Letters of the Lost Children Japan - World War II

   A Creative non-fictional account inspired by historical events inspired by an actual 1940’s album purchased by co-author Reinhold Ferster is based on original school photos of WWII Japanese student/soldiers. An unknown American GI, most likely encountered each of them in battle, and mounted each photo he removed from their persons into his token album.
We were inspired to personalize and humanize them as if the heart and hand of each soldier had written them. Slowly, each character came alive with every penned word of loyalty.
Japan has not been our enemy since 1945. It is not that we chose not to honor our valiant American Veterans, because we have - we are Americans. Yet, Letters of the Lost Children Japan-World War II is an historical account of not only a victory in war, but it also ended an entire time of antiquity… the Imperial Age of Japan. 

Reinhold C. Ferster,
born in Buffalo, NY, studied commercial art at the University of Buffalo and Rochester Institute of Technology.

He served in the U.S. Navy aboard destroyers and later as an illustrator in the Admiral’s Public Information Office, Newport, Rhode Island. He also served simultaneously as a 2nd Lt., Rhode Island Militia, historical command,
Newport Artillery Company.

After working as a commercial artist and copywriter at ad agencies, Reinhold opened an advertising & marketing agency in Buffalo and Toronto, Canada.

With a passionate interest in world cultures, he coined the phrase, “Visual Protocol,” meaning “the perception and interpretation of visual messages by cultures other than our own.” He wrote a series of articles for the Jacksonville Business Journal, titled “as They See It.” Reinhold also 
was a political cartoonist.

Jan Atchley Bevan 
is a published author of children’s books and poetry. She was Author in Residence of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida from 2000 to 2008. Jan was a Literary Art Educator in the Education Department of the Cummer Museum where she brought art and education together on a daily basis. Jan Atchley Bevan has a long appreciation of history and its importance to everything we experience in our lives.

Jan is an author of children’s literature (two illustrated children’s books), and creative non-fictional historical events. Also a poet, she is a pianist and musical composer. A former psychiatric social worker, Jan Bevan earned her BS in Psychology from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and her Master’s in Pastoral Studies and Theology from Loyola University, New Orleans, LA. She was an ambassador to VSA (Very Special Arts) of Florida. The National headquarters of VSA is in Washington D.C. and is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Jan Atchley Bevan considers herself a lifelong student of history. She feels that “cultures build their foundations on the past, their strength on the present, and their future by embracing both.”   

Author’s Notes

Only the letters we created are works of fiction. Each letter is based on true historical events. We, the authors, were inspired by an album filled with genuine school and graduation photographs of very young Japanese student soldiers.

These “Lost Children” remain unknown, as does the American G.I. who killed them in battle. He removed each photograph, both military and personal, from the pockets of their uniforms and placed them in his souvenir album.

As was fairly common in war, the unknown American G.I. placed each photo into a personal album and returned home with the album at the end of World War II.

Through research, we learned that near the end of World War II, there were so few men left to fight that boys as young as 13 were taken to serve in battle. 

We compassionately divided up the photographs and invited the faces of each student soldier to speak to us and come to life once more. Through our imagined creations we expressed in letters the stories of who they may have been. Our voices became their voices. They fought and died bravely as once did their noble warriors, the Samurai.

Letters of the Lost Children: Japan — World War II is, above all, a tribute to the human spirit.

“If we are to teach real peace in this world,
and if we are to carry on a real war against war, 
we shall have to begin with the children.” 

— Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi