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Fireflies, Come Back to Me

"Firefly Come Back - The Story of Mother Tome and Her Daughter Reiko"  by Akabane Reiko and Ishii Hiroshi
 
If you are interested in Kamikaze (Tokkotai) pilots of WWII you should read about Tome Torihama and the Chiran Town base in Kagoshima, Japan.
 

For a good look at the personal lives of tokkotai pilots' in the final months of the war, read "ホタル帰る―特攻隊員と母トメと娘礼子" by 赤羽 礼子 "Firefly Come Back" by Reiko Akabane and Hiroshi Ishii. This book tells the story of a woman named Tome Torihame who owned a restaurant in Chiran Town in Kagoshima Prefecture, where one of the Tokkutai bases was located. She took care of many of the pilots in their final days, and later took care of American GI's based in Chiran during the occupation. The book includes many photos and excerpts from letters and diaries of pilots and their families. It is only available in Japanese, but you can find it on amazon.co.jp. An unauthorized English translation is available from http://gna2000.tripod.com/firefliescomebacktome. A movie was made in Japan about Torihama in 2007 and is available on DVD (see the link in External Links below).

This book tells the story of a woman named Tome Torihame who owned a restaurant in Chiran Town in Kagoshima Prefecture, where one of the Tokkutai bases was located. She took care of many of the pilots in their final days, and later took care of American GI's based in Chiran during the occupation. The book includes many photos and excerpts from letters and diaries of pilots and their families.   The story is thought-provoking and touching - not at all what I expected - and offers a unique perspective on the final days of these young pilots and the community where they lived out their final days.   The last third of the book also deals with how the community adapted to the arrival of the occupation forces and the community's first contact with foreigners.   A powerful book! 

An unofficial ENGLISH translation of the original Japanese book (reference below) is available by contacting me at the email address below.    There will be a small charge for the book and postage from Japan.   The book was translated by Yuuichi Shirakura and Chris-Lynn McPherson.  

 
 
 

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The Original Book

 
Hotarukaeru-Tokkotai to Haha Tome to Musume Reiko   (Firefly Come Back - The Story of Mother Tome and Her Daughter Reiko)  by Akabane Reiko and Ishii Hiroshi
 
The original book is available in Japanese at www.amazon.co.jp
ホタル帰る―特攻隊員と母トメと娘礼子 (単行本)
by 赤羽礼子, 石井宏
 
If that reference looks like junk to you, you don't have Japanese fonts installed, then try searching under the book id numbers listed below
 
Publisher:  Shoshinsha (2001/05)
  • ISBN-10: 4794210604
  • ISBN-13: 978-4794210609
  • Release Date: 2001/05
  • The Movie

    In 2007 TOEI (Japanese movie studio) made a movie about Tome Torihama and the pilots.   It was called  "I will die only for you" or something like that.  
    俺は、君のためにこそ死ににいく) about Tome Torihama ("Kamikaze Mom"), the Chiran high school girls and young Army kamikaze pilots flying Ki-43 Hayabusa fighters
     
  • Format: Color, Dolby
  • Subtitles: Japanese only
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries.)
  • Studio:: TOEI COMPANY,LTD.(TOE)(D)
  • DVD Release Date: 2007/10/21
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • ASIN: B000TLYCSG
  • fireflybookcover.jpg

    Please get in touch with any comments or reactions to my site.

    Kamikaze Pilots, Tome Torihama, Reiko Torihama, Chiran Town, Chiran Base