Review: Pacific Islands Report

A review of Rainbow Over Hell appears in Pacific Islands Report, a publication of the Hawaii-based organization, East-West Center.

Lindsay M. Timarong Pangelinan, assistant editor of the journal, writes that Rainbow Over Hell is "beautifully written and colorfully descriptive of the ravages of war and the objectivity of duty. It is not overly religious and yet it captures the spiritual basis of emotional and psychological transformation. It is an easy and interesting read for casual readers and serious war history buffs alike."

Read the entire review here.

Pacific Islands Report exists to facilitate communication within the Pacific basin and among developing Pacific nations. The service is underwritten by the East-West Center and is supported by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawaii.


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Behind the Scenes: Filming "Testament"

Musician/artist Yoshika Caraig was instrumental in orchestrating the English translation of Rainbow Over Hell. I knew of Yoshika--and even corresponded with her briefly--starting in 1999 when she and one of her friends were eagerly pressing for the book to be translated into English. More recently, I've had the privilege of becoming friends with Yoshika, and I was surprised to learn that she is connected, not only to the long-awaited publication of the English edition of Rainbow Over Hell, but also to Pastor Saburo Arakaki and an earlier broadcast of his story.

Before the book, Rainbow Over Hell, a TV documentary called "Testament" aired on Japanese television. "Testament" documented Pastor Arakaki's return to Saipan, Guam, and Hawaii in 1987 to retrace the steps of his amazing story.

Author Tsuneyuki Mohri and a camera crew from Kyushu-Asahi Broadcasting Company accompanied Pastor Arakaki on this trip to film the documentary. (This trip would subsequently help to inspire Mr. Mohri to write Rainbow Over Hell.) Yoshika, who lived in Guam at the time, became involved as a translator for the group, and she provides here a behind-the-scenes view of the making of a segment of this documentary and the people involved.

Here is Yoshika's story, which for me, gives insight into Pastor Arakaki as a person, and also Mr. Mohri as a writer:


Behind the Scenes: Filming "Testament"

One day in July, 1987, I received a call--I don’t remember exactly who it was from, but I think it was someone from the Seventh-Day Adventist Guam Micronesian Conference, or it could have been the pastor of my church. He said that a group of Japanese people was here to film some documentary called “Testament” and they were looking for a translator. Being the only native Japanese in the Adventist church in Guam, he thought I could help them. “Sure,” I said. One of the people’s name was Pastor Saburo Arakaki, whose famous evangelistic meetings I had attended a couple times in the past. He was also the father of my high school classmate and of my former roommate.

I met the group: Mr. Yukawa, director of Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting Company and two cameramen (unfortunately I don’t remember their names), playwright Mr. Mohri, and Pastor Arakaki. Since it was my first time to encounter people who had anything to do with TV, I was naturally very curious. My memories are a blur now; I can hardly remember the details, but each man gave me an unforgettable impression. Mr. Yukawa strode about with contagious energy, always radiant. He had that air, or aura, which makes you want to work for him. He and his cameramen seemed to have a great working relationship. Listening to them talk about their work, I was mesmerized by their passion, a genuine passion, and by their child-like single-minded devotion. I thought then that they were the most beautiful people on the planet.

Mr. Mohri was rather quiet, totally different temperament from the TV men, but you could tell he was listening and observing, missing nothing that was happening around him. I wanted to ask him all sorts of questions, but, assuming that he was already constructing the story in his mind, I was afraid I might disturb him. Still, whatever silly questions I asked him, he was very patient and kind in answering me. And Pastor Arakaki, of course, still very strong in his 60s, down-to-earth, friendly, cheerful, and kind. He was the kind of man you’d immediately come to trust and to feel at home with.

They were looking for the POW prison site from the WWII. We went to the library and researched. I don’t think I was much of help, since I was not into researching at that time--I was just a naive, ignorant young woman. A reporter from the local newspaper came and interviewed them. As I translated, I became increasingly frustrated, because, from what I could peek on his notebook, his chicken-scratch memos, he didn’t take the information accurately. I tried to correct him but didn’t get anywhere with him.

A local American man came to help, but no one remembered exactly where the prison used to stand. Some suggested that it was where the police department was, some suggested some other place. I don’t recall in the end what we decided.

In the evening, Dr. Nozaki, a physician at the Seventh-Day Adventist Clinic and a passionate missionary, gathered some of the local Japanese people in a hotel conference room, so that they could hear Pastor Arakaki’s story. And of course, Pastor Arakaki, always ready to speak, once again told his story with a great passion. This time, having gotten to know him on a more personal level, his story became even more real to me, that the father of my high school friends’ had gone through such incredible experience. I couldn’t imagine my own father going through it!

Around two in the morning, suddenly the phone rang. I woke up and answered, wondering who would call at this hour. It was Mr. Yukawa, bursting with energy and jubilance. They were at the Hilton hotel restaurant, and he was inviting us to join them for a drink (or a snack). “I guess that’s how TV people are,” my husband laughed, “they never sleep.” We both had to work that same morning, but neither of us could resist Mr. Yukawa. He was a magnetic man. So we went. They were there, all of them, including Pastor Arakaki, with no trace of fatigue, just having a wonderful time.

The group left for Hawaii that day, and I was sorry to see them go.

And then I forgot all about it.

Twelve years later, in Texas, I received a video tape titled “Testament” from a friend of mine in Walla Walla, WA. I was surprised--even more so when I found out that the narrator of the English version of the “Testament” happened to be the pastor who had baptised me when I was 13. I told her that I was involved in the filming of it. It was her turn to be surprised. Immediately the word got to Mr. Mohri, and I received an autographed copy of Jigoku-no Niji (Rainbow Over Hell), dated January 5, 1999. My excitement knew no end. I read the book in one breath. This book had to be read by American people as well, my friend and I decided. Mr. Mohri agreed, and thus the process of publishing in the U.S. started. Our biggest concern was to find the right translator, but that concern was taken care of in no time. The first draft of the translation arrived. Then the second. Once the ball started rolling, there was not much we could do but wait.

It is 2006 now. And I am very excited to see the book in print, in English! Though it was a long wait, it was published at the right time, as the U. S. is, once again, in war. It’s an awesome story, and I’m confident that it will bring hope and blessings to many people who read it.

-June, 2006, Yoshika Caraig, musician/artist
Yoshika Caraig's CD: "ReCreation"
Flickr Photos
Review of Rainbow Over Hell


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New Event on the Calendar

A new event has been added to my calendar:

June 24, 2006
6 p.m.
Presentation: "The Well"
Roseville SDA Church (Roseville, CA)
914 Cirby Way
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 786-8350

I will give a 30-minute presentation, which will include a slideshow of photos related to Rainbow Over Hell. Order forms for the book will be provided (since the event will take place before sundown on Saturday).


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Event Report: Adventist Health (Douglas Office)

This morning, I was interviewed at the Douglas Office of the Adventist Health corporate headquarters for their Friday morning worship. Once again, I was interviewed by our friend, Wayne Judd, director of mission and planning at Adventist Health.

As part of the program, Wayne and I read some passages from Rainbow Over Hell--I read the original Japanese, and he read the English translation. We also showed the five-minute promo DVD for the book, which gives a synopsis of Arakaki's incredible story, and played a recording of Charlotte Church singing "Pie Jesu," which I had listened to continuously while translating the Suicide Cliff scene.

Once again, I was moved by the enthusiastic and sometimes emotional response to the book. One man was overcome with emotion as he shared that his father had fought in the Battle of Okinawa and still struggles with his memories of taking lives in battle.

This reminded me that the non-physical wounds of war run deep in the psyche and that healing for World War II veterans is still very much an on-going process. My wish continues to be that Rainbow Over Hell will be a bridge of healing for those World War II veterans.


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