Kira-Kira Characters
by Cynthia Kadohata

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Kira-Kira Characters

(Literary Newsmakers for Students)

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Joe-John Abondondalarama

Joe-John Abondondalarama is a figment of Katie's imagination. He is her idea of a perfect boyfriend; she often daydreams about how they will meet and the kind of life they will have with their seven children. Amber and Lynn laugh when she tells them about Joe-John, so she pretends that she is just kidding.

Amber

Amber is Lynn's best friend. She introduces Lynn to an American lifestyle, as well as to her ideas about how girls should behave and how they should interact with boys. Lynn spent all of her time with Katie when she was younger; Amber represents a new phase in Lynn's life as she is finally accepted by her American peers. Katie does not like Amber and sees her as competition for her sister's attention. She also thinks that Amber is frivolous and only cares about boys and looking grown-up. Eventually, Amber drops Lynn as a friend when Lynn becomes sick.

Auntie Fumi

Auntie Fumi is Uncle Katsuhisa's wife and Katie's aunt. She is described as a round and loving woman who comforts Katie when she is troubled. She often defends Katie when Uncle Katsuhisa treats her with harsh impatience. Auntie Fumi and Uncle Katsuhisa come over and play board games with Katie and Sammy when their parents are tending to Lynn in the hospital.

Hank Garvin

Hank Garvin takes Sammy Takeshima to the hospital when his foot gets caught in an animal trap on Mr. Lyndon's property. This is Katie's first encounter with a white man who shows a genuine desire to help her or her family. She is also infatuated with him, despite their age difference. Katie's parents are grateful that he was able to help Sammy, Katie, and Lynn; they give him a watch to thank him for his kindness. He attends Lynn's funeral with his wife.

Jedda-Boy

Jedda-Boy is Uncle Katsuhisa's friend, a land surveyor who goes camping with the family. He represents what Uncle Katsuhisa wants professionally, but is barred from having because of his race.

Uncle Katsuhisa

Uncle Katsuhisa is Mr. Takeshima's brother, and uncle to Katie, Lynn, and Sammy. He is boisterous and very active, whereas Katie's father is a quiet thinker. Katsu is the Japanese word for "triumph," a word that describes Uncle Katsuhisa well. It is Uncle Katsuhisa who secures employment for his brother and sister-in-law at the hatchery in Georgia when the Takeshimas' Asian grocery store fails in Iowa. He drives his dilapidated truck to Iowa to help them move, entertaining Lynn and Katie on the drive with silly songs about their names. Although he is happy and economically stable, he has always wanted to survey land instead of working at a hatchery. He feels no one will hire him as a surveyor because he is Japanese. Although he appears rough he is very caring and loving toward all the Takeshima children; he is a source of fun for them because he always takes them and his own family camping. After Lynn dies, he helps Katie confront her grief and build an altar to honor her sister.

Mrs. Kanagawa

Mrs. Kanagawa is the neighbor who watches the neighborhood children while their parents work. She lives in the same apartment complex as the Takeshimas in Chesterfield, Georgia.

Silly Kilgore

Sylvia Kilgore, who goes by Silly, is Katie's only friend. They meet in the parking lot of the processing plant where Katie's mother works. Silly works at the plant doing the morning laundry. Silly approaches Katie while she sits in the car; their first conversation takes place through the rolled-down window. Silly's mother supports the unionization of the processing plant workers, and Katie's mother tells her to stay away from Silly. Eventually they become good friends and Silly goes camping with the family. It is at Silly's mother's union meeting that Katie's mother decides to join the union.

Mr. Lyndon

Mr. Lyndon is the wealthy owner of the chicken hatchery and poultry business where Katie's parents work. He is one of the richest men in Georgia and lives in a former plantation mansion. He hires anti-union thugs to intimidate his employees and...

(The entire section is 1,509 words.)