Eyes of the Emperor is the fictional story of a young Japanese-American named Eddy, set during the time when probably the most significant World War II event for Japanese Americans happened, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The story goes on to describe Eddy’s experiences, focusing on how he was treated because of his race (his “eyes of the emperor”) after the bombing. Salisbury, the author, wrote this book with the intention of informing those who don’t know how about how Japanese-Americans were treated after Pearl Harbor, as well as to honor those who did fight in World War II, despite the reasons not to, and he does this very well. In fact, some characters and events in the book were actually based off of real life. As a result of this, there is not too much build up of suspense (relatively) in this book, which isn’t not to be expected of a historical fiction. As another result, no underlying messages from the author are at the risk of being missed with the slightest lapse of concentration. In other words, this book is a very light read.
Once again, Eyes of the Emperor is focused on the actual events that Eddy experienced themselves and has detailed descriptions of them as well as Eddy’s thoughts. Themes including racism and honor are present, but not the central focus. Something that stood out to me is the way that the Japanese characters talked, often leaving out small words, with touches of Hawaiian or Japanese showing up every now and again.
As far as audience that would enjoy this book, Most will think it is too easy, but I’d recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the injustices Japanese Americans faced during World War II, because everything in the book is based on things that did actually happen.