One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia

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Student Question

In One Crazy Summer, what is Hirohita’s last name?

Quick answer:

Hirohita's last name is Woods. He comes from a mixed-race background, with one Black parent and one Japanese parent.

Expert Answers

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Hirohita's last name is Woods. He is introduced as an older student at the People's Center whose father had been arrested for the "crime" of speaking the truth.

Later, after the Gaither girls' mother is arrested, it is Hirohito and his mother who puts a roof over their heads. Delphine describes the life she experiences with the Woods family as nothing she has ever experienced before. There, she is encouraged to be a child and to go outside and play rather than prematurely shouldering responsibilities. A seminal moment comes when Hirohito convinces Delphine to take a ride on his go cart, and she truly experiences the exhilaration of childhood for the first time. For the first time in her memory, Delphine lets go of the responsibilities that come with being the oldest sibling in a troubled family.

Hirohito is biracial, having a Japanese mother and a black father. I would argue that it is Hirohito who shows us that despite having been a target of racism herself, Delphine is acutely aware of the differences between herself and Hirohito. By including Hirohito in the story, Williams-Garcia aptly makes the point that while skin color is always a complex issue, it is even more complex for those who are mixed race.

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