No-No Boy

Freddie Akimoto Character Analysis

One of Ichiro’s friends from before the war, and a fellow no-no boy. After being released from prison, Freddie is unable to readjust to society, instead just gambling, drinking, and having sex with his neighbor, 2-A. He picks fights and lives in constant fear of retaliation. Ichiro doesn’t enjoy spending time with him, but understands that Freddie lives such a wild life to prevent himself from falling into a deep depression. Still unable to function in society, Freddie dies in the novel’s final chapter, driving his car away from a fight and crashing into the wall of a nearby building.

Freddie Akimoto Quotes in No-No Boy

The No-No Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Freddie Akimoto or refer to Freddie Akimoto. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Washington Press edition of No-No Boy published in 1976.
Chapter 3 Quotes

Time would ease the rupture which now separated him from the young Japanese who were Americans because they had fought for America and believed in it. And time would destroy the old Japanese who, living in America and being denied a place as citizens, nevertheless had become inextricably a part of the country which by its vastness and goodness and fairness and plentitude drew them into its fold, or else they would not have understood why it was that their sons, who looked as Japanese as they themselves, were not Japanese at all but Americans of the country America. In time, he thought, in time there will be a place for me. I will buy a home and love my family and I will walk down the street holding my son’s hand and people will stop and talk with us about the weather and the ball games and the elections. I will take my family to visit the family of Freddie, whom I have just left as I did because time has not yet done its work, and our families together will visit still another family whose father was two years in the army of America instead of two years in prison and it will not matter about the past, for time will have erased it from our memories and there will be only joy and sorrow and sickness, which is the way things should be.

And, as his heart mercifully stacked the blocks of hope into the pattern of an America which would someday hold an unquestioned place for him, his mind said no, it is not to be, and the castle tumbled and was swallowed up by the darkness of his soul, for time might cloud the memories of others but the trouble was inside of him and time would not soften that.

Related Characters: Ichiro Yamada (speaker), Freddie Akimoto
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

He was enjoying it and he felt that Emi was too. This is the way it ought to be, he thought to himself, to be able to dance with a girl you like and really get a kick out of it because everything is on an even keel and one’s worries are only the usual ones of unpaid bills and sickness in the family and being late to work too often. Why can’t it be that way for me? Nobody’s looking twice at us… Everything’s the same, just as it used to be. No bad feelings except for those that have always existed and probably always will. It’s a matter of attitude. Mine needs changing. I’ve got to love the world the way I used to. I’ve got to love it and the people so I’ll feel good, and feeling good will make life worth while. There’s no point in crying about what’s done. There’s a place for me and Emi and Freddie here on the dance floor and out there in the hustle of things if we’ll let it be that way. I’ve been fighting it and hating it and letting my bitterness against myself and Ma and Pa and even Taro throw the whole universe out of perspective. I want only to go on living and be happy. I’ve only to let myself do so.

Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

“It was good, the years I rotted in prison. I got the lead out of my ass and the talk out of my system. I died in prison. And when I came back to life, all that really mattered for me was to make a painting. I came home and said hello to the family and tried to talk to them, but there was nothing to talk about. I didn’t stay. I found a room next to the sky, a big, drafty attic atop a dilapidated mansion full of boarders who mind their own business. Old friends are now strangers. I’ve no one to talk to and no desire to talk, for I have nothing to say except what comes out of my paint tubes and brushes. During the day, I paint for my keep. At night, I paint for myself. The picture I want is inside of me. I’m groping for it and it gives me peace and satisfaction. For me, the cup is overflowing.”

He turned and the peace he spoke of was clearly written on his face: “What was unfortunate for you was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Related Characters: Ichiro Yamada (speaker), Gary (speaker), Freddie Akimoto
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:
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A few days later Tommy, reluctant to lose one who had appeared such a promising recruit, tried to justify the incident. “The ways of the Lord are often mysterious,” he had said. “There are some things which we cannot hope to understand. You will feel better by next Sunday.”

“Save the holy crap for yourself,” he had replied. “Seems to me like you goddamned good Christians have the supply spread out pretty thin right now.”
And then Tommy had revealed himself for the poor, frightened, mistreated Japanese that he was. “Holy cow!” he had exclaimed in a frantic cry, “they like us. They treat us fine. We’re in no position to stick out our necks when we’ve got enough troubles of our own.”

“Good deal. You hang on to it, will you? Son of a bitch like you needs a good thing like that.”

Related Characters: Ichiro Yamada (speaker), Tommy (speaker), Freddie Akimoto
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

Ichiro put a hand on Bull’s shoulder, sharing the empty sorrow in the hulking body, feeling the terrible loneliness of the distressed wails, and saying nothing. He gave the shoulder a tender squeeze, patted the head once tenderly, and began to walk slowly down the alley away from the brightness of the club and the morbidity of the crowd. He wanted to think about Ken and Freddie and Mr. Carrick and the man who had bought the drinks for him and Emi, about the Negro who stood up for Gary, and about Bull, who was an infant crying in the darkness. A glimmer of hope—was that it? It was there, someplace. He couldn’t see it to put it into words, but the feeling was pretty strong.

He walked along, thinking, searching, thinking and probing, and, in the darkness of the alley of the community that was a tiny bit of America, he chased that faint and elusive insinuation of promise as it continued to take shape in mind and in heart.

Related Characters: Ichiro Yamada (speaker), Kenji Kanno, Freddie Akimoto, Gary, Emi, Mr. Carrick, Bull
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:
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Freddie Akimoto Character Timeline in No-No Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Freddie Akimoto appears in No-No Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
...the whisky he’s been drinking. Ichiro decides to leave and go find an old friend, Freddie Akimoto. (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Ichiro takes the bus to Freddie’s apartment. He knocks on the door but a woman (“2-A”) opens the apartment next door... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
Freddie says he’s been having sex with the woman in apartment 2-A, but most mostly he’s... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
Ichiro decides to leave. Freddie invites him to play poker with him and other no-no boys. Ichiro explains that he... (full context)
Chapter 3
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Ichiro walks down Jackson Street, away from Freddie. He wonders if he and the other no-no boys have “renounced their American-ness” irrevocably. He... (full context)
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
...be a place for me.” He’ll buy a home and start a family. He and Freddie will visit the families of men who went to the army, instead of to prison,... (full context)
Chapter 9
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
...he feels sick. Mr. Yamada insists Ichiro come along with him, but Ichiro instead spies Freddie across the parking lot, and joins his friend in the car. (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
Freddie takes Ichiro to a drive-in where they get hamburgers and coffee. They talk about their... (full context)
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
The conversation moves to their families. Ichiro is not hungry, perhaps because of grief, and Freddie tries to be sympathetic. Freddie remarks that he wouldn’t be sad if his parents died,... (full context)
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Freddie also observes that his parents have nothing left to live for. Ichiro is surprised by... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
After eating, Freddie and Ichiro drive around town. Freddie is driving dangerously fast, but will not slow down.... (full context)
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
Freddie drops Ichiro off at the family store. Ichiro makes tea and plays with Taro’s old... (full context)
Chapter 11
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Ichiro is lying in bed when he gets a phone call from Freddie. Freddie says he wants to go out and do something fun. Ichiro is hesitant, but... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Ichiro meets Freddie in a shoeshine parlor. Freddie tries to get the man shining his shoes, Rabbit, to... (full context)
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Ichiro pities Freddie, who he sees has been unable to reintegrate into society. Ichiro, meanwhile, feels like he... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Ichiro is not having fun with Freddie, but he doesn’t want to leave him alone. He suggests going back home to have... (full context)
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
Freddie parks illegally, disregarding Ichiro’s warning that he’ll get a ticket. They go inside and get... (full context)
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
...not want to fight, he feels obligated to defend his friend. He follows Bull and Freddie into the alley, where he grabs onto Bull’s arm and tells him that he and... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
Freddie attacks Bull. Ichiro tries to intervene and get Bull to stop fighting, but he won’t,... (full context)
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
A moment later, there is the sound of a crash—Freddie clipped the front of another car, which sent his into the air, flipping over and... (full context)
Family and Generational Divides Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
 Ichiro stands for a moment. He feels “utterly exhausted,” but knows that Freddie “would have to fight no longer.” Bull asks for a drink, and Ichiro gets a... (full context)
Japanese vs. American Identity Theme Icon
Healing in the Aftermath of War Theme Icon
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Theme Icon
Ichiro thinks about Kenji, Freddie, Mr. Carrick, Emi, and Birdie. In the crowd drawn out of the nightclub by the... (full context)