About the Author
B. Jeanne Shibahara studied fiction writing from Mark Harris (Bang the Drum Slowly) and copywriting from Beth Luey (Editorial Consultant, Chicago Manual of Style, 16thEd.) in the MA program for creative writing at Arizona State University.
In Japan, B. Jeanne has taught English at a private university, written articles for research groups, and created jazz lyrics for composer Hajime Kitamura.
Daughter of a US military officer, she married into a family of calligraphy, ikebana, and tea ceremony teachers, shamisen player, kimono fabric artist, business entrepreneur, and architect. Her home is in Nara City, the ancient capital of Japan.
KA • E • RO • U is a testimony to the human spirit that bridges differences and overcomes divisions, so different from the spirit that prevailed in the 1930s and 1940s and sent our grandparents and parents to war.
—Elaine Gerbert, University of Kansas, translator of a
Edogawa Ranpo’s Strange Tale of Panorama Island
Back Story of KA-E-RO-U
Time To Go Home
Time-slip to my Osaka life, 1995, fifty years after the end of WWII—bubble economy ready to burst and the seed to KA-E-RO-U falls into my hands. A WWII Japanese flag. A widow of a US veteran in Akron, Ohio sends the flag to a colleague of mine, asks him to find the family of the fallen soldier who had carried it into the battlefields. In January, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake; weeks later, the Tokyo Subway sarin attack.
Time leap, 2009—my father has passed away. His dream of wanting to write a novel lingers in my thoughts. Three months married, at-home wife, time on my hands to make his dream come true. I start the novel KA-E-RO-U, set in 1995, about a woman in Arizona who takes a WWII flag to Japan to find the family of the fallen soldier.
Colleagues from my years in Arizona and later in Osaka (now scattered around the world) edit the novel, demanding romance, a believable story and lovable characters, lots of laughs, a few tearjerking scenes, and most important—nothing psychologically deep and depressing like those novels in lit. classes. They also want to “learn something” from it, to see different perspectives of life in Japan from the eyes of Japanese characters and expat characters.
The Real-Life Story
What actually happened to the flag?
My ikebana teacher enlisted the help of her student whose brother was a newspaper reporter. The quest began. The reporter found one relative of the fallen soldier—a younger sister—living in Aomori’s apple-growing district.
The newspaper article was later picked up by the Associated Press and included a picture of the sister with her brother’s bloodstained flag.
Soon after, the widow in Ohio opened her newspaper and read about that flag she had sent to Osaka.
QUOTES FROM KA･E･RO･U TIME TO GO HOME
A selection of the best quotes from the book.
Shinko Yamaguchi (山口真功), the award-winning Osaka artist of light and one-scene love stories, did these paintings for KA-E-RO-U Time To Go Home.
I hadn’t completed the first draft when, at one of his exhibitions, my friend Shinko asked me what I’d been up to.
“I’ve been writing a novel.”
“A love story. I know I’m right.”
And he was.
I asked if he minded me using the painting I had of his for the book cover.
“I’ll paint one for your novel.”
Instead he painted two!
I’m profoundly grateful to Shinko. I love his work and have always wanted the world to see it. Now the world can see this master’s paintings on the cover of KA-E-RO-U Time To Go Home.
We invite you to enjoy our collaboration of love.