Written by Yoshito Wayne Osaki
Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Published by Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California 2010
The heartwarming essay that touched a community is now a new children’s book for all ages.
The true story about a boy and his dog and the friendship that they shared during the time of the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans during World War II.
It’s a story that my father never talked about for over sixty years. It’s a story about how a love of a dog never really ends and that life with all its trials and tribulations does come full circle.
– Paul Osaki
9 ¾” x 10 ¾”
Contact JCCCNC (415) 567-5505 Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California
My Dog Teny is a true story about a boy and his dog and the friendship that they shared. It’s a story that my father never talked about for over seventy years. It’s a story about how the love of a dog never really ends and that life with all its trials and tribulations does come full circle. In 1942, the United States government issued Executive Order 9066 which would force over 120,000 Japanese American men, women, children and elderly from their homes into the barren lands and deserts of America. They lived in tarpaper barracks surrounded by barbed wire and monitored by armed guards from watch towers for the duration of World War II. They were allowed to bring with them only what they could carry. Many valuable and beloved possessions were left behind, including thousands of pets of which many, if they could not find someone to adopt them, had to be abandoned.
In 1988, the United States government passed landmark legislation which issued a formal apology and redress to Japanese Americans as a result of the government’s actions during World War II. The legislation stated that the government’s decision was based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” My father decided to name his dog Teny, because he felt that his dog was a special dog which deserved a special name that probably no other dog had.
The love of a dog really is forever.
– Paul Osaki
Yoshito Wayne Osaki was born near Courtland, California in 1923 and attended a segregated public grammar school. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, his family was sent to Tule Lake concentration camp, where they stayed for the duration of World War II. Wayne’s camp experiences inspired his concern for civil rights and he wanted to help rebuild the Japanese American community after the war. He has been married to his wife Sally for over 50 years. He is a father of four sons, Glenn, Paul, Dean and Jon, a grandfather of three grandchildren: Shannon, Mika and Lee and has one dog named Teny.
“A heartwarming story of companionship, loss, and reconciliation. The human spirit can endure,
but never forgets. I love the book and the way it tangibly expresses and puts a face on the loss
the Japanese Americans went through during that period of our history.”
– Kristi Yamaguchi
Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater
“As one of the thousands of Japanese American children who were forcefully evacuated from our homes
and placed behind barbed wire fences during World War II, I understand the pain of having to leave
everything behind and take only what we could carry. My Dog Teny, beautifully illustrates not only
the loss we all felt but also the hope, joy and promise that a friendship with a dog can last forever.”
– The Honorable Norman Mineta
Presidential Secretary Cabinet Member for President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush
“In this beautiful book, Wayne Osaki tells the story of “Teny,” the dog he left behind when he and
his family, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans, were interned during World War II.
My Dog Teny is the perfect introduction to the internment because it shows the human dimension
of this chapter in our history. Wayne Osaki’s words and Felicia Hoshino’s illustrations allow us
to experience Wayne’s loss, his emptiness and, later, his joy in our own hearts. This tender, poignant
story will touch everyone – the young and the young at heart.”
– Patrick Hayashi
Associate President Emeritus, University of California