Jonah Shibuya

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Revision as of 14:32, 15 July 2020 by BCMystery (talk | contribs) (Biography)
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Jonah Shibuya is a character in the Eden Pond Series.


Jonah is a close friend of Harry Pond, dating back to kindergarten at Garibaldi School. Jonah was also close with Eden, though their relationship is complicated.See Spoiler 1 Below

Jonah's grandparents immigrated from Japan to the Tillamook Bay in 1905 at the end of the Russo-Japanese War, bringing with them their two children, a son Eiji and a daughter Natsuko. The Shibuyas bought a farm on the Miami River northeast of Garibaldi. Because they were Japanese, they were not welcomed by the local dairy community or cheese making organizations, so they grew vegetables and alfalfa. In 1915, Jonah's father married another immigrant from Japan, Kaiya. Jonah was born in 1917, making him a second-generation Japanese-American, or Nisei.

Jonah's Aunt Natsuko returned to Japan to marry in 1920, taking her mother with her. While Jonah's grandmother planned only to stay in Japan for a short time, neither would ever return to the United States. Jonah had no memory of his aunt and grandmother, and knew them her only from occasional letters and a couple of photos.

His grandfather, Ichiro, died in 1925, at which time Jonah's father Eiji took over the farm. The property itself had been deeded to Jonah, as an American citizen by birth, in 1920 after the passage of the California Alien Land Law. Though Oregon wouldn't pass its own Alien Land Law until 1923, the Shibuya family could see the writing on the wall. Though Jonah was only three years old, he owned the Shibuya Farm through a trust managed first by his grandfather and then his father.

In May 1935 Jonah was denied access to the Garibaldi High School spring formal at the Fairview Grange Hall in Tillamook because he was of Japanese descent. Eden, who had gone with him as his date, refused to go even though she was told she would be allowed to participate in the event without Jonah.

Eiji Shibuya would die as the result of a family accident in August 1935 while Jonah was visiting family with his mother in Japan. Jonah returned to the U.S. to take over the farm, while his mother Kaiya remained in Japan. At the outbreak of World War II, Kaiya Shibuya was living in Hiroshima with Natsuko's family.

Jonah learned of Oregon Governor Sprague's order for all "enemy aliens" to register with the federal government in late January 1942. A few days later, he met with Merton in Garibaldi, at which time he offered to sell the farm to Merton for one dollar and the promise to look after his land and animals if he was taken away. The two completed the transaction without Eden's knowledge, though later Merton admitted that he'd agreed to "look after the farm" for Jonah. Jonah then went into hiding, not telling anyone where he was.

Vital Statistics

Date of Birth: 9 May 1917
Date of Death: —