and is written from the point of view of Papa, one of the characters. Never been out of the US before and I have no Japanese ancestry.


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btm1 says...


Thank you for liking my creativity! Actually, it is based on the book, which was based on a true story.



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Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:48 pm
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ScandalousPhoenix wrote a review...



'Ello Btm1,

ScandalousPhoenix here to edit your piece.

Overall, this was a good poem. It explained how it was to be a Japanese during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

But (there is always a but), the fluency wasn't as good as it could have been in some parts and I felt as if I was a bystander reading the poem. Like in this part here:

The Japanese had just bombed the harbor,
I didn't know what that was.
I then realized what I had to do,
I had to burn all of my stuff.

It feels a bit forced, the last two lines. Maybe rearrange the wording a bit to make it all connect.

Also, I didn't feel as if it was happening to me. The wording wasn't strong enough to pull me in, but I liked the ending.

"And needed to regain my sanity.

Treated like animals,
And interned here like slaves,
I have limited freedom
And want to get away,
But I can't;
Just because I'm Japanese."

But maybe for this, you could isolate the last to lines because it would give more power to the two lines.

All in all, this poem doesn't need any of this. This is just my personal opinion and it was fantastic as it is. But maybe if you want some input... (:

Peace! Keep Writing!



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btm1 says...


Thank you so much! I worked ery hard on this poem. It was actually for school.


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btm1 says...


*very




Obsessing over what you regret won't get you anywhere.
— Steggy