Kurofune: The Black Ships – A Novel Of World War 2

Kurofune is a war story, a love story, a story of redemption and rebirth.

The Battle of Saipan saw the Pacific War’s largest Japanese Banzai attack. Over 4,000 Japanese soldiers died while about 1,000 Marines lost their lives during this harrowing nightmare of a suicide thrust by the Japanese to push the Americans back into the sea.

“Kurofune” tells the story of that tragedy against a backdrop of nationalism, military fanaticism, heroism and self sacrifice. Yet Kurofune is also a love story, a war story, a story of redemption and a story of rebirth.


Akira Mizutani, his wife Mariko and their 9-year old son Shoichi loved Saipan. But Akira was fearful that Japan’s vision of South East Asian expansion and Micronesian control in the 1930s and 40s was madness and would have dire consequences for the safety of his family and the people of his small island.

Ted Culp of Bremerton Washington wanted to be a Marine more than anything else. The unprovoked Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour had set a fire in his soul. He was eager to go! Yet he was torn between his sense of duty to serve his country and his faith. He ultimately decides to leave Bremerton and the love of his life for the killing beaches and jungles of the central Pacific atolls and islands.

Unbeknownst to Ted and Akira, this Pacific War would bring them together in a way that they could never have imagined. Their lives would never be the same again.

The “EBook” and / or Paperback version are now available and can be purchased through Amazon at:


You can also purchase this book at Munro’s book store on Government Street in Victoria BC.

Of note: The character of Ruth in this book was based upon a dear friend of mine who passed away 19 August 2019 from cancer.  My sincere condolences to Pascal and his family. She will be missed.

What readers have to say about Kurofune:

John Morrison’s recent novel “Kurofune The Black Ships” is a superb first effort.

The epic story of American gallantry and victory over the brave, but totally fanatical Japanese military is well organized and researched. The cast of characters from the main protagonist Pte Ted Culp, to Pte Airie (Boo Hoo), and Pte Niles (the Reverend) are true comrades-in-arms soldiers. This particular story of the US Marines who literally fought their way through hell, in the numerous campaigns of the South Pacific, is well worth telling again. Focusing on how just one Marine Pte Culp, left his small American town to answer his country’s call to Arms. John’s novel is a joy to read and
is reminiscent of the millions of young men and women who also sacrificed their lives and health for the freedom we enjoy today! At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. SEMPER FIDELIS.


Wow! What a great book. There is not that many authors that can put you right there with the characters as their stories unfold. This author has achieved that and more. You don’t just read this book you feel it. This book should be made into a movie so more people can get a better understanding of both sides of that horrible conflict, or better yet “read the book”.

Robin Lalonde

“Kurofune: The Black Ships is a well balanced, descriptive novel depicting both the lives of a young US marine and a family from Saipan brought together during the war in the Pacific. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first novel by John Morrison and hope there will be more to come! BZ!”

R Cooke

“Just finished reading “Kurofune – The Black Ships” a novel of World War 11 written by John Morrison. I found it very educational as I knew nothing about the Pacific War, or even where Saipan was located. The author has gone into great detail to keep this history as accurate as possible, yet still opening up their stories, for both sides, Japanese and Americans. How life changes with war, yet still trying to find the good in people, making some sense of it all and carry on. There is the loss of friends, hope for a better day, and of course a little romance. Totally enjoyed the book, and learned a lot about that era.”

L Munro

“GREAT BOOK” John, couldn’t put it down. Loved the way you wove in the military, historical and personal aspects of this very important part of WW II. Your descriptions of the battle from a marines prospectus really made me appreciate the sacrifices these young men made. Also really enjoyed the way you interwove the personal stories of the family on Siapan and Ted Culp, showing the huge and lasting consequence of War on peoples lives. Well done, a must read and I can see a movie coming out of this. Marijke would have been very proud.”

B Dow


Some pictures from the Battle of Saipan

Garapan, Saipan: Picture was taken shortly after the Bombardment June 1944

Garapan’s main street after the bombardment.

A home impacted by the bombardment.

Kurofune. By the EBook or Paperback through Amazon.com



And on a little lighter side, another book of mine that is available for purchase through Amazon:

“I Thought I’d Died and Gone To Heaven”

An Excerpt:

“The next day and the days after that next day at work were
gruesome. I may have been making three dollars and forty-five
cents an hour, but no amount of money could compensate the
physical pain and misery of that job. Shovelling gravel into those
inanimate buckets, hour after hour, day after day for the hottest
summer on record was pure unadulterated torture. I was
dreaming of them. My bucket list! And the only sound heard,
besides Zal’s taunts for more “fucking pitch” being the grunts
and groans from our bodies and the huffs and puffs of our
laboured breaths with every shovelful of gravel taken. Sweat just
poured down every crease and crevasse of our beings. Taking
stints up on the flat roof itself provided no relief with a hot
glaring sun beating down mercilessly on our lithe bodies. The
humidity was a killer. The hard physical work and the potential
for dehydration made it harder and harder to keep our pants
above the waist. As roofers we had the plumber’s crack in
spades. It was kind of comical watching everyone on the crew
continuously pulling up on their pants or tightening their belts as
if stricken by a nervous twitch. On top of that, by the end of the
day, our calloused hands were the worse for wear as newly
formed blisters would crack, then burst, then sting, as the flayed
skin would shed and coagulate with the pus and the blood, which
became an ugly brownish red in colour. The soles of our work
boots expanded vertically, about two to four inches, as the tar and
gravel stuck to the undersides of our boots as we walked around
by the area of the hot tar kettle, the conveyor belt, and the adjacent
pile of gravel. It would take us some time to scrape the
gooey mess off of our boots at the end of the day. But we felt so
tall in our high gravel heels!

“End of the day? Sore and bruised and filthy dirty in sweat
and dust. The long ride home on the bus and subway, lost in
thought, dead to the world, and praying hard and fast for rain on
the morrow or watching the clock, counting hard the seconds,
minutes, and hours before the whole miserable routine would
repeat itself. Please, dear God, let it rain tomorrow for when it
rained roofers didn’t work. But of course it was Murphy’s Law
and not God’s law that ran the day for it only rained on the

“The summer finally ended. I was in great shape physically,
well-tanned, and had a few bucks saved in the bank. I helped out
at home financially, naturally, but I didn’t have to give the
majority of my earnings to my parents as I no longer went to the
Catholic private high school for boys. I thanked God for that!
And looking back on that hot and humid summer, my first real
well-paying job, I could have easily said that life was good. In
some respects that summer was Pitcher (sic) Perfect.”

My latest book. You can check this out via the Free Preview.

Thanks for any support that you may give and have a great Navy Day!





Rob the Lob

Image result for pics of lobster

Here’s looking at you kid…Rob the Lobster!

The short piece about the lobsters in yesterdays post got me to remembering something that happened to my wife and I years ago.

I was stationed in Halifax NS. First time living in the Maritimes. My wife and I bought a house out in the Dartmouth burbs. One day she said to me. “Why don’t we have lobster tonight for dinner? I mean we have never had that before and it’s supposed to be a real delicacy down here.”

“Okay.” I said.”I’ll get a couple. We’ll have them tonight.”

So down I go to the local fisherman’s wharf after work and buy a couple of lobsters.

“They’re  canners the guy told me. Not as expensive as the real normal thingys, a bit smaller, but just as tasty.” I paid him and left. “Of course they are still alive,” he added “so be careful of the pincers.”

I got home and was proud of my catch. Changed, waited until about 6pm then went into the kitchen.

“So, are ya goin to cook these two babies?” I said to me wife. “Me?” she said looking at me quizzically. “I don’t know how to cook lobsters. I thought you were going to cook them.”

I looked at her dumbfounded and with a dumb look on my face. I was gobsmacked! Of course this was back in the day before the Internet so I couldn’t check on line to see what gobsmacked meant!

“Can’t be difficult.” I thought. So I took out a large pot. Got the lobsters and smeared them both with butter avoiding their pincers at all cost. They were still alive, withering and moving in slow motion as if they knew their fate. I turned on the oven and preheated it up to 450. Once that occurred I threw the lobsters into the pot and placed the pot into the oven. Done, now sit back relax have a few beers and wait.

All of a sudden all hell broke loose. The kitchen lit up in a cacophony of noise: click-ity clack, click-ity clack, clack, clack. Click, click, click, clack clack clack. “What the hell was going on.”I thought. I turned the oven light on and took a look. “Good gawd almighty.” I screamed. The two lobsters climbed out of the pot and were scurrying to and from all over the oven. Jesus, what now. What do I do now? I called my buddy and told him what was happening. He started to laugh.

“No, no, you idiot. You can’t bake lobsters. Too cruel to place them in the oven and slowly kill them” “So, what do I do then?” I asked of him. “You have to boil them alive. Its a better, quicker fate for them… Get a large pot of water then boil it to a running boil then throw the lobsters in and when their shells turn a bright red, they’re done.” “Oh, really” I thought, “okay.” But why don’t I just smash their heads in then throw them in.” “No, no, no. He said “You have to cook them alive otherwise a toxin is released that could make you really, really sick.”

I turned off the oven, got the largest pot I could find, filled it with water then waited until I had a running boil.  How do I get the lobsters out of the oven. They are surely going to be pissed off with me no doubt. Better avoid those pincers at all cost.

They were pissed. I could tell they were in such a state of click-ity clack panic. They slithered quickly out of the oven and fell onto the floor. Pissed off with me no doubt. The wife and I ran around the kitchen floor trying to nail these guys but to no avail. It was comical but not at the time. I don’t know who was scareder. The lobsters or us. Finally we cornered them in the corner of the kitchen and somehow got them up and into that pot. It took a while but we managed to capture them. Holding them I could sense their evil eye or feelers or antennae or whatever their tiny brain cells were that they were not all too happy about their fate or about me!

Into the pot they went and sure enough, after a short while their outer shells turned red. For good measure I left them in there for a few more minutes until I knew for certain that their lobster souls had gone to lobster heaven.

Okay, there they were. On our plates. But looking down at them it seemed to me that they were both looking back up at me and laughing. “Yeah,” I thought I heard them say: “you are an idiot. You may have won this battle but you have lost the war. Try eating us now idiot with your tools. It ain’t easy. And be careful of the green mush of our bodies. It’s disgusting.” Trying to get at their legs, tails and pincers with a knife and fork was a real challenge. I got frustrated for I knew I had lost this culinary war. I threw them out and made myself a couple of peanut butter sangys. It wasn’t until later that someone told me you have to eat them with a nut cracker in hand. “Who’s nuts are we going to crack.” I asked sheepishly. You know, when I threw them two canners out into the trash I thought I heard some cackling noises – directed my way. No,no,no, give your head a shake shakey.

Other stuff:

I see the UK is establishing a new government Ministry to address loneliness. The Ministry will be right beside the now well established and well respected, infamous Ministry of Silly Walks:

Image result for pics of ministry of silly walks

Another one bites the dust. Patrick Brown, leader of Ontario’s Conservative Party steps down and resigns amid allegations of sexual impropriety.

“We’ll have to get a new head,” a senior party official was want to say.

“Er sir, best to use the word leader instead of head.” another senior advisor proffered (How I love that word proffered – learned it at University)

“Well yes,” he went on. “We’ll have to learn to lead with our hearts instead of our heads,” he continued. Ehhhhh? PCs are doomed. 4 more years of Wynne. PCs? The party that keeps on giving.

Geesh….we’re doomed. I am deeply concerned as I once admired a woman 25 years ago! Yikes.


Gawd, Canada’s Free Press had a scathing piece about Trudeau’s very limited brain cells. That should guarantee him a vast majority in 2019. After all the Quebec and Ontario electorate, from the two province’s that really run Canada, is so bereft of brain cells that they all but guarantee a massive majority. “But he has nice socks, and don’t forget about the hair!” One of the voting public remarked.


In deference to the UK brain trust the following tune is proffered:

Almost forgot:

Scots, wha hae – Happy Burns Day! and here’s to the haggis.


Have a terrific Thursday.





Happy News Year

Don’t worry, be happy and stop watching network news. I know I have for sometime now.

Hopefully then you will have a happy news year.

Still suffering from tendinitis. Improving somewhat so I have to limit my mousing.

I am going to start posting excerpts from my book: I Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven.