Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, America retaliated with the Doolittle Raid, attacking Japan. The Japanese didn’t relent after the raid, growing more determined to bomb American’s mainland. This scenario sets the stage for “Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story,” by Marc Tyler Nobleman. It's an amazing tale of forgiveness.
In September 1942, Japanese pilot Nobui Fujita dropped two bombs near Brookings, Oregon. The mission’s intent was to start a fire to engulf nearby towns. But the ground was too damp and only a small forest fire started, which was quickly extinguished. At the site, metal fragments with Japanese markings were found, a discovery that shook the residents of Brookings.
Fujita made another attempt to bomb America, but was again unsuccessful. However, the Japanese believed bombs on both missions had detonated, and were pleased they’d “caught America off guard.”
After the war Fujita returned to Japan but never shared his war exploits with anyone, even though the memories were foremost in his mind. The town of Brookings didn’t forget either. In 1962, their Rotary Club tracked down Fujita and invited him to Brookings on Memorial Day. So began a series of heartwarming events and reciprocal visits.
This beautiful story with its message of courage and hope is realistically illustrated by Melissa Iwai, who’s Japanese, a fitting collaboration between the book’s artist and author carrying through the story’s theme of goodwill.