Building his own bridges with Japan, ex-digger Richie meets a kindred spirit in a visiting Japanese composer. Sydney in the 1990s is a long way from wartime Papua, but a series of disconnected events takes Richie back fifty years to a strange battlefield encounter.
He remembers Yoshi – the Japanese soldier, like himself, fighting for his country, thinking of his family, his childhood, his future. On the Buna airstrip in December 1942, in a night-time lull in the fighting, they talk of girlfriends, customs, king, emperor, generals and politicians who started the war. Like himself, Yoshi was not sure if he would have a future.
But now, fifty years on, can two ex-servicemen forgive the excesses of war? Can their peoples really get to know each other, or are package tours and international trading as close as they will ever get?
A story of rapprochement between Australian and Japanese WWII soldiers.
Rivers never separated people in the past. So for us, it’s just a river to cross, and then we’re on the other side, meeting new experiences, new people.
224pp Paperback,216 x 138 mm.
ISBN 0 9578735 1 4;
Fiction; First Edition November 2001
The Author,Arthur Pike, is well-suited to write a novel about rapprochement between ex-WWII soldiers from Australia and Japan. He served in the 1st Australian Mountain Battery as a gunner and forward observation officer’s assistant at Kokoda and Buna, and as a coastwatcher in M Special Unit behind Japanese lines in New Britain.
In early post-war years, he was active in student affairs at Sydney University, as Arts Society secretary, and co-editor of the Arts Society annual magazine, Arna. He was a columnist and associate editor of the university’s newspaper, Honi Soit. Arthur graduated in Arts from Sydney University, and has travelled widely in Europe and Asia.
Dreamtime Beach …and other times, a collection of his poetry was published by Southern Cross University in 1996.