Speaking over the radio for the first time in 1945, Emperor Hirohito delivered a momentous speech now referred to as “The Voice of the Crane.” He not only surrendered, he publicly renounced his divinity. Both acts were dictated by Americans. It was a deeply significant moment in Japanese history, and one that marked the end of the war and eventually, the end of its painful ruptures. Culturally, the crane stood for authority; the Emperor’s renunciation of an ideal Japan signaled the definitive end of an era. Otsuka’s novel takes us through the final phase of the Emperor’s divinity in the United States, where the devastation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor impelled Americans to declare war and “exclude” Americans of Japanese birth or ancestry from the general population. Separated from their own leader and from their home and livelihood by the FBI and the War Relocation Authority, Otsuka’s family negotiate the terms of their internment and examine their own American and Japanese identities.