abalone a tasty mollusk similar to scallops.
alien a resident of a foreign country whose status is determined by the government bureaucracy, which can deport undesirables without recourse to courts.
alluvial fan clay, sand, gravel, silt, and other debris deposited in a triangle where a stream pours from a gorge.
American Friends Service a Quaker charitable organization founded in 1917 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.
American Legion a confederation of honorably discharged wartime veterans. Founded in 1919, the group is comprised of more than 3,000,000 members.
banzai a Japanese interjection which serves as greeting, battle cry, or cheer and translates "May you live ten thousand years!"
Bismarck the "Bismarck stick" is a pun on Bismarck, North Dakota, site of the prison where Ko was incarcerated, and on Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), a Prussian statesman who unified Germany; he is remembered for his dandified airs as he brandished a swagger stick while he inspected troops.
bobbysoxer a typical American teen in the 40s.
Burma-Shave signs a uniquely successful advertising idea utilizing a series of small, unobtrusive roadside advertisements which formed a witty jingle.
catechism a specified list of questions and answers which teaches the principles of Catholicism.
Charlie Chaplin a popular silent movie comic of the 1920s and 1930s.
chignon a French twist, an arrangement that pulls hair sleekly to the side of the head and into a tight knot at the back.
Commodore Perry an American naval officer who opened Japan's ports to Westerners.
Ex Parte Endo the Latin designation of Mitsuo Endo's legal case.
Executive Order an edict resulting from the discretionary powers of the president, who, as commander in chief of the U.S. military, may legally suspend citizen rights during wartime in the interests of national security.
firebreak an artificial barrier or plowed strip that halts the spread of fire. Firebreaks were essential to wooden camps where barracks were built so close together that desert winds could easily spread fire.
Fujiyama a snow-capped mountain in Japan that resembles Mount Whitney, a large mountain overlooking Owens Valley, California.
geisha a Japanese woman trained to entertain men by engaging in pleasant conversation, singing, dancing, and playing stringed instruments. Geishas should not be confused with either waitresses or prostitutes. Their profession was highly respected and required punctilious training in grace, charm, and deportment.
goh a board game similar to chess.
grunion silver fish the size of sardines which swim ashore in high tide to spawn in wet sand at the full of the moon and are caught by hand or in a net.
habeas corpus a Latin phrase meaning "let you have the body," a basic concept upon which all other freedoms rest: that American citizens are exempt from illegal or capricious detention or imprisonment.
hana a card game played with Japanese cards which are decorated with hana, or flowers, rather than ace, king, queen, jack or spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs.
internment confinement as a method of assuring that no anti-American effort can be carried out by potential Japanese aggressors.
Jean Harlow a movie star and platinum blond sex symbol of the 1930s.
Jive Bombers a swing dance band named with a pun on dive bombers, reminiscent of the notorious kamikaze, or suicide bombers, who deliberately crashed planes onto the decks of American ships.
judo a technique of self-defense, using no weapons.
kabuki a popular, stylized Japanese theater performance featuring melodramatic colorful costumes, wigs, makeup, posturing, singing, and dancing.
kendo dueling with bamboo swords.
Kyushu Japan's deep south, the southernmost of the four major islands in the island chain.
Maryknoll the popular name for the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America.
Miya-jima an island twelve miles south of the city of Hiroshima.
The Native Sons of the Golden West a San Francisco-based men's fraternal order founded in 1875 and dedicated to preserving western history and landmarks.
Nereid in Greek mythology, a sea nymph.
Niigata a coastal city on the island of Honshu about 100 miles north of Tokyo.
Nippon Japanese for "Japan."
novena a nine-day Catholic devotional requiring intense prayer.
obsidian volcanic glass which holds a lethal edge and was prized by prehistoric weapon makers for arrowheads.
Okie an insulting nickname applied to midwestern farmers who were ruined in the 1930s by the Dust Bowl. These rural down-and-outers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, and surrounding areas packed their families and goods on tenuous antique vehicles and journeyed west to California to search out a better life for their dispossessed families. John Steinbeck immortalized the Joads, a fictional family of Okies bound for California, in The Grapes of Wrath, the source of a 1940 motion picture by the same name, starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad and Jane Darwell as Ma.
pagoda an Oriental temple shaped like a tower and topped with a whimsical roof with upturned corners.
Quonset huts a trademark name for drab, prefabricated shelters designed like long loaves of bread.
rescinded struck down.
saboteur Government officials fear that Japanese Americans will revive loyalties to Japan and hinder the United States' war effort through violent or destructive acts, such as blowing up dams or power plants or destroying planes or ships.
sake (sah' kee) Japanese rice wine.
samisen a three-string Japanese banjo.
Samurai a member of a warrior class one grade lower than nobility, whose ancestry dates to feudal Japan.
succulents fleshy, juice-filled plants, sometimes called "living stones."
swagger stick a metal-tipped baton carried by military officers as a symbol of authority.
tatami mats traditional woven straw mats used as area rugs.
Terminal Island a coastal ghetto extending from Long beach and dominated by French's and Van Camp's canneries. The outer edge of Terminal Island houses the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
this is usually just another form of invisibility that is, seeing the female body as a sex object rather than the outer representation of a human individual.
Ty Cobb A famed outfielder and base stealer for the Detroit Tigers from 1905 to 1926, he was the first baseball star honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Wakatsuki Ko Using her father's full name, the author illustrates the Oriental practice of placing the family name before the given name.
Wakatsuki-san the combination of a name and a respectful title — for example, Mr. Wakatsuki, sir.
yogores ruffians, or hooligans.