Miki's Mad
George Tanabe

ISBN: 978-1-944521-21-9, March 1, 2024
Softcover, 348 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in.

ISBN: 978-1-944521-22-6
Kindle Edition

Miki’s Mad tells the tragicomic story of how a Japanese immigrant at a sugar plantation in 1900s Hawaii made a fast fortune, not by working the fields, but by diving beneath social customs to mine the depths of love, greed, revenge, ambition, kindness, dreams and other human conditions.

On a steamship from Japan to Hawai‘i, Shuzo Taga meets Miki, a young woman who is going mad—angry, insane and wildly funny—but she, sustained by the spirit of a sardonic cat, enables him to turn their fantasies into cash.

This picaresque tale upends cultural stereotypes as our protagonist outsmarts everyone, including himself. 

This novel is also a love song to Waialua, on the north shore of O‘ahu. 

The Shady Side of Virtue
Japanese Transgressions in Early 20th Century Hawaii

While Miki's Mad portrays a charming but conniving protagonist, it should be remembered the honest and hardworking issei pioneers also had shadier sides to their lives invlolving adultery, moonshining, theft and prostitution. In 1901, for example, 93 percent of the known prostitutes in Honolulu were Japanese women under the control of a certain Masudo-san. Miki's Mad taps into this underside and portrays the adventures of lovable characters freely deploying guts and ingenuity as they search for better lives.