I am Emi Oshima, the director of Paperweight Books and the translator of FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS by James Bradley, the Japanese young adult version, which will be published from EAST PRESS in early fall 2006.
The author of the original, James Bradley is my old friend. We became friends when he was studying at Sophia University, Tokyo Japan in 1970s. Yes, it is long time ago! We had lost contact since 1980s. However, in 2000 at Book Expo in New York, I found his FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS first time and sent an e-mail right then. After a long talk, we are friends again.
As James mentioned in his afterword of FLAGS, Random House version, I had spent one summer in Antigo (Wisconsin) with one of the flag raiser, John Bradley, James’s father. I was a little uncomfortable being there as a only Japanese. One summer evening, I was left alone with Mr. Bradley who was supping Martini. The room was in orange light of the setting sun. The shadow of his face was deep.
” Mr. Bradley?”
My voice was husky and small but the room was quiet enough.
I wanted ask him if he was feeling awkward to have a Japanese in his house. Japanese had killed his best friend… My father gave a history book about the war in Iwo Jima before I visited him and I knew about the tragedy.
” No, I am glad to have you here as my son’s friend. That was in War time and we are friends now.”
It was a very quiet and short conversation but I was very relieved. The air between us was warm and sweet.
Almost twenty five years later, I told James about this conversation to find out I was very rare person who did talk about the war with his father.
I can still remember the orange tone of the room and the shadow of John Bradley in that summer evening.