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Chester Nakayama is the main character of the second season of The Terror, known as The Terror: Infamy. He is portrayed by Derek Mio. His adoptive father is Henry Nakayama and his adoptive mother is Asako Nakayama. He was born as Taizo Tanabe to Yuko Tanabe and a soldier of unknown name and had a twin brother from whom he was separated at birth, Jirou Tanabe. His adoptive grandfather is Nobuhiro Yamato, also known as Yamato-san.[2] He was sometimes known by the nickname "Chet."

He had twins by his girlfriend, Luz Ojeda, Enrique and Hikaru Nakayama, who were stillborn. The two later married and had another child, Henry Nakayama II.

History[]

Birth and adoption[]

Yuko, trying and failing to feed baby Taizo

He was conceived by Yuko Tanabe and a soldier of unknown name, who died, most likely towards the end of World War I. His mother was to marry Hideo Furuya as a picture bride, but Hideo tossed her out upon learning of her pregnancy, leaving her homeless. Afterwards, she lived on the streets of Los Angeles, eventually giving birth to him and his twin Jirou Tanabe on April 6, 1920 and naming him "Taizo." She was barely able to care for him or even herself, and eventually, realizing the hopelessness of the situation, turned him over to Sister Agatha, a nun at a local orphanage. She then committed suicide, but upon finding herself in a "paradise" overseen by a woman named Chiyo, realized that she had made a terrible mistake. Meanwhile, Chester was adopted by her sister, Asako, who had originally been promised to HIdeo, but who arrange things so that she would marry Henry Nakayama instead. She was still in Japan upon hearing of her sister's death and came over to see to it that Chester wouldn't be raised in an orphanage. Eventually, Yuko Tanabe rose from her own grave as undead spirit, a yurei, determined to be reunited with her son. ("Taizo," "My Perfect World")

Family matters[]

Following the suicide of Masayo Furuya, he attends her funeral. Afterwards, the group assembles outside for a group photo, taken by him. He witnesses a stiff wind blowing over her casket, exposing her corpse. The event is described by his adoptive mother as an ill omen, a spirit that followed them across the sea from Japan.

That morning, he is with his adoptive father Henry on Henry's fishing boat, the Taro. His grandfather, Yamato-san, states that there was a Bakemono at the funeral. Chester says that he thought they left the old country stuff behind in Japan, wondering why a Bakemono would bother with them. His father then deals with a man, Stan Grichuk, who tells him that there's too much byproduct in his catch, offering him half of his usual price. Chester tells him that they'll do the sorting themselves if needed, but he'll pay them the usual price. Henry, unimpressed with his intervention, tells him that he should learn to fish if he wants to be a captain.

As he and his father head home in his father's Packard, they encounter a local naval officer named Marlon that Chester is friendly with. He tells Chester that he got the tickets and Chester explains that they're taking Walt Yoshida to see the film Down Mexico Way. Henry tells Marlon to keep his son away from the naval station; that they see someone Japanese and they don't know who to shoot.

He recalls a passionate night with his girlfriend, Luz Ojeda, and in the present the two have a meeting on a bench outside. They discuss a mixture he received from Furuya, which if she takes, will apparently induce an abortion. They agree that after this is done, they'll go their separate ways: she'll become a nursing student and he'll travel the world and take photographs. Later that night, he develops the photographs he took at the funeral, only to find that the face of one the individuals is strangely blurred. Afterwards, at dinner, he gets into an argument with his family, who does not agree with his desire to become a photographer, feeling that he should remain with them on Terminal Island. His mother tells him that he can't get anywhere without family, and in response he makes a dark reference to Mrs. Furuya.

The reference becomes clear as he is out walking with Amy Yoshida, as she talks of how Mrs. Furuya's husband would get drunk and beat her, forget he had done so, see the bruises and then beat her again, thinking that she was stepping out. She asks if he had seen Mrs. Furuya recently or knows why she might have committed suicide, but he lies and says that he hasn't. Later, he confronts his father after learning that he turned over the keys to the Packard to Stan Grichuk, who threatened him after he lost his job. He tells him to be a man, but Henry tells him a story of his own father in Japan, telling him not to tell him how to be a man.

Chester attends the bachelor party of Walt Yoshida, the event that's actually happening instead of them going to see Down Mexico Way. All of the rest of the guys partake of the services being offered, but he abstains due to his girlfriend. Then a woman, Yuko Tanabe appears, saying that she was asked to serve him tea. She offers to read his tea leaves and he takes her up on it. She tells him that he is two people, a "sparrow in a swallow's nest," and that the swallows will peck him to death when he believes he is safe. She also, however, tells him that a perfect world lies ahead for him, if he looks within himself.

Acting on Tanabe's words, Chester takes the Packard back from Grichuk in the dead of night and goes to visit Luz Ojeda. He tells her not to take the herbs, saying that what they've been through together is a sign. He suggests that they run off together and they have their own acre - just him, her and the baby. She, however, tells him that he'll think better in the morning. They don't have any money, any friends who could help with them with this, and there's no future for them together. He asks if she's still planning to take the herbs, but she's not sure.

Chester in his darkroom

That night, Grichuk attempts to burn down the Taro, only to be attacked by the same malevolent spirit which caused Mrs. Furuya to commit suicide, and drowns in the harbor. Chester and Henry discover his corpse in the water the next morning and are taken to the naval station for questioning. Before they can be questioned, however, an air raid siren sounds and they are allowed to evacuate. That night, the news comes in that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In his darkroom, Chester develops a photo he took of Tanabe, only to find that it is strangely blurred. Hearing a commotion upstairs, he heads up to find that outside his father is being arrested under suspicion of being a Japanese spy. As he is being led into a van, he urges Chester to fight for his country. ("A Sparrow in a Swallow’s Nest")

Matters of war[]

A little less than three months later, on February 27, 1942, Chester and the other Japanese American residents of Terminal Island are ordered off the island following Executive Order 9066. Chester protests the order to Marlon, speaking of how they used to drink together at Wada's, but Marlon ignores the plea, telling that everyone has to be out by nightfall. He also warns him that he has to confiscate anything that might be considered "spy equipment," such as a flashlight, camera, or radio. He asks Marlon if he knows anything about what happened to his father, but he tells him that he's better off wherever he is.

As the group prepares to leave, he tells the Yoshida family that they have room for their stuff in their car. Walt suggests that if they're headed to L.A., he might see Luz again, but Chester tells him that it's over between them. In L.A., Chester visits the college where he had been taking photography classes and meets with his professor, Professor Henkoff. Henkoff asks him if he's dropped out, saying that he hasn't seen him since the Pearl Harbor attacks. Chester tells him that he's brought back the enlarger that he borrowed, and asks for his opinion on the strangely blurred photographs that he's taken. Examining them, Henkoff replies that his old professor would say that it's a combination of a slow shutter and shaky hand, while his Jewish mother would say that he's taking pictures of things that he shouldn't. Asked for his own opinion, he tells Chester that a photograph reflects the photographer's relationship with the world around him, so it's no surprise that Chester's are somewhat disturbed.

Chester spots Luz outside the office and goes to talk with her. When she shows him that she's still pregnant, they find an empty room to talk together. He asks why she didn't take the herbs, and she explains how her own mother died during childbirth. She shows him a necklace with an eye inside that she feels represents her mother always watching over her and that she wants to live up to her sacrifice. She feels that nothing is an accident, that there's always someone, watching, judging, and punishing. She asks him if he has a job or a place for her to stay yet. Knowing the answer, she tells him that she's gotten a job at St. Jerome Orphanage, where she will raise the baby until she can find somewhere better. It's not much, but it's a plan.

At the hotel where he and his family are staying, Chester hears footsteps outside. It's Yuko Tanabe, but when he leaves the room, he hears nothing and see nobody. He pays a visit to the brothel where Walt Yoshida's bachelor party was held and asks the manager Miss Antoinette about Tanabe, only for her to tell him that she hasn't had a Japanese girl work for her years. That morning, Chester finds that there are new instructions ordering the Japanese Americans to report to a horse-racing track, Hidden Gate Farms. They can only take two suitcases each, so he recommends to his mother that they pack only essentials and sell off everything else that they don't need. As he tells her that they'll be fine, she says that she wishes his father could see him, that he's becoming a man.

When the group arrives at Hidden Gate Farms, Chester spots a number of children. When he asks a soldier where their parents are, he's told that they're from St. Jerome. Realizing what is happening, he shares the truth of his romance with Luz with his mother. Asked why he told her this now, he explains that he has to help her, that they're taking Japanese children. He leaves and goes to find Luz at the orphanage, where Luz already has some idea of what is going on, having witnessed the children being taken. When he tells her that they need to get out of state, she replies that it's not the time for a romantic gesture, but he has a plan. They go to visit Professor Henkoff.

Chester and Luz in Professor Henkoff's home

Henkoff takes them into his home, offering them a place to stay for the time being until they can work out a plan. Chester tells him that they need someplace where he can get a job and where Luz can get medical care. Luz suggests New Mexico and Henkoff offers to make some calls. As they settle in for the night, Chester offers to sleep on the floor while Luz takes the bed. Before they can complete the thought, however, there's shouting at the door. It's the FBI, come to take Chester back. They tell Luz that she can stay, as they're only concerned with Japanese. They leave with Chester, but Luz runs out after them, telling that if it's Japanese that they want to take her too, as she's carrying Chester's baby.

Chester and Luz arrive at the Hidden Gate Farms, where Asako is in a horse stable with Toshiro Furuya, the son of Hideo Furuya. He introduces Luz and Asako replies that she wishes she had a proper home to welcome her to. Later, Walt asks Chester about his bringing Luz there, and he tells him that she brought herself. Chester asks him if he ever feels like he's being watched, and he quips that he naturally does, being a Japanese guy in the middle of a war with Japan. Just then, Walt's father Wilson, having seen Yuko Tanabe, runs up to Chester, telling him that he needs to leave. Before he can explain, however, his eyes go funny and he becomes possessed. He picks up a rifle and approaches a group of American soldiers, aiming it at them. Everyone yells for him to stop, but he doesn't and they shoot him. As he lays dying, he again begs Chester to go. Watching, Yuko cracks her neck and blood streams down from her face.

Chester visits Amy and asks if she needs anything. He sits with her, but her mother Fumi begs him to go. Walt asks him what what it is that his father saw that made him tell him to leave. Fumi replies that there is evil around Chester and he must leave before more misfortune befalls them. The next morning, the group boards a bus for their new home, the Colinas de Oro War Relocation Center internment camp. ("All the Demons Are Still in Hell")

Internment[]

In May 1942, the residents of Colinas de Oros watch an old western film with John Wayne, with the voices dubbed over in Japanese by a group of the residents. Chester, however, hears a voice that he shouldn't, the deceased Wilson Yoshida telling him "Chester, you have to go." On-screen, he sees Wilson being shot dead. He goes outside and takes a pee, using one of the watch-stations set up in the camp. That night, he has trouble getting to sleep because of the bright searchlight from the camp's watchtower.

The next morning, he snaps several photos, including children playing, and one of a flock of swallows. He is visited by his girlfriend, Luz, and mentions that he didn't see her at breakfast. She tells him that it's easier for her to eat in the barracks, as she's still having a hard time with the other women there. They talk about her wearing one of his shirts as she has nothing else. He tells her that it'll be two months tops until they can get out of there, and then he can get her something better.

He asks Walt if the birds he's seeing are swallows, but Walt doesn't have any knowledge of birds. They are approached by a Major Bowen, the chief of the camp, who tells them to build him a nice solid fence for him. They meet Ken Uehara, who has just recently moved to the camp from San Francisco. They see a group of nisei putting up posters offering the opportunity to join the war effort as translators. Chester thinks this rich, considering what's been done to them, and says that there's no way he would sign up after they put them somewhere like this.

That night, Chester's father Henry and grandfather Yamato-san, who had been sent to a prison camp, are brought to the internment camp. While everyone is happy for the reunion, Henry is heavily burdened by his experience and his feet are heavily frostbitten. That night, the light of the watchtower pains Henry. Chester, having had enough, scales the tower and smashes out the light in a fit of rage.

Chester tries to introduce his father to Luz, who brought him a tub of warm water to soak his feet. Henry, however, smacks the tub away, demanding to know how Chester can trust Luz. Later, in the mess hall, Chester and the others get to know Ken Uehara better, inviting him to lunch. They are all witness to a bizarre incident as Hideo bursts in, looking for his son. When he find him, he tries to strangle him to death muttering "the swallows, the swallows" the whole time. Several soldiers try to stop him, but it is ultimately only with Chester's help that they are able to pull him away. He is then taken to the stockades. That night, Chester enters the stockade, giving Hideo a gift of homemade saké. Hideo tells him that it wasn't him that strangled his son, that there was something possessing him. Then, in Wilson's voice, he tells him that he has to go.

He discusses the matter with Walt, who doesn't buy it and thinks that Hideo simply cracked up like his own father. Chester, however, isn't so sure. He asks Walt if Wilson had told them both that they needed to go, but Walt clearly recalls it as "Chester, you have to go." They approach the girls' barracks, where Chester is trying to find Luz, only to be told that she's at the infirmary. He finds her there, and she explains that she had a fall and that the doctor there only gave her a band-aid, rather than examining her. Chester tells the doctor, Dr. Kitamura, that they won't leave without his examining her. He does so and finds that there's no bleeding and the baby has a strong heartbeat. He and Luz discuss the matter outside, where he expresses that the fall may not simply have been an accident.

Chester tests to be translator

That night, Hideo is killed in a gruesome manner by Yuko Tanabe. Chester tells Wilson that he can't stop thinking about what his father told him, and that evil follows him. He needs to leave, but Walt sarcastically wishes him good luck with that. Chester goes to apply for the translation work. At first, it doesn't seem to go well, but then he notices a secret code in the missive that he's been instructed to translate. The recruiter, Colonel Stallings, is impressed and he is hired. Luz reads a letter given to him stating that he's been accepted as a candidate for the Japanese Linguist Program and is to report to Camp Savage. She doesn't want him to leave, but he tells her that it's his opportunity to make a real wage. He ships out in two days. He tells her that he'll send the money home and that as a translator, he won't see any comment. Hearing a jazz record in the distance, they decide to dance together, as they've never done that before. Yuko Tanabe watches from a window.

He meets with his father, Henry, who is not happy that he is leaving. Though he had told Henry months back to enlist, his view has been soured by being sent to prison. He feels that Chester is running away. Chester tells him that he needs to step up and take care of the family and Luz now that he's leaving, because right now he's just sitting around. Henry tells him that while he may just be sitting around, gaman (persevere) is what they do. He tells him to go if he has to, and he replies that he's at least doing something.

The time comes for Chester to ship out. He hugs Walt and Amy goodbye. His mother tells him that he looks handsome in uniform and that Henry will come around. He gives Luz a package. It's a dress, which he paid for by trading away his camera. As they kiss, a strong wind blows. Asako comes running up to him, saying that she forgot his hair. She cuts off a small lock and Amy explains to Luz that if he were to die and they couldn't get the body, she could at least cremate the hair to give him a proper funeral. As he leaves, Luz gives him a little wave goodbye. ("Gaman")

Translator[]

Chester is sent to Guadalcanal, where despite his hopes of getting away, he remains troubled by a strong wind and strange visions out of the corner of his eye that he is convinced are the influence of the yurei. He goes outside and flashes photos, shouting that he knows she's there. For six nights in a row, he can't even get any sleep for fear that the enemy is closing in around him.

He tells all of this to Luz in a letter and receives a letter back from her. She tells him that she's proud of him for getting a job that so many tried and failed to get, yet at the same time a part of her blames him for leaving her. She tells him that he's her best hope and that someday they'll have a little acre together - just him, her and their baby.

Chester consults with his partner, Arthur Ogawa, about yurei. Arthur seems irritated at Chester for snapping photos and possibly attracting the enemy. Nevertheless, he tells Chester that he's read about yurei in the old Kaidan stories. Chester asks him if the stories ever make any mention of what a yurei would normally be after. Arthur explains that a yurei is driven by its onnen - that it has a crazed hunger for something, possibly due to having been wronged during its life. It spends the rest of eternity trying to satisfy that hunger. Chester asks him a yurei could ever take control of someone else, and he reminds him that yurei aren't real. Chester discovers a hole in the tent and points it out to Arthur. He suggests that maybe a crocodile did it, wondering if Chester is still on about the yurei.

Later, Chester and Arthur meet with their commander, Colonel Stallings, in the field. They've been searching for any information that might lead their troop to Sergeant Crittenden, the leader of another regiment who went missing days ago and is suspected of having been captured by the Japanese Admiral Takahashi. Stallings has decided that it's time for Chester and Arthur to see where the documents that they've been translating are coming from by having Chester get down in the dirt and muck and examine dead bodies. Reluctantly, Chester does so and discovers a belt with Wabun code. At this, Stallings chastises the rest of the unit for not having done a more thorough search and instructs them to get in the mud instead and search. Chester sends Luz another letter, saying that he's glad to hear that nothing else strange has happened at camp since the previous incidents.

At the camp, another strange incident does happen, when one of the soldiers, MP Nessler, commits suicide by jumping from a guard tower. Luz, visiting her midwife Yuko Tanabe, learns that she is carrying twins. In Guadalcanal, Chester writes Luz another letter telling her it's been another three days and he still hasn't gotten any sleep and thinks he may be going crazy. He has a hallucination in which Arthur grabs him as he flips through the pages of a notebook and tells him to take it easy, but it's Yuko Tanabe's face that he sees. As he translates a message, he has another hallucination of a blade stabbing him through the chest. He awakes, telling Arthur that he thinks he knows where Crittenden is - at a place called Giant's Door. The unit finds Crittenden exactly where Chester indicated, but he's in bad shape. He lays bloodied, and muttering phrases in Japanese. Chester tries to translate, only for some of Crittenden's men to restrain him, but Stallings stops them and urges Chester to continue. Chester translates "You are a devil. A white devil. We kill white devils." He asks Crittenden if he is a yurei, and Crittenden states "I will cut out your tongue, gouge out your eyes, I will kill you." Arthur thinks that he's just repeating phrases he heard from his captors. He says to Chester "The weak are meat. The strong eat."

At the camp, Luz's water breaks and she goes to Dr. Kitamura for the delivery, only for the babies to be delivered stillborn, despite Tanabe possessing Kitamura's nurse, Nurse Hasegawa, in order to watch over the delivery. At Guadalcanal, Chester is unaware, having recently received a letter from Luz telling him that she is carrying twins. She tells him in the letter that she won over his father and that one of the twins will be named Enrique in his honor, while the other will be named Hikaru.

As Crittenden attacks, Chester miraculous survives unscathed

Chester smiles with joy at the letter as the wind again blows around him. He is approached by a group of Crittenden's men, one of whom comments that he shouldn't be outside, that he could be mistaken for the enemy. Chester sees that Crittenden is with them and asks why he's out, that he shouldn't be out. The soldiers set upon him, beating him to the ground. One of them then tells Crittenden to get in there, that this is for him. To everyone's shock, however, Crittenden grabs a flamethrower and turns it upon his fellow men. He roasts all of them to a crisp, leaving only Chester for Stallings and his unit to find, miraculously alive and untouched by the flames. Chester again asks Crittenden if he's a yurei, just what it is that he's done. He repeats "Kill white devils" and Chester asks him if this what the yurei told him to do. To this, Crittenden replies, in Japaense, "I serve Admiral Takahashi." ("The Weak Are Meat")

The P.O.W. and the Yurei[]

In February 1943, Chester is still in Guadalcanal and snaps a photo of a woman and children playing. He holds a letter from his family, informing him of the stillbirth of his and Luz's children. A fellow soldier, Bob, tries to equate this with how his girl left him, but Chester sees no equivalence. Arthur tells Chester that Bob would take a bullet for him, but he leaves, pushing his way past both. Bob comments that he's cracked.

At their tent, Arthur compliments Chester on getting through something called the "Aoki diary." It confirms that Admiral Takahashi was conducting psychological experiments on his prisoners, which explains what happened to Sergeant Crittenden. He tells Chester that there isn't a yurei and never was. Chester tells him that it was instead back at the camp, responsible for the death of his children. In response to this, Arthur states that when he was back in the Manzanar internment camp, he mopped the floors and saw many terrible things. It doesn't take a yurei for things like that to happen in places like that. Chester wonders if he came there for "nothing" if there was never any yurei. Arthur questions this, noting that they've captured a live P.O.W. from Takahashi's unit. Chester points out that they haven't been allowed near the P.O.W., and asking him just what they are if they're useless to their countries and their families. Arthur replies that that's a little too psychological for his speed.

As it turns out, the interrogator assigned to the P.O.W. in question has been making no progress, so Colonel Stallings sends Chester and Arthur to "babysit" him until they can bring in another interrogator. Chester begs to be allowed to question the prisoner himself, as "Ivy League guys" will never get anywhere. Stallings, however, denies the request, as Chester isn't a trained interrogator. They meet with the prisoner, who is tied to a pole in a tent. He calls Chester a "shiryō," which means roughly a dead man walking. Chester continues to press Stallings and is eventually given permission to talk with the prisoner.

The prisoner, who identifies himself as Tetsuya Ota, tells Chester that he isn't fit to be asking him questions, calling him a "dog." He calls him by name, and Chester asks how he knows him. He replies that his onnen has wandered the earth, hungry for blood. He tells Chester that he'll present thim with the corpses of everyone he loves. Chester, spooked, says that he's the yurei, but Arthur tells him that he's just trying to goad him. Chester eventually comes to suspect this too and snaps a photo of Ota's face. It comes out perfectly, leading him to realize that Ota is not the yurei because if he were, his face would be blurred like in the other photos that he had taken.

He continues to talk with Ota and eventually begins to form a bond with him. He finds a suicidal knife in Ota's possessions and learns that Ota wanted to kill himself after his plane crashed, but was unable to. He also realizes from a notebook in Ota's possessions that Ota is a fan of baseball. They speak of Ota's time, and how they once played against Lou Gehrig, who came over with an all-star team. Ota was on a college team, with him as the pitcher. He struck Gehrig out in three pitches. Chesater tells Ota that the thing he likes about baseball is how there is no time limit and no clock, that it's not until you've been given one last chance that the game is over. He cuts down Ota and gives him the knife. Ota cuts himself across the belly and bleeds out. Before he does so, however, he tells Chester that Admiral Takahashi was born on June 7, 1894 in Sendai, telling him to tell his superiors that he got this out of him. It's more than any white man ever would. He dies and later Stallings agrees to a false account that he broke free while Chester's back was turned and killed himself before Chester could stop him.

Chester and the yurei

A new group of translators arrives at Guadalcanal, fresh from the Military Embarkation Center in Long Beach, California. One of them is a Sergeant Terajima, who has clearly been posssessed by Yuko Tanabe and is carried a bag with a bloodied corpse inside. Stallings tells Chester to get some rest, that he has bigger plans for him. As Chester starts to pack, he hears the sound of bones cracking. Arthur approaches behind him and then smacks him in the face, having clearly been possessed by Tanabe himself. At gunpoint, he leads Chester to a car and tells him to drive, that they're going "back home." Stallings, seeing what is happening, orders his soldiers to stop them and shoot out the tires. They do so and Chester crashes and left laying bloodied on the ground. A single finger pokes out from the bag with the bloodied corpse and unzips it. The corpse inside comes to life, revealing the undead form of Yuko Tanabe. She approaches Chester, who groans and screams in terror. She touches him, telling him "It's time to go now... Taizo." ("Shatter Like a Pearl")

Discovering his past, breaking free[]

Chester is given a medical discharge from his duties in Guadalcanal and returned to the Colinas de Oro War Relocation Center. There he is shocked to discover that his girlfriend Luz has chosen to leave the camp with her father, Bart, despondent over the stillbirth of their children. He spends the night sleeping by the gravestones of his lost children. That morning, he is confronted by Fumi Yoshida, who tells him that a spirit follows him, one who killed his sons and drove Luz mad. Seeing what is happening, Asako stops Fumi, telling her that Chester is a hero. Chester, however, states that she is right, that a spirit does follow him. It followed him across the Pacific and tried to kill him in a Jeep crash. He demands to know more specifics from Asako. She hugs him and her bones crack strangely, veins popping in her face. She says "My sweet baby, how I've missed you," telling him to find his woman, as their line must continue. He realizes that she's the yurei and she whispers "Taizo."

He calls her a demon, demanding that she leave is mother. She is shocked that Chester calls her "mother," but nevertheless releases Asako. Later, Chester meets with Asako and Henry in their barracks. Asako tells him that she felt so much pain and desire in the spirit, a tremendous hunger. Chester asks what she wants, and Asako replies "you." She and Henry explain that he is actually the lost child of Yuko Tanabe, whom she gave up for adoption, his father a soldier who died in a war. Asako is Yuko's sister and, upon learning of her sister's death, came over to America to see to it that her sister's child wouldn't be raised as an orphan. Chester is naturally shocked by these revelations, asking why they never told him. Henry tells him that they feared the truth would hurt and he replies "You mean it would hurt you." "Son," starts Henry, but Chester tells him to not call him that, as only Asako is his blood.

Chester discovers Yuko laying in an empty grave near that of his stillborn children. He consults with Yamato-san, who tells him that he is not an onmyoji and he only knows pieces of the old kaidan. This, however, is more than anyone else there knows, so he entrusted with overseeing a ceremony to commit Yuko's body to flames. He paints Japanese symbols over her body, chanting Namu Amida Butsu. Everyone leaves except Chester, who tosses a lantern and sets the room ablaze. It is burnt completely to the ground, but Yuko's spirit nevertheless survives. ("Taizo")

Following these events, Chester sits in front of the pond at the camp, writing a letter to Luz. He tells Amy that she still hasn't written him back, and asks if maybe Major Bowen has a phone line that he could use. She says that she couldn't let him do that because Major Bowen records everything and they would both be shipped to Tule Lake. She suggests that he talk with his parents instead, that he knows who she means. He is dismissive of this idea, however. He says that he could have protected his own children had his "parents" not lied to him his entire life.

He goes to send another letter to Luz and is given a package in return. It's addressed from Luz's father, Bart, and contins all of the letters that he's mailed to her to date, unopened. He stares off into the distance, then drops the box, marching towards the gate of the camp. A soldier warns him that he doesn't have permission to exit, but he just keeps walking. He slaps the soldier away and he tells him he'll shoot if he doesn't stop. He replies "if you wanna shoot a sergeant in the back, it's fine by me, private" and keeps walking, so the soldier and the others with him tackle Chester to the ground, kick him repeatedly, and then knock him out with a blow to the head.

He is sent to the stockade until a transport arrives to send him to Tule Lake. Asako begs Major Bowen to have mercy, but Bowen says that he's already shown too much mercy. He asks Chester if there's anything that he wants to say to his parents, but Chester replies that his parents are dead. He gets on the transport and they take him away, Asako staring sadly into the distance. That night, Chester tells one of the soldiers on the transport that he needs to poop. The soldier simply ignores him, so he tells him that it's up to him if it's there in the transport or outside. The soldier signals for the transport to stop and Chester is left to do his business, the soldiers backing off, but only a little ways. Chester sits for a bit, coverly loosening his handcuffs, then makes to get back up. The soldier approaches, asking him if he's done already, and Chester butts him with a stone, then darts away towards a bridge. Another soldier shoots at him, attempting to prevent his escape, but is unsuccessful. Chester leaps off the bridge into the water below. He washes up on a leafy shore.

Chester returns to California, where he finds Luz returning to her place from a date with a man named Julio. She notices his car, which is Henry Nakayama's Packard automobile, that his photography professor had been keeping safe. She gets in and they travel to the top of a hill. There, she tells Chester that she couldn't even open his letters because she knew that if she opened them, she'd hear his voice again. She tells him that the girl he once loved is buried with his children, but he asks if this is really so. He says that he has the car, asking her where she would go if she had a free ride to anywhere.

Luz leaves a note for her father and Chester takes care of a bit of business of his own. He sneaks into the orphanage where Yuko Tanabe left him and finds their archives room. He finds a file section, Tanabe, and discovers his own birth certificate, showing that he was born Taizo Tanabe on April 6, 1920. To his shock and surprise, he is listed as being the first of two twins. Also in the file is a photo of a brother, "Jirou Tanabe," at seven years old, as well as a Baptismal Certificate stating that Jirou was baptized on June 14, 1920. He shows all of these items to Luz, telling her that he has a brother he never knew about. He figures that he must be an internment camp somewhere under an assumed name, wondering why he's always felt like half of him is missing. He says that it's not Luz's problem, though, and asks her where he's taking her. She tells him that they're going to Aguayo, New Mexico. Her abuela lived there and every summer her father would send her and her brother there, and she felt that it was like a dream.

Chester in Aguayo

The two arrive in Aguaya and Luz gets out. Her abuela, Rocio Trujillo, is delighted to see her, calling it a miracle. Chester remains in the car. When Luz comes back, he tells her that he plans to continue traveling and see the countryside. She, however, asks him to remain there, telling him that there would be plenty of work for him there. While they consider this, Yuko Tanabe arrives at Bart Ojeda's house. She takes possession of him and finds a map, which she uses to draw a route from there to Aguayo, before killing Bart. ("My Perfect World")

Meeting and losing a brother[]

Although Chester seems prepared to leave Aguayo, he keeps taking on projects requested of him by Luz's abuela, such as plowing a field for a garden. As he does so, a strong wind blows, leading him to worry about the possible presence of the yurei. When Luz points out the fact that he keeps staying, he asks her if she wants him to leave. She admits she isn't sure what she wants.

He lays out photos and documents he found at the orphange in front of a fireplace. He explains to Luz that he's been writing letters to all of the Japanese internment camps, hoping to learn the whereabouts of his brother, but he worries the chance will be lost if the courts shut them down. When she starts to leave, he asks her to stay, and the two kiss passionately. Time passes and they are again sleeping together regularly. Chester suggests that they should just tell her abuela, since she surely knows already, but Luz is adamant that she doesn't and they need to keep it that way, unless he has another idea. He tells her that he does.

Chester and Luz kiss at their wedding

The two are wed in a Catholic ceremony in a barn dressed in the trappings of a church. It's a lovely ceremony, with Chesteer wearing a tuxedo and Luz wearing a white wedding dress. Unbeknownst to them, Doña Maria is possessed by Yuko Tanabe as the ceremony is wrapping up. That night, they all agree it was a beautiful ceremony, though they wished there could be more of their family there. There is a knock at the door and they look outside to see a county sheriff's car. Chester is immediately made to find, as he is a wanted fugitive. Then, Luz comes down with terrible news - her father has gone missing. Rocio suggests that there might be a way to discover what happened to her father. She is a curandera, the keeper of an ancient Mexican magic. Using a photo, she can send someone into the past to meet one who has passed on. If the magic works, then that person is dead. If, however, they meet nobody, then the person is still alive. She and Luz discuss it and both agree that it is too dangerous due to the potential for the magic to go out of control. Chester, however, is fascinated, thinking that he could use the magic to discover the truth of whether his lost brother Jirou is alive or dead.

Reluctantly, Luz and Rocio agree to aid Chester in performing the ceremony. He sits before a campfire in a circle of candles. He drinks a special tea and Rocio uses a special pendant given to Luz by her mother to channel the power. They use the photo that Chester found of Jirou at 7 years old and he travels back into the past, proving that Jirou is dead and gone. Chester talks with Jirou, being careful as to what to say, as Jirou does not know that he is dead. He learns that Jirou is shunned by the other children because they believe him to be cursed. He is also often sickly, though the nuns tell him that he'll get better if he prays a lot. He calls his lost brother the lucky one who found a family. Chester learns that he likes baseball, but doesn't play because of his illnesses. He says that he bets he could catch a ball and he has Jirou don a glove and tosses a ball to him.

Jirou out of the picture

Then, things take a twisted turn. Yuko Tanabe takes possession of Chester. She then hijacks the vision, appearing before Jirou and telling him that she's his mother. She tells him that she's sorry, that she had to leave him and his brother when they were born, but she's back now. She forces him back against a sandbox, telling him that their perfect world is beautiful. They then sink into the sand, into the perfect world which she stole from her ancestor Chiyo. Back in the real world, Chester comes out of the vision, crying out that he felt her. He stares at the photo of Jirou to see only an empty swing and a sandbox, no person in the photo. He runs outside, saying that the wind he felt before must have been Yuko. He tells Luz that she took Jirou and when she asks who, explains that it was mother, Yuko.

He explains that she tracked him from Guadalcanal and though he and his family burnt her body, she somehow managed to survive. She explains that Yuko was her midwife and she was kind to her, wondering why she would do that. She asks if Yuko killed her father, and he agrees that it's possible. He asks Rocio to look at the photos taken during the wedding. He discovers that the face of Doña Maria in one of the photos is blurred, a sure sign of possession by Yuko. He runs to her home and finds her dead in her bed. He returns to tell Luz, and she tells him that Yuko knows. She says it's not Chester that Yuko is after, it's her child. She's pregnant again by Chester. ("My Sweet Boy")

A new life[]

Chester and Luz in Aguayo

Chester continues to live with Luz in Aguayo and as the time of her delivery grows closer, he takes steps to protect her. He tracks down his adoptive parents, who moved to Skid Row in California after being released from the Colinas de Oro War Relocation Center internment camp only to find that their neighborhood on Terminal Island had been razed by the U.S. government. He calls Henry and tells him of his and Luz's marriage, saying that he needs his help to protect the baby. They thought they got rid of Yuko by burning her body back at the camp, but it didn't work. Henry reluctantly agrees, saying that he's sure his wife will insist that they go.

Chester and Luz greet Henry and Asako in Aguayo. Asako is happy to see Chester, Henry less so. He tells Luz that he's sorry she married a fool and that his only comfort is that he does not share his blood. He then reclaims his Packard automobile. The group sets up camp in the home of Luz's abuela Rocio, barricading themselves so that hopefully Yuko cannot get to Luz. They set up a sort of password system using a classic Spanish nursery rhyme, "Los Pollitos." When they sing "Los pollitos dicen, 'pio, pio, pio', cuando tienen hambre," the person knocking at the door must respond "cuando tienen frio" in order to get in. Father Ysidro, the priest that married Chester and Luz, asks if they're planning on staying there. Chester tells him that they do have other options, but the plan is to make Yuko think that they're staying there and to not leave unless they need to. Chester has a talk with Henry, who tells him that he needs to not run away. Chester asks if he has a better plan and Henry says to ask him for advice. Chester asks him just what advice he has and he says that he would have told him to leave Luz alone if he loved her and to not let Asako think that he was dead for months. He says that trying to outrun a demon won't work, asking just what it is that Chester's not telling him.

Yuko manages to get into the house by stealing the password phrase and possessing Father Ysidro, forcing the group to flee. They arrive at a bunker inside some mountains in a desolate area and take refuge. Chester set up a trap for Yuko - a tripwire created by a bell attached to a string. Meanwhile, Luz starts going into labor. Chester explains his plan to Henry - it's not truly his child that Yuko wants, it's him. He plans to kill himself, then have Luz's abuela use the curaranderismo magic to travel back in time to meet a younger version of himself, whom Yuko will then steal. Unfortunately, Yuko manages to slip in, possessing first the baby himself, then Luz, and taking off with the baby. As she escapes the bunker and wanders off into the night, Chester shouts after her, calling her "mother," but she just keeps walking, singing the baby a lullaby.

Chester and his family begin a frantic search for Luz. Unfortunately, they are hampered by the fact that a group of passing samaritans discovers Luz first and offers her a ride back to Aguayo. As all of this is happening, the United States drops a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. As Chester searches, a news report on this is a backdrop to his searching. He eventually discovers Luz wandering the road, only to find that Yuko is no longer possessing her, having instead hopped to the teenage daughter of the samaritans, Esperanza, who now has the baby instead.

Chester and the others return to the homestead in Aguayo and not far from there discover an abandoned vehicle. Inside are Esperanza's parents, dead. As they examine them, Esperanza herself emerges from the woods, saying that she "didn't do it," that it was the woman. Chester and Henry go to investigate and discover a shack, the inside of which has been painted with Japanese characters, the names of Yuko's ancestors. They also discover rocks, which Chester recognizes as being from a nearby limestone quarry, leading him to realize that Yuko is preparing for a burial. He begs Henry to leave him and give the picture to Rocio, but Henry follows him anyway.

Chester and Henry head to the gravesite, where they discover Yuko with the baby, telling him that his precept name is Shaku Tai Chou, so that he will never be called back into the world. Chester calls out her name, demanding his son back. She tells him that he's not his to have, that she's made a home for him in the afterlife. Chester replies that it's him that she wants, explaining his plan to kill himself and use the photo to reunite her with his past self. He tells her that his father has the photo, but she replies that he has not father, that his father died before he was born.

Henry steps forward, telling her that he is Chester's father. He tells her that he will not allow his son to pay for his sins and shreds the photo. Chester pleads that he can get another photo, but Henry pulls a gun and shoots Yuko repeatedly. He gives Chester a sutra to protect himself and holds up his arm to show that he is wearing one himself. He then begins painting Yuko's face with Japanese characters. Chester says that it didn't work, but Henry tells him that it did, until they burnt them off. Yuko, however, fights back. She rips the very skin off her face and turns to Henry. Henry pleads for Chester to run and Yuko possesses him. Chester flees with the baby, but the possessed Henry shoots him in the leg. He then shoots himself in the gut. As he bleeds out, Yuko returns to her body and reclaims the baby. He scatters the bag of sutras as Yuko falls into the grave.

Asako and Luz arrive at the site. Asako is shocked to see Henry's corpse. She pulls a knife and begins stabbing Yuko repeatedly. Chester pleads with her to stop, saying that it won't work, that Yuko will always find a way to come back. Luz, however, has an idea. She shows Henry a picture of Yuko when she was still pregnant with both Chester (Taizo) and Jirou. Chester shows the photo to Yuko, explaining the new plan. He tells her that if she takes his son into the afterlife, she will have no descendants to honor her. The perfect world she longs for is the moment in time seen in the photo. Using Luz's magic, the two of them head back in time together. There, Yuko merges with her past self, finding herself at peace in the forest at a time when both Chester and Jirou were still inside her.

Chester has a vision or dream in which he talks with Henry on his fishing boat, the Taro. He snaps his photo and Henry says that he never told anyone before, but if Chester knows why he became a fisherman. Chester tells him he thought that's all there was, but Henry explains that he became a fisherman because in the water there's none of the cares of the world. He was a bachelor for so long that he named his boat Taro, meaning "first-born son." When he held Chester for the first time, he had the same feeling of peace, as if all of the cares of the world had gone away. He asks Chester to sail with him out into the ocean, far away from all his troubles, but Chester says that he can't, that he has too much to do. Henry has him take one more picture.

Chester and his young son at Obon

Henry's funeral is held. During it, Chester holds his son, telling him that it's time to say goodbye to his ojichan, who was named Henry, as he is. Five years later, Chester has opened a photo studio, H. Nakayama & Son Photo Studio. He has two other children, adopted, and he and Luz are hoping to adopt more. He and his large extended family gather before a pond, releasing lanterns for the Obon festival. He tells Henry that this is why they have Obon, to remember, not just the people they know, but the places they've been. They have to keep remembering, or else they forget who they are. ("Into the Afterlife")

Personality and traits[]

Nakayama is a nisei, or U.S. born Japanese-American. living on Terminal Island, California. He feels confined, feeling that his family traded one island (Japan) for a smaller one.[3] He is a proud 22-year-old who hopes one day to become a photographer for LIFE Magazine.[4] While taking photography classes at Los Angeles Community College, he met Luz Ojeda, a nursing student, began a relationship with,[5] and impregnated her.[6] He and his family are close friends with Amy Yoshida and her family and the two have a sort of brother-sister relationship despite not being blood relatives.[7]

In the wake of World War II, Nakayama and his family are forced to move to a Japanese internment camp. There, the terror begins as they find the camp to be plagued by shadowy and misshapen figures.[8] Having become Americanized, he has dropped his belief in certain Japanese cultural tales, such as yūrei, but is forced to reckon with them.[3] He is a big fan of baseball.[9] He ultimately joins the U.S. war effort as a translator.[10]

Behind the scenes[]

  • His character is loosely based on Tōyō Miyatake, a Japanese photographer who documented the condition of the Japanese internment camps from the inside.[11]
  • His character is also a composite of the two grandfathers of the actor who plays him, Derek Mio: one who was from Terminal Island and taken to Manzanar and the other who was living in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed and enlisted in the MIS (Military Intelligence Service).[12]

Promotional images[]

External link[]

Notes and references[]

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