Dear Gloria: Homesick for America in Wartime Japan was first brought to me by editor Gregg Ramshaw. The book, a series of diary entries by Toneko Kimura kept during World War II, was already going to be published in Japan, and the authors were looking to simultaneously publish it in America in time for the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Toneko lived an extraordinary life, and the book captures, in her own words, one of the most tumultuous times in her life and in the world at large. The challenge here was to describe this unique book and illustrate the dichotomy of her loyalty to America, where she grew up, and her loyalty to Japan, where she held citizenship and lived during the war. The book description appeared in press releases, marketing material, buy pages, and on the book's jacket.

Dear Gloria Book Description

I loved America almost as much as Japan. I was brought up there. I sang their national anthem and even pledged allegiance to their flag. I lived among them & knew their every sorrow & happiness. But I had a country. I belonged to a country that hated America so I had to hate too. I had to hate what I loved most—but now the war's over. Do I still have to hate?

Dear Gloria is the diary of a Japanese teenager, Toneko Kimura, written in the form of letters to her childhood best friend Gloria Goodman. Toneko started the diary after leaving America, where she had been living since she was five years old. The impending war led many Japanese nationals to return "home," although it was a barely remembered home for Toneko. She could speak only elementary Japanese, preferred Western clothing, and wrote her diary in English. She thought like an American, spoke like an American, and behaved like an American. Along with other returnees, Toneko was forced to go to a special school that reintegrated children into Japanese culture, language, and society.

Her fluency in English was first scorned, but became a sought-after skill in wartime Japan. At seventeen she was recruited to act in Japanese propaganda radio programs transmitted in English to American forces in the Pacific, much like the infamous "Tokyo Rose." She used the opportunity to reach out to America again, hoping that Gloria was somehow listening across the sea.

After the bombing of Hiroshima and the Emperor's surrender, Toneko felt torn by her divided loyalties. Japan was no longer at war with America, but for the first time Toneko felt she was betraying her country by harboring love for America. She stopped addressing her diary entries to Gloria and began to write exclusively in Japanese. Soon after, Toneko's bilingual abilities were called upon again, this time by the American army of occupation to serve as an interpreter for the Yokohama War Crimes Trials. Still just a teenager, Toneko sat in the courtroom with the accused Japanese officers and translated the proceedings and verdicts to them. Working for U.S. forces and flirting with handsome GIs, Toneko felt the pull of American culture once again. In a tempestuous time, Toneko's diary captures the fascinating love triangle between a teenage girl and two nations at war.