Education About Asia: Online Archives

Bridge to the Sun

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By Gwen Terasaki
NEWPORT: WAKESTONE BOOKS, 2000
272 PAGES

Reviewed by Craig Loomis

In the winter of 1930, twenty-three-year-old Gwen Harold left Johnson City, Tennessee, to visit an aunt in Washington D.C. for what she thought would be no more than two or three months. Little did she know that within a year, she would fall in love and marry Hidenari (Terry) Terasaki, a diplomat with the Japanese Foreign Office, and thus guarantee herself a “front row seat” to the approaching juggernaut of World War II.

Bridge to the Sun is Gwen Terasaki’s record of how she, as an American married to a Japanese, along with their daughter, Mariko, make their tortuous way leading up to and through the chaotic war years. And yet, what makes Bridge to the Sun such a fascinating memoir is not simply the author’s unique vantage point but also, and perhaps more importantly, her perspective on the life and times of war-torn Japan through “American eyes.”