Summary and Analysis
Part IV Chapter 19: Two Hundred Silent Men
Aboard the ship, Louie is taunted and beaten by crew members. After three weeks, he and Phil are led off the ship to find they’ve been taken to Ofuna, a secret interrogation center for “high-value” prisoners of war. At Ofuna, Louie and 200 other prisoners are starved, tortured by guards and the medical officer nicknamed “The Quack,” interrogated, and kept in solitary confinement. Their captors gleefully tell of a “kill-all” order, which instructs that if the Allies come to Japan, the guards are to kill every prisoner before they can be rescued. Much to Louie’s surprise, he finds his old USC college buddy Jimmie Sasaki at Ofuna, working as an interrogator for the Japanese navy.
The reappearance of Jimmie Sasaki is meaningful because it happens in the context of Louie’s acclimation to the extreme, dehumanizing environment of a POW camp, a place where sadistic people like “The Quack” degrade Louie and his fellow POWs in obsessively cruel ways. At Ofuna, the sight of Jimmie Sasaki should be cause for hope, and Sasaki attempts to play the role of ally but is unconvincing. Instead, his presence is evidence of yet another betrayal to Louie. Sasaki has pretended friendship when actually he is an enemy. His betrayal is just one more hellish hardship for Louie to endure.