Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Book Talk: Escape from Manchuria

Mon, March 19, 2012 | Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Book Talk: Escape from Manchuria

In the closing days of WWII, the Soviet Union attacked and occupied Japanese-controlled northern China, then called Manchuria. Immediately, misery and death from cold, hunger, disease, and brutality descended upon the Japanese civilians at the hands of the Soviet Army and revenge-seeking mobs and bandits. Nearly 2,500 Japanese died daily.

Three courageous men embarked on a secret mission and escaped to Japan to eventually bring an end to the Manchurian nightmare. In the riveting story, Escape from Manchuria, the son of one of the three courageous men narrates for the Western readers a compelling tale of the rescue and repatriation of nearly 1.7 million Japanese that began almost a year after the surrender of Japan.

Escape from Manchuria describes the indispensable role that General Douglas MacArthur and his staff played in the repatriation. It also discloses the role played by the Catholic Church in Manchuria and Japan in assisting the three men to achieve this monumental success. The heroics of the three men have not been fully recognized, even in Japan, because they took on the mission of rescue as private citizens, without the consent or knowledge of the then-utterly helpless Japanese government. This is the story of their courage and determination to save the lives of their fellow Japanese.

About the Author

Paul K. Maruyama, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.) is currently President of the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado (JASSC) which promotes understanding and cooperation between citizens of Southern Colorado and Japan.  He is a Board member for the Center for International Exchange (CIE) headquartered in Tokyo that organizes and conducts the annual Japan-America Grassroots Summits (Manjiro Summit).  He was honored with a Certificate of Commendation from the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2008 for his contribution to promoting US-Japan relationship.

Maruyama was born a U.S. citizen in Japan and attended U.S. Department of Defense schools there before coming to the U.S. upon graduation from high school.  He graduated from San Jose State University in California where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force through the ROTC program in 1966.  He received his MBA from the University of Hawaii in 1971.  During the “first half” of his nearly 22 year of active military service, he was an intelligence officer stationed in Japan, Viet Nam, and Thailand.  During the “second half” of his career, he was assigned to the USAF Academy where he taught Japanese language and physical education.  He retired from active duty in 1987.

Maruyama was an active competitor in the sport of judo and was a member of the 1964 (Tokyo) U.S. Olympic Team; additionally, he has represented the United States in five world judo championships.  He is a former World Military Judo champion.  He also served twice as head coach of the United States Olympic Judo Team (1980 and 1984). He is presently a lecturer of Japanese at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He lives in Monument, Colorado, with his wife LaRae.

Sponsored by: Center for East Asian Studies, Department of Asian Studies

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