In 1941, racial tensions are rising toward Japanese-Americans in the California community where nine year-old Sachiko Kimura and her seventeen year-old brother, Nobu live. When Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, tensions erupt and Sachi witnesses three teenage boys taunting and beating her papa in a park. She especially remembers the colored boy with hazel eyes, Terrence Harris. When Nobu comes upon the scene, he cannot believe the boys he witnesses beating his father are his friends.
Unbeknownst to Sachi and Nobu, that morning, Terrence’s family received a telegram that his father was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Desperate to escape his pain, he leaves home and runs into two high school friends who convince him the only thing that will help is to “get a Jap.” When they find a Japanese man and beat him up, they do not know it is Nobu’s father.
In the months that follow, Terrence is convicted of manslaughter is sentenced to two years in prison. Sachi and Nobu are sent to an internment camp in Arkansas. Each will change during imprisonment. One will learn acceptance. One will remain in a prison of resentment. And one will seek a path to forgiveness.
Woven with themes of bigotry and betrayal, friendship and forgiveness, treachery and tradition, The Red Kimono takes place in California and Arkansas during World War II and sets a multi-cultural stage that contrasts the lives of those who can and cannot forgive.