Sixteen years ago, a series of events and discoveries relating to her father’s past led Louise Steinman, author of The Souvenier: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War, to the doorsteps of Suibara, Japan. Steinman traveled to Suibara in 1995 to return a Japanese flag she had found among her father’s belongings inscribed to a young man named Yoshio Shimizu, fifty years after his death on a battlefield in Luzon.
In Steinman’s thoughtful and moving blog post entitled Thoughts Towards Japan, she recalls the day in April when she returned the flag to the Shimizu family and “in the middle of that beautiful ceremony in Suibara, the room began to clatter and shake. . . . An earthquake. When it was over, we cautiously smiled at one another. There. We’d been through something together.” No one expected that sixteen years later, the devastation of an enormous earthquake and tsunami would sweep Japan as it has this past month.
Steinman’s book, The Souvenir, recounts her discovery of the story behind her father’s life during his service in the Pacific War after her parents’ death, and her travels to Japan to determine the identity of Yoshio Shimizu and the origins of the flag. Read Steinman’s blog: crookedmirror.wordpress.com to discover her unlikely connection to Japan and how that has effected her thoughts on the country’s current devastation.
Steinman was a featured speaker at the 2009 First Year Experience Random House Luncheon. Click here to watch Part 1 and Part 2 of her speech on the inspiration and motivation behind her book. The Souvenir was selected as the 2006 Silicon Valley Readings for over 15 cities and also chosen by Penn State for its 2003 Freshman Year Reading Program.