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!






An excerpt from “Kurofune: The Black Ships.” Click on the link above for more information about this story. You can get it through Amazon or through Munro Books in Victoria, BC.

An excerpt from my book Kurofune: The Black Ships. You can get it on Amazon or from Munro’s Books in Victoria:

It was a long way from Bremerton, Ted thought, while transiting the channel into the outer reaches of Tarawa Lagoon in the Higgin’s Boat toward the departure and marshaling area. Looking at the other Marines, Ted couldn’t help but be amazed at how far he and the others had come in just a few months. How their worlds had changed. From the relative peaceful backwater of the Puget Sound, to the Marine Corp Recruiting Depot, San Diego, for Boot Camp; followed by Corp training at Camp Pendleton, additional amphibious Operational training in Hawaii, then reassignment to the 2nd Division. Finally, embarkation in USS President Jackson, a Troop Transport, and subsequent arrival in Wellington New Zealand to prepare for future operations with the 2nd Marine Division. Ted remained a regular infantryman of the 1st Battalion, 2nd regiment; Lou specialized in communications as a TBY radio operator and Jonathon qualified as a marksman / sniper. Jonathon had his own tailored Browning automatic that he held and coddled like a baby. The rest of them had the standard issue M1 8 round Automatic Rifle, a Marine’s best friend.

“Who is the King of glory? Why now Jeremiah is, of course” Jonathon would taunt, rubbing the stock of his carbine as gently as if it was a baby’s bottom!

“The LORD is strong and mighty! With Jeremiah? Of course he is!” He continued.

And as a last thought:

“The LORD will be mighty in battle, Lord Praise Jeremiah” Jonathon would mutter as he cleaned his “Jeremiah,” as he affectionately called his carbine.

“Whoa,” was about all Lou could say, shaking his head. “Heaven help us”

The swells and the sea were playing havoc on the Marine’s sense and sensibilities throwing them around the boat like loose corks left in the water during a storm. Just about everyone was retching now, except the Reverend. The noise form the bombardment was ear shattering. The earth seemed to open up disemboweling hell’s wrath onto the small landing craft. As they got closer and closer to the departure point the concussions from the shells of the big guns became more and more pronounced and intense. Small bursts of small arms fire could now be heard in between the thud, thud, thump impacts of the 14 inch shells on the island. Some of the men in the boat began crying, calling on their own God, or reaching out for their mothers who were never there. The Squad Leader did his best to address their fears. Fears yes but they had yet to come into the maximum effective rage and death envelope of the island’s defenders.

“You’re Marines men, steady. Steady. Remember your training. We’ll get through this”

Ted was silent. He just stood there observing what was going on. He felt a nervous twitch and strong pull deep down in his gut but for the most part he was not as afraid as he thought he’d be. For a brief moment the Squad Commander and Ted’s eyes met and locked. Ted could see the anxiety and concern on his superior’s face but at the same time acknowledged his calmness and forth righteousness among the chaos and the men around him. Cool under pressure. Ted wondered how he was going to react. His thoughts came back to that last discussion with Father Doherty as he looked around the interior of his Higgins Boat at the other Marines.

“I can’t answer that Ted. I can only say that He has some sort of plan for all of us. What that is I can’t really say. Some will die, yes, a given, a fact of war, while others will come through all of this unscathed, for some other purpose perhaps, for another day. You just have to trust in God that he knows what is best for you – be it death in defending your country, saving a fellow marine, defending your homeland, freedom, or life for some other purpose that may or may not be so clear to any of us until left in the wake of this war.”

Can I do this? He thought. He quickly put those thoughts to rest. Ted gave his Squad leader a short two finger salute as an acknowledgement that he respected him and that he had his back if need be.

All at once the small arms fire got a bit louder and more intense. At the same time the shore bombardment ceased. It was 0900. There was stillness in the air that was surreal given the intensity of the chaos of the last three hours. All that could be heard is the odd short rat a tat tat sound of light machine gun fire coming from the area of the beach. The odd ricochet or whizzing, whirling sound of stray or random bullets could also be heard.

The Few, The Proud

Have a great day.