Alumna Translates Message of Hope

By Brittany Fredeen on April 10, 2006

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PUC alumna Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson recently published her first book-length translation, Rainbow Over Hell. Currently a free-lance writer, this 1997 PUC graduate shares with English-readers the true story of a man transformed from an assassin to a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Written by award-winning Japanese author Tsuneyuki Mohri, Rainbow Over Hell was printed by two major Japanese publishing houses in 2005 and is now available for the first time in English.

Rainbow Over Hell describes Saburo Arakaki’s journey after joining a group of militants at 18 during the 1944 war in Saipan. After the final surrender of Saipan he was arrested for assassinating two men thought to be corroborating with the U.S. Air Force, and was sentenced to death. During his time in prison he discovered the Bible and was so transformed by his new faith that his own warden petitioned for his release. In 1954 Arakaki received a full pardon from President Eisenhower and returned to Japan, where he became a Seventh-day Adventist minister.

Fujimoto-Johnson sees the story as valuable on two levels. “This book is historically significant as a Pacific War account, but just as importantly, it’s also a message of hope.” She adds, “It was a privilege to translate the work of a distinguished author like Tsuneyuki Mohri and to be a part of the effort to bring this incredible story to English-reading audiences.”

Fujimoto-Johnson first tried her hand at Japanese-English translation as a student at PUC. For her senior Honors project she translated her grandmother’s autobiography and poetry. Majoring in international communication, French and graphic design, she worked as editor of the yearbook and also as the editor of the Campus Chronicle. Since graduation her fiction and essays have been published in several magazines.  

Fujimoto-Johnson has translated another book by Tsuneyuki Mohri since the publication of Rainbow over Hell. This work, entitled Never Lose Your Smile is the story of Fujimoto-Johnson’s grandmother’s life during WWII. This book is currently being considered for publication.