The Crickets of Hiroshima

An unlikely hero emerges from the turbulent years of the air war during World War II. Kenji Watanabe, a young fighter pilot from Hiroshima, who while flying his first combat mission against the U.S. Navy, the attack on Pearl Harbor, is shot down over Oahu. He survives to be rescued by two Japanese-American sugar farmers who hide him, tread his wounds and later adopt him under an assumed name.

Kenji, aka Ken Kurata, joins the U.S. Army to escape the detention camp to which he and his adoptive family have been sent along with other Hawaiian Nisei. He volunteers for flight school in California and Texas. He plots ways and means of rejoining his real family in Hiroshima.

The action shifts to North Africa when Ken is ordered to join a flight of P-40’s, the plane that gained popularity with the Flying Tigers in China, and excels against the Luftwaffe Messerschmitts attempting to Field Marshall Rommel’s desert troops in their efforts against the British and Americans.

When the air war heats up in Europe, Ken is sent back to the States to transition to the newly assigned star of the air war, the P-51 Mustang. He is ordered to England to fly against Germany with the Eighth Air Force and makes Ace three times over. He falls in love with a British girl.

All this time he is kept under surveillance by the FBI and later England’s MI-5, who suspect him of espionage. He is kidnapped and tortured by German and Japanese operatives who have also been keeping tabs on him.

When Germany surrenders, attention focuses on Japan including espionage and activities leading to the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima.


Entry from a reader in Australia to a mutual friend in Seattle:

“Thank you again for the parcel. I’ve been really enjoying “The Crickets of Hiroshima” and have almost finished the book. The author brings the story to life with an interesting perspective and a fine ear for the
vernacular. He manages to convey the messiness of war and the conflicting emotions of Ken with sympathy and understanding. Have you read it? Please thank the author when you see him again and tell him
his book has much to say far beyond the United States. It is well worth reading.”