William S. Vaughn
Summary of Plot
Enko “Eddie” Morishima is in a quandary. It's the summer of 1941, and relations between Japan and the United States are rapidly deteriorating over Japan's territorial aspirations in the China-Western Pacific region and vexing trade issues. Although a Japanese national, the dashing professional expatriate has both been raised since childhood and educated in the States, acquiring MIT and Stanford aeronautical engineering degrees along the way.
Happily married to the brainy Karen Funato, a second-generation Japanese immigrant and college professor, he'd been quite comfortable in his “Yankee Persona” existence as “Eddie." But now, with Japan's government threatening to revoke his passport if he doesn't return home, he’s on the verge of losing his residency visa―and consequently his job―at Douglas Aircraft Company. Karen begs him to let her invoke her U.S. citizenship for him to become a naturalized American. Despite his deep love for her, he can’t countenance disgracing his diplomat father and illustrious family by renouncing his own Japanese nationality.
Running out of time and options, he must eventually return to Japan, having no choice but to leave Karen behind. To add insult to injury, after Pearl Harbor, now the wife of an enemy national, she’s interned along with her entire family by the U.S. for the duration of the war.
Deported to his homeland just before Pearl Harbor, Morishima is quickly recruited by the Imperial Japanese Army Aviation Intelligence Bureau, where he employs his world-class aeronautical industry education and experience to good advantage. Under the tutelage of his commanding officer, the kindly General Kobayashi, he learns the ropes to navigate the ponderous Japanese military establishment to excel in assessing and communicating American aeronautical threats. In a spectacular coup, Morishima partners with the the Air Intelligence Section of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht in Berlin to share the fruits of the exploits of their beautiful and deadly Nazi sleeper spy, Inga Schmidt. Schmidt arranges to rent a room in a lofty vantage point above Seattle’s Boeing Field from there, she gleans reams of intelligence on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bomber then being test flown to project the strategic air war to Japan’s doorstep and feeds it to Axis Intelligence in Berlin and Tokyo.
Morishima's worst fears materialize as Japan’s fortunes inexorably wane under the crushing weight of America’s economic and military might. When, as he predicted, the Boeing Superfortresses begin catastrophic incendiary strikes on Japan’s flammable cities in early 1945 from the hitherto remote Marinas Islands, his own extended family is killed when their central Tokyo estate is devastated. Iwo Jima-based American Army Air Force and carrier-based Navy fighter-bombers appear in large numbers over Japan, systematically annihilating tactical targets. Amidst all this, Morishima suffers a crisis of conscious when Kobayashi shares photographic evidence with him of ghastly and widespread Japanese atrocities attributable to perversely corrupted “Bushido” samurai warrior tenets.
Morishima ultimately encounters the shock of his life when he uncovers irrefutable evidence that specialized “Silverplate” B-29s are about to start dropping atomic bombs on Japanese cities unless it immediately capitulates. He vows to do all within his power to delay these pending strikes or limit them to the unpopulated summit of Mount Fuji to give realists in the government time to outflank the fanatical anti-surrender militarists. He hatches an audacious scheme to defect to American forces when he orchestrates the repatriation of two American POWs in return for the cancellation of incendiary raids on a Japanese city. This sets in motion a remarkable sequence of events that only concludes twenty years later with revelations and a resolution that Morishima never anticipated.
Pacific Air War Historical Fiction