by Mako Yoshikawa
The Ohio State University Press, 2024
Paper: 978-0-8142-5893-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8142-8320-2
Library of Congress Classification PS3575.O645Z46 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54

Mako Yoshikawa’s father, Shoichi, was a man of contradictions. He grew up fabulously wealthy in prewar Japan but spent his final years living in squalor; he was a proper Japanese man who craved society’s approval yet cross-dressed; he was a brilliant Princeton University physicist and renowned nuclear fusion researcher, yet his career withered as his severe bipolar disorder tightened its grip. And despite his generosity and charisma, he was often violent and cruel toward those closest to him. Yoshikawa adored him, feared him, and eventually cut him out of her life, but after he died, she was driven to try to understand this extraordinarily complex man. In Secrets of the Sun, her search takes her through everything from the Asian American experience of racism to her father’s dedication to fusion energy research, from mental illness to the treatment of women in Japan, and more. Yoshikawa gradually discovers a life filled with secrets, searching until someone from her father’s past at last provides the missing piece in her knowledge: the story of his childhood. Secrets of the Sun is about a daughter’s mission to uncover her father’s secrets and to find closure in the shadow of genius, mental illness, and violence.

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