In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live with her aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco.
Book Passage San Francisco | 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111 | (415) 835-1020
Store Hours: MON-FRI 9-7pm | SAT 8-6pm | SUN 10-6pm
There she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom, but the two are cruelly separated by the consequences of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans, are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government.
Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly Alma and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion. Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the impact of fate on our lives.