Awa Maru – Titanic of Japan
Awa Maru – Titanic of JapanAuthor: Rei Kimura
Publisher: Mehta Publishing House
(Pp170, ISBN 978-81-8498-137-7, Rs 149)
This is the gripping story of the Awa Maru, the little known Titanic of Japan, for the first time told in this book. We follow the journey of Kyoko Tanaka, whose parents and brother had been passengers on the Awa Maru as she set sail on her own voyage of discovery. She travels from Japan to Singapore in search of the truth and a “piece of her history” and makes poignant and touching discoveries of the lives of her parents and some of the other families as they prepared to board the Awa Maru.
The Japanese hospital ship, the Awa Maru was given a guarantee of safe passage to 2007 Japanese civilians and military personnel who had been ‘fortunate’ enough to secure places on board. On March 27, 1945, amidst much joy and tears of farewell, the ship set sail from Singapore en route to Japan carrying some men but mostly women and children. The scramble for passages had been fierce and selective and the 2007 souls on board counted themselves very lucky to have been selected for the trip home. On April 1, 1945 in the dead of night, the ‘ghost ship’ with its eerie illuminated white crosses shrouded in thick fog was mistaken for a military vessel and torpedoed the American submarine ‘Queenfish’. It sank within minutes taking almost all of the 2007 passengers to their watery graves.
Rei Kimura is a lawyer with a passion for writing about unique events and personalities. She has adopted an interesting style of creating stories around true events and the lives of real people. With this objective in mind, Rei has touched on these historical events of the horrific sinking of the Awa Maru and woven it into touching story of the people who lived and died through this event.