Under The Blood-Red Sun

Project by Allen De Sagun


If you could possibly turn back time to a different time period, where would you travel? Would you have gone to the age of dinosaurs, or where the American colonies had begun to rebel against England? Would you possibly have gone to the the Roaring 20s, or more towards the age in which technology was first being created? In the story Under the Blood-Red Sun, written by Graham Salisbury, a Japanese boy named Tomikazu Nakaji lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. When ashamed of his own culture, the situation escalates downward when Japan decides to bomb Pearl Harbor. As the days pass by, Tomi's father is taken away, and Tomi would have to take the responsibility of being the man in his family.


Pearl Harbor Bombing

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Plot Chart


Place and Time

The story mainly takes place in Honolulu, Hawaii. The locations within the story vary, from a school yard to play baseball, to a small Japanese house filled with conflict. Whether land or sea, it always reverts back to the main city of Honolulu, which had been crawling with immigrants and eventual conflicts that will abruptly begin to rise upwards. The time period was during World War II, 1941.

Main Characters

Tomikazu Nakaji {Tomi} - The main character of the story. He is a thirteen year old Japanese boy, who mainly prefers the American culture over his own. He has shaggy black hair, tanned skin, and usually wearing baggy clothing. Unlike most of his family, he gets the fact that they are living in America, and no longer Japanese citizens.

Billy Davis - Tomi's best friend. Billy is a white person, which is emphasized throughout the story. Since he is white, Tomi's family sometimes does not trust him, since "whites" were considered bad luck at the time. Of course, this did not stop Tomi and Billy from hanging out and being the best of friends.

Grandpa Joji - Tomi's strict grandfather. The conflict mainly revolves between Tomi and Grandpa Joji, due to the fact Grandpa Joji constantly talks about Japan, which sparks a hint of hatred within Tomi. Grandpa Joji is very superstitious, and sometimes acts like he does not care about most of the things that are going on. He is one of the few characters who undergo a drastic change throughout the story.

Papa - Tomi's father who came to America to escape poverty. He works as a Japanese fisherman to help provide for the Nakaji family. He was in an arranged marriage with Tomi's mother when she first came to America, since the original groom did not show up at the harbor.

Mama - Tomi's mother who came to America to escape poverty. She took a gamble when coming to the U.S., due to the fact that she needed to escape poverty. When coming to the U.S., she expected to be wed off to a Japanese man that would be waiting at the harbor, like most Japanese women were at the time of poverty. Instead, the man wasn't there, and instead of going back to Japan and wasting her time, she was married off to "Papa," who took her in because of pity.

Secondary Characters

Kimi - Tomi's little sister. She does not appear in the story much, but she is depicted as a four year old Japanese girl. Usually, she is clueless and frightened about most events that occur in the story, yet interested. She gets along with Tomi very well for siblings. Kimi is mainly inside the house for the duration of the whole story.

Sanji - Papa's fishing partner. Sanji is younger than Papa, only being nineteen. Sanji is a new at fishing, and Papa was like his mentor. Sanji was present when Papa was being taken away, since they were mistaken as Japanese infiltrators. He died towards the middle of the story, due to Papa's ship being shot down by American soldiers, thus making him drown in the waters.

Mr. Davis - Billy's father. Not much is told about him in the story, and he is rarely present. If he was present in the story, that would be when he needed to pick up Billy, or when Billy is comparing his father to Tomi's father. Otherwise than those two reasons, he is more of a secondary character to fill in some blanks.

Mrs. Davis - Billy's mother. Not much is told about her in the story, and she rarely is present. If she was present in the story, that would be when she needed Billy for something, or if she needed to pick him up and bring him back home.

Jake - Billy's sibling. Not much is told about him the story, and he rarely shows up in the text. When the readers learn about Jake, it is usually when Billy is complaining about him, or talking about a situation that they both were in earlier on. Billy and Jake don't get along very well, and whether or not Jake is the older or younger sibling is not stated.

Keet - Enemy of Tomi. Although being the enemy of Tomi, he rarely shows up within the story, only on occasion when schools had previously been open. He use to be friends with Tomi, but due to uprising arguments and issues, their friendship was split. His race isn't described in the story, but it is assumed he is white. In Tomi's neighborhood, Keet is considered to be the bully.

Mr. Wilson - Keet's father. Mr. Wilson is a hateful main who lives next door to the Nakaji family. He thinks Japanese traditions are "weird," and he is very spiteful towards the Nakaji family, especially towards Grandpa Joji. There are many arguments brawling between both Grandpa Joji and Mr. Wilson, and this worsens after the Pearl Harbor Bombing.


Towards the beginning of the story, the mood is more lighthearted, since everything is quite peaceful before the war had begun. There are jokes thrown around, games played, and events that are important to building up the main conflict within the story. The characters aid the mood into a sort of happy-go-lucky beginning, making the story evolve into something complex.

Point of View

The story is told by Tomikazu Nakaji, a thirteen year old Japanese boy. This affects the story because through a teenager's eyes, everything would have been more comedic, compared to an adult's point of view. Since it is in first person, the readers don't know specific information about the other character's thoughts, and their reasoning unless told through dialogue.

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Rising Action


The main protagonists of the story include both Tomi and Billy. Both characters are children, which justifies the fact that they do not make a huge impact on the war. Yet, overall, they are considered the "good" characters of the story, as foretold by Tomi.


The main antagonists of the story include Grandpa Joji, who eventually evolves into a neutral character, and Imperial Japan. Grandpa Joji sparks embarrassment and anger towards Tomi, since Grandpa Joji still considers himself to be a Japanese citizen. In the meanwhile, Tomi considers himself as a proud American citizen. Due to Tomi's justifications on his heritage, conflict is always spewing between the two characters. Of course, Imperial Japan is quite the issue, due to the attack on Pearl Harbor.


The main conflict that is presented throughout the story is Tomi always manages to disagree with his own culture. Whether it would be seeing the Japanese flag raised by his grandfather, to his friends checking up on him when they hear about the bombing. Throughout the story, this constantly worsens as each events furthers, whether it would be with the whites, or Tomi's own family.


During the rising action sequence, the mood gets more tense as for more planes begin to show up flying overhead. There are also questionings about the war, and if the war could possibly come to America. There are still happy moments, in which jokes and adventures are thrown around constantly, but what comes next is a surprise to all of the characters.

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Highest Point of Tension

The climax of the story is when the Japanese bomb pearl harbor, resulting in catastrophic events. At first, the characters in the story did not know this occurred, but when Tomi sees a newspaper with "The Japanese Bombs Pearl Harbor," he knows something is wrong. People begin to be prejudice against them, judging them because of their appearance. Tomi had begun to feel more ashamed of his own culture once more.

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Falling Action

Conflict Outcome and Resulting Events

The conflict is not resolved, or in the process of being resolved. Tomi now has too many things of his plate since his father was taken away to a U.S. concentration camp. Tomi now has to worry about his own culture, the safety of his family and friends, and his father. Along the way, Tomi had begun to learn some lessons about himself while trying to find his father and reunite him with the family.


Final Outcome

In the end, Tomi is aware of his own heritage by the adventures and the things his family had said to him. With that experience comes with a cost, due to his father still not brought back to their small Japanese home. Tomi has to continue living without his father by his side, and the prejudice opinions that are constantly tossed at him while walking down the street with his mother. No longer did everyone see Tomi as an "average" boy, they identified him as a "Japanese boy."

Story's Meaning/Theme

The theme the author is trying to emit is that whatever obstacle is thrown at someone, they can always get through it with perseverance and the help of the others around them. This is the theme because throughout the story, Tomi is constantly pushed upwards by his friends, who make them feel better about the situation that they're in. Whether it be taking care of his family, or doing brave acts, there is always support along the way.

Author's Purpose

The author's purpose for creating Under the Blood Red Sun is that he wants to inform the reader on how difficult life was back then during WWII, especially for Japanese people. This reasoning is because since Tomi is constantly facing challenges that easily represent the actions of a Japanese boy back in WWII. Since most readers weren't alive during the time period, it is easy to understand that this certain book would help inform the readers.


Flashbacks/Flash Forwards

There are no flashbacks or flash forwards presented in the story.


Surprisingly, the author does not use foreshadowing in Under the Blood Red Sun.


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