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Kenzo Takahashi
Fictional Character
Days of Infamy
POD: March, 1941;
Relevant POD: December 7, 1941
Appearance(s): Both volumes
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: United States
Occupation: Fisherman
Parents: Jiro and Reiko Takahashi
Relatives: Hiroshi Takahashi (brother)

Kenzo "Ken" Takahashi was the younger son of Jiro Takahashi. Despite their Japanese heritage, Ken and his brother, Hiroshi saw themselves as American.

The family was aboard their fishing sampan, the Oshima Maru, when word came that the Imperial Japanese Navy had attacked Pearl Harbor. Hiroshi and Kenzo were horrified by the attack and by their father's expressions of pride and excitement at the attack.

The family continued to live life as normally as possible while Japanese forces invaded Oahu. Early in 1942, while the Takahasi men were fishing, Japan began bombing Honolulu to crush the American resistence. Hiroshi's mother, Reiko, was killed during the bombing. Her death proved to be another wedge between father and sons. Hiroshi and Kenzo blamed the Japanese for her death. Jiro blamed the Americans for not surrendering.

Despite the tensions, the Takahashis continued on with their lives. They were moved to a refugee camp and spent the duration of Japanese rule living in a tent. They continued to fish, both for food and for the trading value the fish had.

Prior to the invasion, Ken had begun a relationship with Elsie Sundberg, the daughter of a wealthy haole family. After the invasion, white Americans were hostile to Japanese generally, and Elsie initially joined their ranks. However, her attitude softened some when he gave her some fish from a day's catch. They began resumed their relationship cautiously, with her parents' approval. However, Kenzo found himself at odds with his father, who couldn't understand why Kenzo wasted his time with Elsie. Kenzo in turn was appalled by his father's decision to start broadcasting propaganda for the Japanese authorities.

Ken and Elsie's relationship continued to grow. In early 1943, Kenzo was able to keep a group of drunken Japanese soldiers from raping Elsie, although he received a beating. This act cemented his relationship with Elsie and her parents, who were grateful beyond words.

When the Americans retook Hawaii in 1943, Ken took shelter with the Sundbergs. After the Japanese retreated, Ken was taken into custody, despite the protests of the Sundbergs. Before he was taken away, Ken and Elsie professed their love.

Kenzo and his brother were both placed into military custody, until it was determined that they were no threat. Their father had fled to Japan early in the American return. The treatment the brothers received left Kenzo feeling betrayed by the United States.

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