Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Game Design : Writing a Character - Who are you?

This was another homework exercise for Game Design, probably the one I had the most fun with for sure. Basically we had to interview a character a create a character based on a certain year of history. We had to research on what happened in that time period and made sure this character behaved realistically to that history and also functioned as a real person. I'll start with the interview and let you see if she is believable before delving into her backstory and story arc by themselves. The interview is designed in a way just to see how the character acts and to convey information about the character themselves.

The Interview

Welcome! What is your name? Gender? Race? Religion? Age?

Hello, I am Miyuki Hayashi, I’m a 20 year old Japanese-American, Buddhist currently living at the dorm in Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

So where were you originally born? What about your parents—where are they, and are they alive? When you were growing up, did you struggle, and if so, in what way?

I was born and raised in Richmond, Indiana. My parents were born in Japan and lived in Gifu for quite some time, but they moved shortly to Indiana before I was born. They always said they wanted to have a fresh start and wanted to experience the culture. I’ve spent my entire life in this city and it’s still my home despite all that’s happened. My parents have raised me well and they’ve taken care of me, I suppose they sort of sheltered me as well. They aren’t, or… weren’t short on money when I was growing up.

My father can be stubborn, strict and even somewhat reckless, but he always knows what to do to care of our family. He provides for us, spends time with both myself and my mother and he has taught me a lot of things over the years, and taught me to look after myself. I used to be a lot more shy when I was growing up but he’s definitely helped me get better at being extrovert. My mother has always been very caring and kind, she spoils me sometimes, more so then my father and she always find some way to brighten my day even when it’s bad. She’s usually smiling, she’s a really positive force in our family.  Together they knew how to raise me well and teach me the values I’ve needed to get through life.

Right now though, they’re in one of the internment camps inside the city, managing to survive through the harsh conditions in the camps. I’ve had to suffer alongside them for quite some time since the “war” started. At least until my father managed to get me enrolled in the only college that was accepting any Japanese-American applicants, Earlham College it was, and they were taking in students specifically to help us avoid internment. I know my father and mother are still surviving in the harsh conditions in there and a lot of the time I wish I could be there to support them… but I know my father nor my mother would ever want me back in there. They would want me stay here so that I could avoid all the pain. *Her eyes tear up a bit as she thinks on the memories*. For that I am eternally grateful to them both and to the college as well.

I am just checking, what year is it now?

Well the war I was talking about is World War II of course, it’s 1944 and I just heard the war was ending. Thank goodness it’s all over, maybe that means my family will be able to get out of the internment camps and get back to their proper jobs and home. I think they would both like me to continue enrolling in the college of course but as long as I know they are safe now, that’s all that really matters to me.

How would someone stereotype you at a glance?

Well, honestly where I live, they would just call me a ‘jap’. Most of them do anyways. I always get a glare from passers-by if they see my face. That goes for both students in the college and other people around. They don’t care about anything else but the fact I am of Japanese descendance. It automatically puts a target on my head. That’s the kind of stereotype I’ve had to face ever since the war started. It’s hard to tolerate, I try to shut it out, but it’s hard, especially when some people get vocal about it too. I’ve had to tolerate a lot more harassment then I am used to… *chokes up a bit*

I-I am sorry, forgive me, it’s just really hard sometimes. I know I am not the only one who has to go through this but it’s hard to find others to connect with sometimes. I am still thankful that my father taught me how to manage through this kind of abuse. Not everyone treats me like that but there are enough out there that just makes it really hard. I can’t really answer how someone would normally stereotype me very well, but I guess in the past, before all of this happened, I remember people would probably look at me as just, that shy looking Japanese girl.  They would have been some prejudice still but certainly nowhere near as much as what I get now.

Do you have a romantic partner? If so, whom?

That’s a little personal but I guess I don’t mind answering. It’ll make me feel better to get it off my chest. But please don’t publish this too widely There’s a boy a liked, I still do. His name is Richard. He’s an American, with some british descendance in him. We met in grade school actually and we even went to the same high school for quite some time. We were really good friends for a while and over time, we got to know each other a lot more and grew closer. Eventually, we both felt like we liked each enough to date.

But the attack on Pearl Harbor pretty much stopped any contact with each other. That’s when we started getting discriminated and his family immediately joined the bandwagon of people discriminating against us. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere near him despite his protests and my own. There was just an immediate hatred towards us and it’s led to me being separated from him ever since. I’ve wrote letters to him, that’s the only way I can talk to him and even then, sometimes it takes a long time or even several letters to get to him because if his family ever sees the letters, they will just rip them apart right away and warn him not to write back to me. That’s what he told me in one of the letters he managed to get to me.

 He doesn’t care about his family’s hatred though, he still wants to write to me no matter what and I to him. I’ll try any way I can to keep in touch with him. Even though the war has ended now, I feel like things are still going to be difficult. I doubt his family will be alright with him seeing me or, it will take a long time for them to accept us at least. But I really hope with all my heart that they will see the error of their ways and let us see each other, publically and without hate, once again. I am sorry, I don’t mean to ramble like this, I just wanted to let it out and I feel better for doing that.

Who is your best friend and what is he/she/it like? How would your friend describe you?

Well I’ve already talked about my boyfriend but there’s been a good friend of mine ever since I got to the College, she’s really helped me out. Sylvia is one of those few people that isn’t judging me based on my race. I met her one day during the classes. Everyone in the classroom needed to get with another student to be partners in one of the activities. Most of the others immediately shunned me but she came towards me right away and gave me a really cheerful smile and asked me my name. That was the first time I saw her and she opened up to me even though I was a stranger and hated by everyone else. Even in the college, things weren’t easy with everyone else. Living conditions were better but the attitude towards me certainly wasn’t. I remember that smile being one of those first glimmers of hope I had to making friends in the university.

She was really sweet and kind, sort of like my mother. She was rather energetic and has always been, it sort of made me a little shy at first but it grew on me. I was just happy that someone else was talking to me so openly and being so accepting. She never once asked me anything relating to my culture or race, at least never in an offensive manner. She only asked if she was curious and always tried to be supportive in any way she could. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend to meet me during that tough time. I got to know more people thanks to her, she taught them to be more accepting as well.

As for her describing me? Well I guess she would say I can be kind of shy sometimes, though I feel like that’s because of the discrimination around. I guess I am somewhat shy around strangers but happy and energetic around others I think she would say. She also likes to call me a “Shining Star”, she says that because she thinks my smile is also really nice when I am really happy. Not that I really get many of those smiles nowadays given the conditions but it happens and she has never missed a moment mentioning it. I guess she’d also say I am selfless most of the time and I’d like to help others, which is true, at least between us and my other friends. If I try to help strangers occasionally some will accept me while others will immediately shun me. No matter which I might assume they do, I will always try to help in the hopes it might turn them around. She would also commend me for my courage and determination too, even during our first meeting. She knew the kind of things I had to go through since she’s observed it in other Japanese-Americans being treated harshly.

What is your economic situation? What have you done for work?

Well my father was decently wealthy, he’s a mechanical engineer, though due to the process of sending us to internment camps, he lost quite a bit of his money. We still have a good portion of our possessions, we just can’t get access to them from within the internment camp. That’s how he managed to get me enrolled into the college because he was able to arrange some funds for me to get in. As for work, I did help out my mother part time in her restaurant in the past but we obviously can’t do that now and we lost the restaurant. Right now I guess I would be a student in economics right now.

Would you steal? How do you feel about lying? Can you be trusted by your friends? Do you have any other vices?

I wouldn’t steal, I would never dream of it. Maybe I would if I had to survive and in the internment camps, conditions could be pretty bad. But no, my parents taught me never to steal and that would have meant steal from our fellow Japanese Americans. We had to stick together in there. Stealing is just something that doesn’t cross my mind normally. Lying? Again, I try not to lie. I usually never try to lie in fact, I just feel guilty about it, no matter how trivial it could be. Maybe among friends if it’s to joke around but even then I don’t normally do that, I still feel guilty even though it’s in good fun. I know that Sylvia trusts me with her life, she even said that herself though it felt a little weird that she said that. My other friends I mostly met through Sylvia as well and they’ve told me they trust me, I know most of them do, though a few are still a bit sceptical due to my race. They are slowly being tided over though thanks to Sylvia. I guess people trust me as a person but may not just because of my race, it’s sad really but I’ve tried my best to make sure they look over that fact.

Hmm, Vices… Well I wouldn’t really say I have any other vices that I would like to admit. This is getting a little personal, maybe if you told me some yourself I might be more comfortable sharing.

Alright, you don’t have to answer that. What makes you happy? What makes you sad?

What makes me happy? Nowadays, whenever I get to see or hear from Richard or my family makes me the most happy. Spending time with Sylvia and our friends is usually good fun to and really helps me to stay positive despite everything. My studies now help distract me from a lot of the hate out there and really help me feel more accomplished. That and a good book are the next best thing to make me happy in terms of material possessions. I think I’ve already really gone over what makes me sad but it’s the treatment of us, the whole internment camps, the hate, we are being judged based on the actions of a few. There used to be more minor things that made me sad, but really this overshadows everything else. This is really the only thing that matters as of now.

What is the one secret that no one must know about you?

Umm, do I really have to answer this question? It seems rather unnecessary…  I feel like I am being interrogated. You have to agree to tell me something in return if I do alright?

We have a deal, I will tell you afterwards.

Alright well I’ve always had the desire to shoot a gun. Not at someone, I would never want to hurt anyone, but I just want to see what it feels like. I doubt I would ever be given the chance and if someone heard that it probably wouldn’t really help my reputation right now in these circumstances. Please don’t tell anyone, I don’t want to put my family in any more trouble than it already is!

Are you afraid to die?

Well I guess that depends on the way I die. I do fear death, I really would love to live my life to the fullest. I would like to spend my time with everyone I love, but I guess if my time is to come, then so be it. I guess it’s just depending on the way I might die. I fear mostly dying not by those I love or in loneliness. Even if it was painful, as long as I was with them, I would bear it just to be with them one last time. If I can die near them, then I feel like I can be at peace. If I die alone or nowhere near them then that’s what I fear the most. I’ll die just hoping to see someone.

Do you have any phobias?

I do have a particular fear of spiders and snakes. The fact I hear they both can have dangerous venom in some species always make me cringe at a potential bite from them. Not to mention their movement and appearance frighten me! I always need to get someone to deal with them even if they aren’t dangerous ones, which they never are. It’s just the stories about the ones with venom scare me. I guess a more serious phobia for me is, what I heard about those camps in Germany. Concentration camps I think they were called? I heard a lot of people died in there, they used some sort of gas is the rumour. I’m scared what that must have been like for the people, I really hope they at least died peacefully.

Are you quick tempered or patient?

I am rather patient I would say. I’ll wait for long periods if need be, I’ve learned that from my mother and father, more so from my mother since I said my father could be quick tempered. But he usually tells me to be patient even though he can be quick to act sometimes, it’s kind of funny! I’m willing to wait though for a lot of things, but this kind of goes for making new friends sometimes as well. I mean be waiting too long for someone to come to me and I might never get that friend. I am lucky Sylvia wasn’t patient and decided to see me, or I might not be as happy as you see me now. Another thing I’d like to mention is that I probably would have gotten together with Richard earlier than I would have if I was less patient. But things could have ended up worse, I don’t really know but I guess I might be rambling a bit again. To answer your question I guess I would say I am patient.

That's all we have time for, thank you for your time answering our questions

Thank you, it’s been a pleasure!

Biography and Description
  • Name : Miyuki Hayashi
  • Birthplace: Richmond, Indiana, US
  • Current Location: Richmond, Indiana, US at Earlham College
  • Age: 20
  • Religion: Buddhist
  • Race: Japanese-American (Oriental appearance)
  • Spoken Languages : English and Japanese
  • Weight: 120 lbs
  • Height: 5”6
  • Eye color : Brown
  • Hair Color : Black


Miyuki is a regular Japanese-American girl, living in Richmond, Indiana. However she becomes subject to the hate of the Japanese after the events of Pearl Harbor. She and her family are segregated and forced into internment camps where her ties to old friends are broken and disconnected. She is a sweet, somewhat shy girl who can be rather determined when she sets her mind to it. She can be rather emotional at times but tries not to let it get the best of her. She deeply cares for her family and friends and is always trying to be helpful for both them and even strangers. She isn’t a hero at all, she is just someone struggling through very difficult turmoil in one of the most shattering events in human history.
Miyuki’s is a compassionate young woman who greatly cares for her family and those she loves. She has a very strong emotional attachment to them and a great loyalty towards them. She’s taken the kind and sweet traits of her mother and the determination of her father. Her kindness links with the fact she does not like to lie or steal, or doing anything morally wrong. She would never try to do the same discrimination to others that she is receiving, nor try to take revenge for what has been done to her. She always try to keep going, no matter how difficult it is, whether it be in discrimination, long distance relationships or even school work. She strives to do her best for her family to make them both happy, in turn making herself happy. Despite her shyness she has a strong will and strive to keep going despite all the harshness around her. Even though she is shy she can be very kind to everyone, even strangers. She will try to be kind despite their potential discrimination against her.


She is normally rather shy, which can lead to difficulty making friends. Especially due to the discrimination this can become very difficult indeed. She can also be somewhat gullible, believing what most people say, sometimes she trusts people too much. This can lead to her being at the mercy of bullies or pranks on her during college. Her emotional attachment to her family could also lead to great emotional stress if anything bad happens to them. The same with her friends. This means if she loses them, if for some reason she doesn’t have good emotional support, it can lead to very bad consequences for her, mentally.

Personal History and Story Arc

Miyuki  was born and raised in Richmond, Indiana in the US to two loving Japanese parents. She had a rather normal childhood, attending public and high school (private school) and integrating with the community well enough. As a shy girl she never really had too many friends, most of them acquaintances but managed to keep some very strong friendships with a select few. She met her love, Richard in public school and eventually started dating him in high school. Due to the effects of World War II, specifically the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese in America were segregated and discriminated throughout the Country due to being at war with Japan. Immediate hatred sweltered in the community, causing great repercussion in relationships between the Hayashi family and the other families around. Many of Miyuki’s friends were not allowed to see her or joined in the discrimination against her. Only Richard stayed loyal to Miyuki throughout this turmoil. They frequently send letters to each other to try and keep in contact despite Richard’s family trying to prevent him from ever contacting her due to their automatic hatred of the Japanese.

Defining Moment 1: Eventually the family was forced into a internment camp where living conditions were rather poor and freedom was rather limited. Things got better over time but it was far from how they had lived just a year prior. Miyuki stayed with her family, trying to get by despite all the hate and the bad living conditions going on. Eventually her father managed to get her noticed to be enrolled in the Earlham College, where they were trying to take in Japanese-American students for them to avoid being sent to internment camps. She was very lucky, being accepted and moved out of the internment camp as her family’s wishes. Her family however had to stay behind but as long as their daughter had better living conditions, it was alright.
Even on College, she couldn’t escape the amount of discrimination all around. Students and others alike would frequently seek to make her life miserable in various ways. From ignoring, to insults, pranks, bullying, etc. There was no escaping the discrimination even there, however living conditions were better, which was what her family was hoping for her. Despite this, the whole experience of discrimination from the camps, being separated from her family now and with no support made it more difficult to go on. She suffered mentally from the discrimination and being unable to have anyone close to support her at the college save a few teachers.

Defining Moment 2: Eventually though, she meets a girl the same age as her named Sylvia. She is one of the people to approach her and try to get to know her. The two become great friends over time and Miyuki finally gains a friend that would help lead to further friendships with others. The two become best friends and it helps to give Miyuki confidence once more despite all the struggles she has faced. Meanwhile, she continues to send letters to her parents and Richard, the combination of these and support from her new friends allows her to slowly become happier and move towards her happiness before the events of the war started. 
Eventually the war is announced that it’s ended (Interview happens) and things look like they will slowly begin picking for her. She hopes her family can return to their home and gain their jobs back, while she continues to study in Earlham. She hopes things with Richard’s family will work out so they will be able to see each other once more without issues. A potential problem for that relationship however is the fact that she does not know that Sylvia is falling for her, another thing that is not normally accepted in society during this time.

Defining Moment 3: The time will come when Sylvia will let Miyuki know about her feelings and that’s when Miyuki will need to decide between her old love who she longs to see and her new best friend who’s helped her through all her troubles in the past year.  Both deal with issues that are currently taboo in the time period, both dealing with discrimination, one being racial and the other being sexual orientation.

Concluding Statements

Well I hope that I wrote a well rounded and believable character, it was definitely a blast to write though. If I was able to convey someone that might be somewhat believable then I have succeeded. Before I end this, here is an artist rendition (Anime style) of my character back in her private school days.

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