Letters Home by Earle Kirkbride
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“I went down in the vaults and saw millions and millions of dollars worth of stuff…”

Norma Jean in 1947Norma Jean Cone wrote this in a letter from Tokyo, Japan, April 1, 1947. At the age of 23, she was the first American woman on the team inventorying the assets of the Bank of Japan right after the Japanese surrender in 1945.

Dutifully saved by Norma Jean’s mother, the letters have been lightly edited and annotated by her husband, Earle Kirkbride.

Through Letters Home, the reader gets a personal view of what life was like for a young American woman who was a civilian employee with General Douglas MacArthur’s occupying force of 200,000 G.I.’s. At the same time that her team was finding paper bags of diamonds in the vaults, she was learning a little about Japanese culture, sightseeing, attending dances, and developing a deep friendship, which ended tragically.

Norma Jean’s
Letter Stamp
Norma Jean

Bank of Japan

Bank of Japan

Book Reviews

“Her letters… candidly reveal what life was like for the Japanese and the American Occupation forces in 1947 and 1948.”
-Gene Hull
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers

“She takes us on a social whirl of young Americans living abroad on the sharp edge of history. “
-Al Christman
Author of Target Hiroshima

“Tales of diamonds, friendships, tragedies, and more will entice any reader into knowing Norma Jean’s amazing true story.”
-Rachel Riley
Gouverneur Tribune-Press

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