Under the Blood-Red Sun (2014) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • December 7, 1941 - On a Sunday morning, TOMIKAZU (TOMI) NAKAJI and his best friend BILLY DAVIS are playing baseball in a field near their homes in Hawaii when the Japanese launch a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. As Tomi looks up and recognizes the Blood-Red Sun emblem on the fighter planes, he knows that his life has changed forever. Soon, his father and grandfather, both Japanese Americans, are arrested and taken to internment camps. His mother loses her job because she is Japanese. Although Tomi feels frightened and ashamed of his native land, he is quickly forced to become the man of the family. "Under the Blood-Red Sun" is an unforgettable tale of courage, honor, survival and friendship.

  • A 13 yr old Japanese boy faces monumental adversity in 1941 Hawaii, when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Tomi Nakaji's idyllic world in paradise is forever changed when Japan launches a sneak attack against the US and all Japanese Americans are suddenly considered enemies of the state. Tomi's father, a fisherman, is arrested and taken to an internment camp, his partner is shot and killed. To make matters worse, the son of the wealthy caucasian family that employs and houses Tomi's family relentlessly bullies him. Tomi is torn between the strong Japanese cultural tradition of family honor and standing up for himself. This is a story of courage, honor, loyalty and friendship.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Hawaii, 1941. For thirteen-year-old Tomi (Kyler Ki Sakamoto) his world is idyllic, revolving around his close-knit family: Papa (Chris Tashima), a fisherman, and Mama (Autumn Ogawa), a housekeeper, along with his little sister Kimi (Mina Kohara), and Grampa (Dann Seki), who insists that the family is Japanese, not American. His best friend is Billy (Kalama Epstein). Both Tomi and Billy are the targets of bullying by mean-tempered Keet (Bryce Moore), who is older and carries a .22 rifle. There is little Tomi can do against Keet due to circumstance: Tomi's family lives on the Wilson property and they could be evicted at any time by Keet's father, Mr. Wilson (Tom Holowach).

    On the morning of December 7th, Tomi and Billy watch in terror as Pearl Harbor is bombed. The U.S. declares war on Japan. All Japanese people in Hawaii become suspect. Papa is arrested, his boat sunk. Sanji (Shiro Kawai), a family friend who worked on Papa's boat, is killed. An FBI agent (Howard Bishop) forces Tomi and Grampa to kill his father's prized racing pigeons. Keet had told the authorities of the birds, saying they could be carrying messages to the enemy. Later, the family hides all their possessions that are Japanese. Grampa takes his katana, a Samurai sword sacred to the Nakaji family, and hides it deep in the jungle.

    Tomi begins to experience prejudice from people who now look at his family differently, thinking they may have played a part in the Pearl Harbor attack. He is afraid that Billy will no longer be his friend, but Billy sticks by him. When they visit Sanji's widow, Reiko (Ming Kay Miyamoto), Billy gives her young daughter, Mari (Calli Amine), his most prized possession: a pair of binoculars that were a Christmas present from his father.

    A week goes by and Tomi soon learns that Papa is being held at Sand Island, a detention camp near Honolulu Harbor. Tomi risks his life, undertaking a dangerous swim to the island, to see his father. In a brief, secret visit, Papa tells Tomi to reassure Mama it will be okay. Then, Grampa is arrested. As he is being taken away, he tells Tomi to protect the katana. Family friend Charlie (Wil Kahele) is able to show Tomi where it is hidden, but when Tomi recovers the sword, he is caught by Keet, who tries to take it away at gunpoint. Tomi won't give it up, and stands up to Keet for the first time.

    Later, it is Keet's mother, Mrs. Wilson (Lisa Barnes), who provides help, by informing Tomi and his mother that Papa will soon be shipped off to an internment camp on the mainland. He and Mama decide they must try to see Papa. On the day that he is to depart, crowds have gathered downtown. Tomi sees Papa amongst prisoners being marched towards the harbor. He pushes through the crowd and reaches Papa, handing him his baseball and glove, and Mama's wedding portrait. Papa reassures Tomi that he will find a way back home, but until then, Tomi needs to look after the family.

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