Under the Blood-Red Sun


Graham Salisbury

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. What do Tomi and his friends have in common?
  2. How are they different?
  3. How can people who are so different be bound like brothers and sisters?
  4. How is Keet dangerous to Tomi and his family?
  5. What does the katana, the samurai sword, represent for Tomi's family?
  6. What makes Tomi finally understand the meaning of the sword?
  7. The Nakaji family has to take many precautions to protect themselves, like observing blackout rules. They hang blankets over the windows at night in case of an air raid. What other things they do for protection?
  8. What do Billy and Sanki learn about each other on the fishing trip?
  9. What gives Tomi and his mother the strength to deal with the prejudice that other American people show toward the Japanese-Americans?
  10. At what point does he bring honor to his family and earn the right to own the sword?
  11. Do you think his grandfather would have felt that Tomi was worthy of the sword?
  12. What did you know about Pearl Harbor before reading this novel? What did you learn from thsi book?
  13. Is Tomi brave or foolish for swimming to Sand Island? Why did he do it?
  14. Billy says that power is the "freedom to make our own choices." Do you agree? What is power to you? What is freedom to you?
  15. Do you feel hopeful for Tomi at the end of the novel?


Try some of the Japanese food that Tomi and his family eats: Musubi, sticky rice wrapped in seaweed, Ume, red pickled plum, Tamagoyaki, grilled egg.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.