The Enemy

Dr. Sadao Hoki Character Analysis

Dr. Sadao Hoki is the protagonist of the story and Hana’s husband. A skilled surgeon educated in America, Sadao is wholly responsible for saving the life of Tom, an American prisoner of war who washes up on the beach alongside Sadao and Hana’s isolated home on the Japanese coast. Sadao is an emotionally complex character who struggles to come to terms with his inexplicable impulse to save the life of an American, who is supposedly his enemy, and his staunch Japanese patriotism (which increasingly reads as outright nationalism and racial prejudice). Sadao’s arc is anti-epiphanic, ending with his deeply prejudiced thoughts about all the Americans he’s known throughout his lifetime. However, the story suggests that the reason he helped the prisoner of war—putting his and his household’s safety on the line in doing so—is because of the latent human impulse to be good and kind. Alongside his nationalism, Sadao is also a proponent of traditional Japanese gender roles, requiring his wife to be a meek, subservient housewife who tends to the servants and follows Sadao’s orders unflinchingly. Even though the couple met at college in America, Hana generally conforms to this role gladly and seems to value Japanese customs. Despite upholding strict gender roles—with Sadao often coming across as cold and domineering—the couple appears to genuinely and tenderly love one another, even if those feelings are largely unspoken. Many of the decisions Sadao makes about how to deal with Tom stem from Sadao wanting to alleviate his wife’s severe anxiety at housing the prisoner.

Dr. Sadao Hoki Quotes in The Enemy

The The Enemy quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Sadao Hoki or refer to Dr. Sadao Hoki. 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:
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of The Enemy published in 2015.
The Enemy Quotes

He had met Hana in America, but he had waited to fall in love with her until he was sure she was Japanese. His father would never have received her unless she had been pure in her race […] they had not married heedlessly in America. They had finished their work at school and had come home to Japan, and when his father had seen her the marriage had been arranged in the old Japanese way, although Sadao and Hana had talked everything over beforehand.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki, Hana, Sadao’s Father
Page Number: 25-26
Explanation and Analysis:
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“What shall we do with this man?” Sadao muttered. But his trained hands seemed of their own will to be doing what they could to stanch the fearful bleeding. He packed the wound with the sea moss that strewed the beach. […]

“The best thing that we could do would be to put him back in the sea,” Sadao said, answering himself. Now that the bleeding was stopped for a moment he stood up and dusted the sand from his hands.

“Yes, undoubtedly that would be best,” Hana said steadily. But she continued to stare down at the motionless man.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Hana (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 27-28
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sadao hesitated again. “The strange thing is,” he said, “that if the man were whole I could turn him over to the police without difficulty. I care nothing for him. He is my enemy. All Americans are my enemy. And he is only a common fellow. You see how foolish his face is. But since he is wounded…”

“You cannot throw him back to the sea,” Hana said.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Hana (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
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“This man,” he thought, “there is no reason under heaven why he should live.”

Unconsciously this thought made him ruthless and he proceeded swiftly. In his dream, the man moaned but Sadao paid no heed except to mutter at him.

“Groan,” he muttered, “groan if you like. I am not doing this for my own pleasure. In fact, I do not know why I am doing it.”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
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“It is not quite at the kidney, my friend,” Sadao murmured. It was his habit to murmur to the patient when he forgot himself in an operation. “My friend,” he always called his patients and so now he did, forgetting that this was his enemy.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
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“You say you think I can stand one more such attack as I have had today?”
“Not more than one,” Sadao said.

“Then certainly I can allow nothing to happen to you,” the General said with anxiety. His long pale Japanese face became expressionless, which meant that he was in deep thought. “You cannot be arrested,” the General said, closing his eyes. “Suppose you were condemned to death and the next day I had to have my operation?”

“There are other surgeons, Excellency,” Sadao suggested.

“None I trust,” the General replied. “The best ones have been trained by Germans and would consider the operation successful even if I died.”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), The General (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“That prisoner,” he said with some energy, “did I not promise you I would kill him for you?”

“You did, Excellency,” Sadao said.

“Well, well!” the old man said in a tone of amazement, “so I did! But you see, I was suffering a good deal. The truth is, I thought of nothing but myself. In short, I forgot my promise to you.”

“I wondered, Your Excellency,” Sadao murmured.

“It was certainly very careless of me,” the General said. “But you understand it was not lack of patriotism or dereliction of duty.” He looked anxiously at his doctor. “If the matter should come out you would understand that, wouldn’t you?”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), The General (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 45-46
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Americans were full of prejudice and it had been bitter to live in it, knowing himself their superior. How he had despised the ignorant and dirty old woman who had at last consented to house him in her miserable home! He had once tried to be grateful to her because she had in his last year nursed him through influenza, but it was difficult, for she was no less repulsive to him in her kindness. Now he remembered the youthful, haggard face of his prisoner—white and repulsive.

“Strange,” he thought. “I wonder why I could not kill him?”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Tom / The American, The American Landlady
Page Number: 46-47
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. Sadao Hoki Character Timeline in The Enemy

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Sadao Hoki appears in The Enemy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Enemy
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Dr. Sadao Hoki lives in his childhood home in Japan, nestled between pine trees and a small... (full context)
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Growing up, Sadao’s father never “joked or played” with Sadao but “spent infinite pains upon him who was... (full context)
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When World War II broke out, Sadao had been working on an important medical discovery. For this reason—and because he needed to... (full context)
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Back in the present, Sadao looks out over his expansive property and admires the mist “wreathing around the pines” and... (full context)
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Sadao and Hana met at their college professor’s house. The kindly professor and his wife had... (full context)
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Although they “had talked everything over beforehand,” Sadao and Hana waited to marry until they had both finished school, returned to Japan, and... (full context)
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Back in the present, Sadao and Hana suddenly notice “something black” in the mist and realize it’s a man. He... (full context)
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When they reach the beach, Sadao realizes the man is badly wounded, as his blood is already seeping into the sand.... (full context)
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Sadao’s “expert fingers” look for the man’s wound. Sadao finds that the man has a gunshot... (full context)
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Sadao says that if they brought the man into their house, both Sadao and Hana would... (full context)
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...man back into the sea, though she refuses to be the one to do it. Sadao feels he can’t do it either; he thinks that he could easily hand the man... (full context)
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Sadao wonders what they’ll tell the servants; Hana says they “must” tell the servants that they’re... (full context)
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Sadao and Hana bring the man to the room that once belonged to Sadao’s father. The... (full context)
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Sadao and Hana agree that Yumi, the servant who tends to the children, should be the... (full context)
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Sadao swiftly leaves the room, and Hana follows, not wanting “to be left alone with the... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Sadao tells the gardener about the white man. When Sadao is out of earshot, the gardener... (full context)
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Sadao enters dressed in his surgeon’s coat and carrying his tools. He tersely orders Hana to... (full context)
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Hana runs out of the room, and Sadao hears her throwing up in the garden. He realizes that she’s never seen an operation... (full context)
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Hana returns, and Sadao teaches her how to administer the anesthetic. As she brings the saturated cotton ball to... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Sadao continues with the operation. Suddenly, his fingers hit something hard—it’s the bullet, and it’s lodged... (full context)
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Sadao talks quietly to his unconscious patient during the operation. It is Sadao’s “habit” to talk... (full context)
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Sadao sharply tells Hana to stop administering anesthetic. Meanwhile, Sadao fills a vial with liquid and... (full context)
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Several days later, Sadao checks on the white man and finds him sitting up in bed, “his face bloodless... (full context)
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Later, Hana anxiously tells Sadao that the servants have threatened to quit if the white man stays any longer. According... (full context)
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...a long time. He once created “one of the finest moss gardens in Japan” for Sadao’s father, and swept it so frequently that not even a single pine needle touched its... (full context)
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The cook says that their “young master,” Sadao, is painfully arrogant—he’s “so proud of his skill to save life that he saves any... (full context)
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Later, Sadao permits Tom to spend a few minutes on his feet per day so that he... (full context)
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...into a panic—the servants must have told the authorities about Tom. However, the messenger tells Sadao that he’s needed at the palace: “The old General is in pain again.” When the... (full context)
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After treating the General, Sadao confides in him about Tom. The General is sympathetic to Sadao’s plight, explaining, “I understand... (full context)
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Sadao tells the General that there are other surgeons who could perform the operation. The General... (full context)
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Growing serious, the General says that Tom must be murdered, albeit secretly. He asks Sadao for permission to send a few private assassins in the night to soundlessly kill Tom... (full context)
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When he returns home, Sadao “refuse[s] to allow anything but reason” into his mind. Tom says that he’s feeling better,... (full context)
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Tom thanks Sadao again for saving his life, claiming, “If I hadn’t met a Jap like you—well, I... (full context)
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Sadao tosses and turns all night, wondering if the assassins will come. In the morning, though,... (full context)
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Sadao is exhausted and tells himself that he can’t just sit around and wait for the... (full context)
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At nightfall, Sadao drags his boat to the shore and fills it with supplies. He then returns home... (full context)
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Tom tells Sadao, “I realise you are saving my life again.” Sadao sniffs that it’s merely “inconvenient” to... (full context)
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Soon the servants return to the household. Yumi insists on burning Sulphur in Sadao’s father’s room to purify it and get rid of “the white man’s smell.” Besides this,... (full context)
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That week, Sadao is called to the palace to do emergency surgery on the General. His “gall bladder... (full context)
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Sadao insists that he understands entirely; privately, he feels relieved, knowing that the General’s own anxieties... (full context)
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That night, Sadao gazes out at the island at dusk and is relieved to see that it is... (full context)
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As Sadao looks out at the sea, he thinks about all of the other white people he’s... (full context)
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...course, there was also the “fat and slatternly landlady.” It had been a struggle for Sadao to find housing in America, and this “ignorant and dirty old woman” was the only... (full context)