Letters of the
Lost Children

Japan — World War II

See what our readers said about "Letters Of The Lost Children Japan - World War II

"Unique,Touching and filled with Hope"
“With 'Letters of the Lost Children,' Reinhold C. Ferster and Jan Atchley Bevan have accomplished something unique, touching, and filled with hope. Beginning from an album of portraits of young Japanese soldiers killed in World War II, the authors imagine the letters these child soldiers might have written home—if only they could. Interwoven with commentary rooted in a deep understanding of wartime Japanese culture, the book offers a deeply moving, speculative portrait of young men – oh, so terribly young – facing near-certain annihilation in the closing years of a war their country could never win. The book is rich with compassion and, paradoxically, a deep appreciation of the power of human brotherhood.”

T. Flynn 
Editor, FREE INQUIRY Magazine

 "Reveals Beauty of a new humanity"

Letters of the Lost Children Japan - WWII and the imagined letters, tenderly give voice and honor to the silent faces of unknown student soldiers, some as young as twelve - mere children - who served and died for their country. In a sense,their souls became the bonding agent for Japan's brokenness.

The book reveals the beauty of a new humanity,
birthed through East meeting West in battle.

The Reverend Jean Dodd

"As a Mother myself, I was very touched...."

It is with a lot of emotions that I read the book: the lost children. Knowing that it is probably the letters that those children would have written... As a mother myself I was very touched by the photos of those so young men which you rightly called children...that could have been my sons if I would have been Japanese and living in Japan at that time.
The Japanese loyalty to the Emperor and to their country is well known and was especially remarkable...in the period covered by the book.
I also learned about some Japanese traditions and history.
Ce qui m'a le plus touchée ce sont ces visages si jeunes, si beaux....ces jeunes garçons à peine adolescents qui ont donné leur vie à venir pour leur pays. (The phrase in French means "what touches me).
Those very young men were lost in the war, and would have been lost in the collective memory ... without this book.
Thanks to the authors, they have given them a bit of the life that was stolen from them.

Lise Bernier
Montreal PQ, Canada

"Humanitarian book"

This is a remarkable book that speaks to the readers’ compassion and offers well-researched cultural background information to understand the
broader context of the individual letters.
Two dozen portrait photographs of boys and young men in Japanese uniforms caught Reinhold Fester’s attention in a photo album at a Military Collection Show. The humanity expressed in those faces never lost their fascination.  Reinhold Ferster and Jan Bevan engaged their poetic voice in creating imaginary letters those nameless young people might have written home to their parents, peers, and loved ones. The fictive correspondence aides the reality of these photographs together with their emotional content, to speak to the world – no matter what century, what culture, what pedigree: the young human being, full of hope and enthusiasm, wants to live and grow peacefully. This book aims at the intercultural understanding and the compassion for the human price extracted from the millions of individuals pulled into the vortex of World War II.
Ferster and Bevan achieved a strong, conceived presentation in image and words, appealing design, and surprising details. 

Susanne Schuenke, Ph.D. 

"Justifying your feelings in regarding losses to war"

I was given a copy of the book LETTERS OF THE LOST CHILDREN written by a very dear friend of mine. I do not profess myself to be a reading junky, let alone a history buff. I however am not about to let a gift of this type to go into a closet and forget about it.

My curiosity got the best of me being an old Vietnam veteran and proud title holder of U. S. Marine. (yes some of us can read) I must admit I had some trepidation going into this due to my history in dealing with the "Asian Persuasion" I guess you could say that I still have negative thoughts in this area, but that put aside I read on. Much to my surprise I found this to be a very good read, and it held my attention in its entirety. At a few spots, I found my thoughts going back to my experiences and felt paralleled to some of these young warriors such as the section TWO TOMBS. I was very touched by the section THE WAY TO HATRED, as well as TRUTH. I couldn't help but feel related to these young men who were brought up in a peaceful culture, only to be destroyed by a political machine. Not so very different from what my generation was subjected to. Serving with honor yet fearing the unknown. Not so very different, eh?

Randy Rider - USMC Vietnam Veteran

“It is well worth reading”

Based on pictures of Japanese student-soldiers collected by an anonymous American soldier, Ferster and Bevan explore the history and culture of World War II Japan. In the latter days of the war, younger and younger soldiers were sent to the front lines, all the way down to 12 years old. They were ready to die for the Emperor and many of them did.

The pictures convey considerable feeling. The letters connected with each picture were written by Ferster and Bevan. They contain much cultural information that complements the historical introduction to Imperial Japan and the deified
Emperor Showa Hirohito.

Ferster and Bevan wrote this book as “a tribute to all the millions of children of wars of all cultures, for now and for all generations to come.” It is well worth reading. 

K. Christiansen

"Read Letters carefully and take time to intently study the faces"

Letters beautifully describes the plight of young student soldiers who, once the actual fighting begins, have no idea what is to become of them.

The photographs of these young men in Letters reminds us all that we, too, were young and that we all shared many common traits from our childhood. These traits allowed us to dream of our futures devoid of war and what we would like to become. It is sad enough when a young life is lost to disease or accident but when it is extinguished in war it is truly tragic.

Read Letters carefully and take time to intently study the faces of these brave young student soldiers. Authors Ferster and Bevan have provided the reader an invaluable lesson from which we and all those who lead our nations should take to heart.

Letters of the Lost Children Japan – World War II provides a powerful reminder that
when countries are ruled by leaders who plunge their nations into wars that the most innocent will always suffer for their actions.

Paul A. Ghiotto
National Park Service Historian (ret)

"I learned a lot from reading through it"

I am not a frequent reader of World War II books, but I found this one worth the read.
It is very well done both literally and structurally. Although it includes fictitious letters, these are excellently written and put in context with the entire intent of the book. Hard to put down without continuing with the next page(s) through to the end. With the added history that backs up the possibility of the letter content, I learned a lot from reading through it(more than once). And will read it again, as well as research more writings about this time in our history.
Regardless which side one claims to, I'm sure you will be touched by what you read here.

R. Nowack

“Poignant and Gripping”

The word "unique" is over-used and often misused (Remember your 6th grade English teacher telling you there is no such thing as "more unique."), but it truly fits this extraordinary piece of work. In trying to recommend the book to friends, I fail completely when they ask, "OK, so what other book is it like? I have lots to read." The answer is, "Read it, because it ISN'T like other books." The writing is at once poignant and gripping, and it offers a perspective on the effects of international conflict that is rarely found, much less articulated so comprehensively. For me, what is perhaps most interesting is that I avoid all books based on war. This one I might have missed altogether. But as an older adult, I cherish it in the way I did my favorite book as a five-year-old.

Rachel Garrity - CEO Penworthy LLC • Writer • Editor