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This web site on kamikaze images combines my interests in Japan-U.S. relations, computer technology, and Japanese language, society, and history. This project builds on my previous studies for an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield in the U.K. I created this web site as the final project for my MA in Liberal Studies at Wesleyan University with a concentration in computerized communications.

I first became interested in Japan's kamikaze in April 2000 when I visited the museum at Yasukuni Jinja, located in Tokyo near the Imperial Palace. At that time the museum had a special exhibit of last letters written by kamikaze pilots. The letters contained a variety of sentiments, including resolve, patriotism, and love for family. Surprising to me, they did not reflect fear or bitterness. Some letters brought tears to my eyes, and many visitors wept as they read the moving letters. I bought a couple of books of these letters, translated one letter to English, and put it up on my web site. After that time, I did not pursue my interest in kamikaze until 2003, when I started thinking about the topic of my final project for my degree from Wesleyan University.

I am also interested in the history of the Friendship Dolls exchanged between Japan and the U.S., and I have had the wonderful opportunity to visit and give presentations at many Japanese elementary schools and kindergartens that still have Friendship Dolls sent from American children in 1927. I maintain a web site about the Friendship Dolls and their continuing role in promoting understanding, peace, and friendship between children and adults in Japan and America.

My wife and I enjoy coordinating international exchange activities between Japanese and American schools and other organizations.  For example, this year we have translated letters for friendship exchanges between elementary schools in Virginia and Gunma Prefecture and schools in Massachusetts and Iwate Prefecture. I enjoy corresponding with many Japanese people, including children, by e-mail and regular mail.

I work as a financial manager at Pratt & Whitney, a leading manufacturer of jet engines. Previous positions have been at United Technologies, Dresser Industries (merged with Halliburton Company in 1998), and Arthur Andersen. I am a CPA and have several other professional certifications. I also have a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from Northwestern University.

Bill Gordon
45 Midway Drive, Cromwell, CT 06416
e-mail address: wgordon@wesleyan.edu