Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondend Paul Brinkley-Rogers reminisces on his lost love, an enigmatic older Japanese woman named Kaji Yukiko.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Arts Issue: October 2016
Group Free
Pin It

“The one that got away” is a cliché for a reason – nearly all of us have a would-be soul mate who slipped out of our grasps when the timing just wasn’t right. For Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Paul Brinkley-Rogers, the “one” was Kaji Yukiko, an enigmatic older Japanese woman he romanced in the summer of 1959, when he was a 19-year-old sailor on the USS Shangri-La. Brinkley-Rogers, now retired and living in Phoenix, tells their star-crossed tale in Please Enjoy Your Happiness (Touchstone, $25), a series of letters, poetry and reminiscences. The plot thickens with marriage, divorce, a suicide attempt and a foiled kidnap by the Yakuza, Japan’s notorious crime syndicate. Throughout, Brinkley-Rogers’ paean to his lost love is also a lament of the years lost – after all this time, he hopes Yukiko is still alive and that they will be reunited.

– Leah LeMoine