Forged In Fire: Stories of wartime Japan
Forged In Fire is the true story of a young girl's childhood in pre-WW II Tokyo; her schoolgirl dreams; the violence, starvation and desperation of wartime that drove her family out of the city; and the American Occupation that shaped Japan's future. It is the story of my mother, Rita (then named Tomoko), who was ten years old when World War II began and fourteen years old when it ended.
Mom had often recounted her experiences to me and my siblings as we were growing up. At some point, Mom began urging us to write down her stories for her. I finally got around to honoring her request early last year (2014). Using audio recordings, notes, frequent phone calls and plenty of fact-checking, I eventually placed into chronological order the various fragments of her memories. On one hand, it is a young girl's story, told plainly. On the other hand, it is a remarkable glimpse into one of history's most tumultuous events - one not widely known.
Mom was later diagnosed with cancer in July 2014 and eventually passed away at the age of 83 in August. Although severely weakened from her illness, she was happy and proud to hold a rough draft of the printed manuscript in her hands. It was her final wish that her story be published and so here it begins....