Escape from Manchuria: The Rescue of 1.7 Million Japanese Civilians Trapped in Soviet-Occupied Manchuria Following the End of World War II by Paul Maruyama

June 28, 2018


There is no one who can contradict the fact that the World War II is one of the most horrific events in human history. The scale of misery and trauma has been well-documented and is something that anyone can give substance to with a simple google search. But not too many people know of this story of Japanese civilians, stranded in Manchuria at the end of the Second World War. As a matter of fact, the story is not extensively well-known even in Japan. That is why this book is very special and one of a kind.

Escape from Manchuria is an intriguing, spine-tingling, heartbreaking and a moving story of three men whose unfaltering belief in the greatness of humanity empowered them to leave no stone unturned, see it through and to reunify over a million refugees and their loved ones against overwhelming odds to their homeland. The author administers the fundamental historical background information to the reader which is necessary to understand how and why the Japanese families came to be in Manchuria and the repression of Japanese society by the military leading up to the war. The desire of the three men to get up and go in an environment where they were skeptical of whom they could trust and their escape to Japan is an inspiring tale well told.

I am deeply moved by this story. I am touched by the benevolence and humaneness demonstrated by General MacArthur and the active reinforcement provided by the Nationalist Chinese Government. Paul's father, Kunio, is an attestant to the unvarnished truth, bravery and faith. And Paul Maruyama? This was my first exposure to him, and I was astounded at how poetic and how heartbreaking his writing is. I began reading this book believing that nothing would be new to me, and found myself undeniably lost beautifully within the first few pages.

This book is definitely well worth reading especially by WWII history buffs. I think this book will be a great movie too and I can't wait to see it on the big screen someday!

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