Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars Character List

Kabuo Miyamoto

Japanese-American man, the eldest son of the Miyamoto family, who grows up picking strawberries on the Heine farm. He is an expert at kendo, and he goes to fight in the European theater for America, just after marrying Hatsuo at the relocation camp Manzanar. He is the defendant in the first-degree murder trial after the death of Carl Heine, Junior.

Ishmael Chambers

Son of Arthur Chambers, he has been in love with Hatsue since childhood. He fights in the war in the Pacific and loses his arm due to a battle injury. After the death of his father, he takes over the San Piedro Review and covers the Kabuo trial. He is over thirty and unmarried.


Wife of Kabuo, former Strawberry Princess and the young love of Ishmael. She is known for her beauty, and she has been well trained since youth. Her mother forbids her to remain in contact with Ishmael from the relocation camp. Later, after marrying Kabuo, she gives birth to two daughters and one son.

Judge Llewellyn Fielding

The judge presiding over the Kabuo trial after the death of Carl Heine, he always appears half-asleep, though he is conscientious.

Carl Heine

The deceased at the time of the trial, he is a powerfully built salmon gill-netter with a boat named after his wife Susan Marie. He is of German stock and is an old childhood friend of Kabuo's. He has been a quiet man since returning from the war. He and his wife have three sons.

Art Moran

The county sheriff who investigates Carl Heine's death and who testifies at trial as a witness.

Alvin Hooks

Prosecutor for the state in the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto.

Abel Martinson

The 24-year-old deputy of Art Moran.

Nels Gudmundsson

Kabuo's defense attorney, an aging man at 79, blind in his left eye, and an excellent chess player.

Ed Soames

Bailiff in Judge Fielding's courtroom.

Horace Whaley

The local family physician, who is therefore also the coroner. He examines Carl Heine's body after his death to discern the cause of death, and he hints that the wound in Heine's head is similar to wounds made by Japanese men who know kendo. He testifies at the trial.

Arthur Chambers

Ishmael's father, respected founder and head of the San Piedro Review.

Susan Marie Heine

The 28-year-old wife of Carl Heine (widowed). She is described as beautiful, sensual, and tragic, and she is also of German stock. She testifies during the trial. She is also mother of three sons.

Etta Heine

Mother of Carl Heine, Junior. After her husband's death, she sells the strawberry farm along with the Miyamoto share, because they failed to make the last payment. She lives in Amity Harbor, and she is concerned by Kabuo's suspicious looks. She testifies at the trial.

Carl Heine Senior

Father of Carl Heine, he is sympathetic to the situation of the Japanese in the community. He is friendly with Zenhichi, Kabuo's father, and they arrange for a lease agreement that would turn over ownership of seven acres of property to Kabuo when he turns twenty. He dies while they are at the relocation camps and before the end of the war.

Zenhichi Miyamoto

Father of Kabuo, he teaches kendo to Kabuo and passes down their samurai family history. He enters an amicable land agreement with Carl Heine Senior to ensure that Kabuo comes into seven acres of land at the age of twenty. He passes away of stomach cancer.

Ole Jurgensen

Unaware of the lease agreement with the Miyamotos, he buys Etta's land in 1944. He also owns sixty-five acres of the Center Valley. In June 1954, he has a stroke and then decides to sell the property in September, entering into an agreement with Carl Heine. He testifies regarding Kabuo's visits (also expressing desire to buy the land).


Hatsue's younger sister, she reads the love letter from Ishmael that arrives under a false address. She turns in the letter to her mother.


Hatsue's mother and wife of Hisao. She had arrived in Seattle as Hisao's picture bride, expecting that Hisao would be a wealthy owner of vast lands. She found, however, that he was very poor. They worked hard together and bore five daughters.


Hatsue's father.

Helen Chambers

Ishmael's mother, a well-read widow at 54, and a believer in God.

Josiah Gillanders

The 49-year-old president of the San Piedro Gill-Netters Association, he testifies for Kabuo. He points out that men never board others' boats except in an emergency. He also states that it would be mad to "premeditate" a murder in a dense fog while out fishing.

Dr. Sterling Whitman

Hematologist from the mainland who weathers the snowstorm to testify that the blood type found on the mooring from Kabuo's ship is the same as Carl's.

Sergeant Victor Maples

He once trained combat troops in Illinois, and after he discovers that Kabuo is a kendo expert, he studies kendo under Kabuo. He testifies that he has become technically capable of killing a man with a fishing gaff.


The radioman on duty on the foggy night when Carl Heine drowned, he is relocated the next day. His shorthand notes from the night detail how an enormous freighter came through Ship Channel Bank, creating a large wake that likely caused Carl's death.

Evan Powell

Chief petty officer of the lighthouse. Ishmael asks him if he can examine the lighthouse records.


The radioman called in by Evan Powell to help Ishmael go through the files. Levant explains that he arrived September 16, and that the man before him, Milholland, had been relocated.