Author: Rick Noguchi and Deneen Jenks

Plot Summary: A story about Japanese internment, Flowers from Mariko tells the story of one girl, Mariko, and her family as they were taken away to camp during WWII. In the story, as the family prepares to leave, they entrust some of their valuable belongings to family friends, but upon their return, discover they have lost their possessions. The internment takes a mental, emotional, and physical toll on the family, but Mariko and her father find hope in gardening, both in the camp and upon returning home.

Posted In: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Discussion Questions:

Why was internment seen as a solution to the “problem” of Japanese in America?
Were the neighbors doing the right thing? The patriotic thing?
What is patriotism? How did Japanese Americans display or not display patriotism?
Did the neighbors violated Mariko’s family’s trust by not taking care of their car as promised? Was this a sort of betrayal?
What is a promise? Are humans capable of making promises?
Was it the responsibility of the neighbors to stay in one place until the family returned?
Can you identify an enemy of the nation based on a person’s ethnicity?
What does it mean to be patriotic? To be a friend?
Is it okay to lie to your enemy?
What role do intentions play in the ethics of helping or not helping others?
What does it mean to be American?
What does it mean to be Japanese American, African American, Caucasian American?
What does an American look like?

Contributed by Gobe Hirata