Kissing Stars Over the Rising Sun | Paige Etheridge
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162526867X
Emerging from the ashes of Post WWII Japan, the Pan Pan were born. Transforming themselves into the antitheses of what Japanese women were supposed to be; they were the loud, vulgar, and independent lovers of the American GIs occupying their land.
For many of these Women of the Night, it became more about pleasure and riches than survival; burning brightly for a few years before being wiped out by the Japanese themselves. Nearly erased from history for being too wild. This is the story of one of these women. Her name is Miyako
“They were beautiful, but dangerous. They needed to be to survive. This added to their appeal. Perhaps she too was in love with war. War transformed her into a better lover as well. War gave her the opportunity to love in the first place. She wanted to make her mark on the war as it had on her.”
Interview with the Author
What inspired you to write about the Pan Pan?
It was a dream during my Senior Year of College when I was plotting out my Senior Project. In the dream, my teacher from my Vietnam and America class told me to look at Harajuku Street in Japan Post WWII. Pretty specific. I started reading “Embracing Defeat” by John Dower which was recommended to me by another teacher when I told them about my intentions.
From there I found out about the Pan Pan women. I was immediately fascinated by them. They were the antithesis of what was expected of a Japanese woman. They smoked, cursed, had no problem with PDA (public displays of affection), and many made more money than their fathers ever had. They were open about sexual desires.
They knew better English than Japanese politicians, had a strong sense of independence, and started fashion trends still alive today. Yes, their lives were controversial, but their impact is so important. Yet most of the world doesn’t even know they existed. You don’t have to agree with their choices, but they deserve to be remembered.
How did you go about researching the subject?
A Greek Ancestor of mine was serving in the American military and was stationed in Japan during the Occupation. I interviewed him to get a feel of what Japan was like at that time. I also interviewed a Japanese man who was working on his doctorate about the exact time period I was writing about.
Interviewing both men gave me a much better picture of what life was like for the Pan Pan; sharper than what was possible from books or articles alone. It’s one thing to see the devastation of Hiroshima in a book. It’s a whole other level to hear your Great Uncle talking about it and see the photos he took.
It’s another experience altogether to hear a Japanese man talking about it while showing you private pictures he had as well.
Is there a specific character that the book focuses on or is it more about the movement as a whole?
The story follows Miyako in particular, who becomes a Pan Pan in the book. You also get to see the darker side of the lifestyle through her companion, Shinju.
Describe the book in five words.
Intense. Dark. Jarring. Carnal. Honest.
About the Author
Of Athenian descent, Paige Etheridge is a Black Belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, a Pisces Sun/ Leo Moon/ Aries Ascendant, a Taoist and a compulsive writer. A graduate of the SUNY Purchase’s highly selective Lily Lieb Port Writing program for Creative Writing (where she carried a second major in History), Paige is an ex-MMA journalist who has been published in several magazines, including Inked.
Paige lives near Virginia Beach with her Police Officer husband Scott and her dog Athena. Paige and Athena walk every day despite the weather. She is an avid cook and gardener and tends to binge on True Crime, Gaming, Astrology and Paranormal YouTube videos. Paige loves old rock music and is a fan of Metal Gear Solid games, which she admits to playing constantly.