Chameleons: Morality, Spirituality and Duty to Country Clash in World War II.

CHAMELEONS, An Untold World War II Story…

After the Japanese midget submarine I-16-tou torpedoed and sunk the battleship Oklahoma the midget sub’s commander maneuvered his damaged vessel in the quiet backwaters of West Loch. Unable to effect repairs the commander and his engineer scuttled the little submarine, swam ashore and used their list of safe houses to meld into the population, never to be heard from again. Until now.

Chameleons follows their lives prior to, during and after the attack on Pearl Harbor. A female reviewer wrote:

“This book, from a Japanese viewpoint, from Hawai’i to Korea and back to Hawai’i, was riveting. Some of the war scenes were enough to keep my fingers gripping my seat, literally. You will not see the ending coming, it is a total surprise. In a nutshell, if you like historical war fiction, this is definitely for you. The fact that it is definitely based on true events is proven by the pictures in the back of the book. There is enough here to make you wonder what exactly is fiction and what is not.”

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1974967234?book_show_action=true

https://chameleonsthebook.com/chapter-one/

Chapter One is a scene unlike any other before written as Nannini places the reader inside the steam room-like confines of the Japanese midget submarine I-16-tou as she sits on the muddy bottom of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. When the reverberations of the first aerial bomb and torpedo strikes of the Japanese surprise attack wake the crew from their sleep they quickly launch their twin, one thousand pound torpedoes.  One torpedo proves to be a dud, but the second torpedo explodes with catastrophic results. The chapter closes with the image of white-clad sailors scrambling along the sides of the capsizing Oklahoma when the author whisks the reader forward into the present-day and presents an unsettling mystery.

Another reviewer states:

The cornerstone of an excellent historical fiction novel is research and it is extremely evident that Marcus A. Nannini has spent countless hours researching his subject. He has gone to painstaking depths to make as many elements of his story as real as possible and has done an amazing job. His descriptions of the training undergone by the submarine commanders, the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the landscapes of Hawaii, and the conflicts later on in the book are nothing short of exemplary.

I loved how this book mixed elements from both the past and the present. Either of the storylines could have made an excellent book on their own, but together they add another dimension entirely. The mix of different characters in the present day timeline is also fantastic. There is a refreshing mix of hard-working naval officers, sleazy reporters, traitorous informants, and even a pudgy Petty Officer who lends a smidge of humor (not to mention a few donuts) to the plot.

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=42284

https://chameleonsthebook.com/chameleons-reviews/

A second Japanese midget submarine was later discovered, abandoned, in only sixty feet of water and within a short swim to an Oahu beach. The hatch was in the open position and was impossible to open if submerged. There was no evidence of the crew to be found representing two additional members of the Imperial Japanese Navy who may have melded into the local population as if Chameleons.

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A little background about Chameleons, An Untold World War II Story.

I had long been fixated on a photograph taken by a Japanese aviator during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In my opinion it clearly focused on a black object from which two torpedo tracks were racing towards the West Virginia and Oklahoma. There were three distinct splashes behind the black object and I didn’t know what they were. I was confused and extremely curious.

During Thanksgiving Dinner in November, 2009, I conceived the idea for Chameleons. I explained the story line to everyone present and received a rousing endorsement to pursue the project. So I did.

My idea was to write a screenplay.

I immediately began my research and acquired every book on the subject including a little orange colored, hard-bound book titled: I attacked Pearl Harbor by Kazuo Sakamaki, a/k/a Prisoner of War Number One. It cost me a bundle.

I didn’t just read the books, I made hand-written outlines and began formulating the guts of the screenplay. You see, I already knew the beginning and the ending, but I would need to accomplish a great deal of research to re-create the past, especially the portions in Japan. I also expended a great deal of time researching on the web and accumulated an incredible amount of information.

I had so much information I found it necessary to de-content the draft manuscript for fear of over-kill. However, let me say this right away: I intended from the beginning for the I-16-tou to be damaged and seek shelter in West Loch.

I wrote the screenplay in three long days, March, 2010. I registered the screenplay which serves as evidence I placed the I-16-tou in West Loch years before the Navy discovered it had, indeed, been scuttled in West Loch. I was already thinking like Lieutenant (jg) Masaharu Yokoyama!

I encountered all manner of obstacles including variations in Yokoyama’s and Kamita’s names. Eventually I settled on the versions I most often came across and stayed with them. I could not find a consensus on the depth of the channel leading into Pearl Harbor. There were all sorts of conflicting statements on that key element. As you read the book you will discover Yokoyama had to deal with the same dilemma. Obviously, he managed ok.

There was the issue of the twin torpedo tracks, one directed at the West Virginia and one at the Oklahoma. Eventually I found a report by Admiral Chester Nimitz stating they had discovered an unexploded 1,000 pound torpedo next to the West Virginia. Mystery solved.

I read numerous accounts of the survivors from the Oklahoma, but one account is what convinced me my theory was correct:

 All the battlewagons were ready for inspection on December 7, the result being all the water-tight doors on the ships were OPEN. West Virginia, Oklahoma and California were all listing to port as the result of torpedo strikes, but they were slowly settling onto the bottom of the harbor.  Only the Oklahoma rolled over, but why? Because a one thousand pound torpedo tore a hole clear through her torpedo belt and opened about a thirty-eight foot wide hole below the waterline. Thousands of gallons of water rushed in and overwhelmed the doomed ship.

One account in particular caught my attention to support my theory. One of the sailors rescued over the next few days had been in the engine room. He heard the “bangs” from numerous aerial torpedo hits, but then heard a remarkably “loud explosion from up forward.” The ship immediately began to roll over. His account also matched a photo taken by an aviator. The photo depicts a tall, narrow geyser coming from the West Virginia and a low, thick geyser coming from the Oklahoma. (Reference the photos at the back of my book.)

The tall, narrow geyser was typical of a five hundred pound aerial torpedo. The low, thick geyser contained so much water it could not shoot straight up. It was the visual evidence of a one thousand pound torpedo hitting the ship.

And what about the three water spouts behind the black object? I laughed at a documentary where they spent a great deal of money constructing a midget version of the real sub and concluded the spouts must have been from an aerial torpedo. I wish they would have donated the money they spent on the homeless as they were just silly in their assumptions, and wrong in their conclusion.

First, if the three sprouts were from a torpedo strike, then where was the plane? The planes had to slow to under one hundred miles per hour before releasing their torpedo and with three fresh sprouts in the water, where was the plane? It should have been in the photograph.

Second, how could they know the ballast arrangement Yokoyama was using, as well as his speed when they built their mini version? They couldn’t know.

Third, why would the Japanese aviator have taken the photo? He was focused, not on battleship row, but on the midget submarine. Admiral Reardon mentions the fact in Chameleons.

I just realized I’m getting a little long-winded here and need to end this soon.

I noticed most everyone mentions the ending. Let me make a couple of things clear.

  1. I wrote the ending precisely as I envisioned it at Thanksgiving Dinner.
  2. You, the reader, experience the same feelings the Kida family experience.

Most of you figured out I added a couple of characters when I finally got around to introducing Colonel Nat. Go back and re-read the description of the Aussie as you will be encountering a great deal of him as the Commander Pastwa series continues.

If there is something you would like me to discuss, drop me a note at ChameleonsNovel@aol.com.

Thanks for reading!

Marcus

https://chameleonsthebook.com/

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“Mr. Nannini’s blend of real life events, a compelling modern day mystery, and vibrant characters has resulted in a first-class novel which could easily become a lasting gem in its genre.” OnLineBookClub.org Review 

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“Based on a true story, CHAMELEONS is a superb recounting of what happened to a surviving crew member of a Japanese midget sub after it attacked Pearl Harbor, complete with details about their preparation, as well as present day American investigators probing his secret identity years later.” Lisa Edelman, Indie Reader.com 

http://www.blackrosewriting.com/historical-fiction/chameleons

 “This book, from a Japanese viewpoint, from Hawai’i to Korea and back to Hawai’i, was riveting. Some of the war scenes were enough to keep my fingers gripping my seat, literally. You will not see the ending coming, it is a total surprise.  In a nutshell, if you like historical war fiction, this is definitely for you. The fact that it is definitely based on true events is proven by the pictures in the back of the book. There is enough here to make you wonder what exactly is fiction and what is not.”

Goodreads.com/review

Read more Great Reviews at:

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ISBN: 9781612968896

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Chameleons, not just another war story.

chameleons-demi-gods

The I-16-tou, a Japanese midget submarine, successfully penetrated Pearl Harbor early on the morning of December 7, 1941. It launched 2 torpedoes, one of which turtled the mighty U.S.S. Oklahoma. Eventually the 2 man Crew abandoned their badly damaged little submarine in West Loch. They swam ashore, connected with pre-arranged contacts and melded into the population as if human Chameleons. This is their story.          EBook:   http://www.books2read.com/MarcusNannini

Buy it at Barnes & Noble:

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cropped-chameleons-cover-draft.jpg.

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chameleons-oklahoma-sunk-2-better

The U.S.S. Oklahoma, sunk by I-16-tou.

Lt. (j.g.) Yokoyama’s Map of Pearl Harbor

The Imperial Japanese Navy engaged in significant espionage activity leading up to the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. In addition to providing the midget submariners with Lists of Safe Contacts with whom they might seek shelter, they also provided a detailed map of the Harbor and how the U. S. Pacific Fleet might be anchored. The midget submariners were also given crash courses in English as it was not the intention of Admiral Yamamoto that the midget submariners needlessly sacrifice their lives. He fully expected at least some of them to return for debriefing and congratulatory celebrations.

Details of the harbor were obtained by a combination of sight-seeing fly-overs in civilian planes, ground observation and casual interviews with U. S. personnel. This is a copy of the map Masaharu Yokoyama was using on December 7, 1941.

Chameleons…an ending you do not see coming, unless…

I researched this book over a period of many months. In the process I read and made notes from the six books that I could find, on topic, including the book written by Prisoner of War Number One, Kazuo Sakamaki, captured on the morning of December 8, 1941, while sleeping on an Oahu beach. I also accumulated a large volume of web-based research and updated the research continuously. It was a couple of years after I wrote the Screenplay that the U.S. Navy confirmed the I-16-tou had, indeed, sought refuge in West Loch. I reached that conclusion in 2009, based on all I learned about the commander of the I-16-tou.

Before I wrote the first word of Chameleons I already knew the story I was about to relate, including the ending. However, it was not until I saw the potential for spin-offs, beginning with Geographic Treachery, did I return to the manuscript to add a chance meeting with the two antagonists who take the series to new heights of cunning, cold-blooded murder and revenge for actions that took place in the 20th Century.

So those of you who guessed the two men Admiral Reardon meets at Colonel Nat’s will be seen again, guessed correctly. You can count on them being complex and cold-hearted, yet I don’t just present them without developing their backgrounds. Though I will say you will not discover the motivations behind “the Aussie” until you read the third novel, Vigorous Brutality. And yes, the action remains in Hawaii, centering on the Big Island, in particular.

Throughout Chameleons I inserted small clues about the ending. I also worked hard to bring the reader to understand Ken Kida and stand in his shoes. From the comments I gathered pre and post publication, the readers are experiencing the exact emotions Ken, his wife and grandson felt towards the end of the book. I could not give much away and still retain a separation of Lt. Commander Pastwa’s team and Admiral Reardon. At the same time I revealed more about Admiral Reardon than I had done in the entire book to that point. Just wait to you see what he does in Geographic Treachery!

Thank-you,

Marcus Nannini

To read one of the many excellent and detailed reviews of Chameleons, go here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1974967234?book_show_action=true

Chameleons, not just another war story.

chameleons-demi-gods

The I-16-tou, a Japanese midget submarine, successfully penetrated Pearl Harbor early on the morning of December 7, 1941. It launched 2 torpedoes, one of which turtled the mighty U.S.S. Oklahoma. Eventually the 2 man Crew abandoned their badly damaged little submarine in West Loch. They swam ashore, connected with pre-arranged contacts and melded into the population as if human Chameleons. This is their story.          EBook:   http://www.books2read.com/MarcusNannini

For a Full Review: http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=42284

Buy it at Barnes & Noble:

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Buy it at Amazon:

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chameleons-oklahoma-sunk-2-better

The U.S.S. Oklahoma, sunk by I-16-tou.

CHAMELEONS, an underwater look at the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

One Japanese midget submarine successfully penetrated Pearl Harbor early on the morning of December 7, 1941. It launched 2 torpedoes, one of which turtled the U.S.S. Oklahoma. Eventually the 2 man Crew abandoned their badly damaged little submarine in West Loch. They swam ashore, connected with pre-arranged contacts and melded into the population as if human Chameleons.

CHAMELEONS SYNOPSIS

Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and fine bookstores everywhere.

The Japanese midget submarine I-16-tou is hiding on the muddy bottom of Pearl Harbor waiting to release its deadly twin-warheads against the battleships of the U. S. Pacific Fleet. The sub’s commander and engineer are asleep and drenched in sweat as are the walls of the iron coffin-like midget submarine.

Awakened by the shock waves of aerial bomb and torpedo strikes the two men jump to the controls and begin final maneuvers as they target the battleships U. S. S. West Virginia and Oklahoma. While the torpedo strike into the West Virginia proves to be a dud, the second torpedo dramatically explodes and tears a thirty eight foot wide hole in the Oklahoma’s already damaged port side, causing her to immediately roll over.

Chapter two takes place in present day Kailua, Oahu with the accidental discovery of a mysterious skeleton while excavating a residential pool. A team of United States Navy investigators spearheaded by Lt. Commander Christopher Pastwa and Lt. Karen Yamura are under a mandate from their admiral, Roman Reardon, to quickly solve the mystery.

Much to their chagrin they soon discover the skeleton belongs to the engineer of the I-16-tou. The midget sub’s logbook is recovered from the grave and indicates the commander of the sub was still alive days after the Pearl Harbor attack and living amongst the Japanese-American population, contrary to navy dogma.

As the team begins what will prove to be a difficult and frenetic search, Lani Gale, a Honolulu newspaper reporter, learns of the grave’s contents. Her newspaper begins publishing a series of front page stories and offers a $100,000 reward for anyone with information leading either to a still-alive midget sub commander or his death certificate. A race is on between the navy team and an unscrupulous Gale to learn what became of the commander.

Ken Kida, the commander of the midget submarine and living under an assumed name, is now an elderly retiree. He and his Korean wife are anxiously reading the front page story when their grandson drives up. Suspecting he may soon be arrested, Ken Kida relates his life story to Gary through a series of flash-backs and narratives which are interspersed with the present-day progress of the Navy and Lani Gale, who are steadily hunting him down.

When Lt. Commander Pastwa and Lt. Yamura turn up at Ken Kida’s front door, he, Sun and Gary believe their world is about to be shattered. However, a series of events unfold over the following twenty four hours creating a surprise ending while introducing the two main antagonists featured in the subsequent novels in my series, Geographic Treachery and Vigorous Brutality.

 ISBN: 0692814353

ISBN 13: 9780692814352

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CONTROL NUMBER: 2016920544

To read an Extensive, 4 of 4 star review:

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=42284

CHAMELEONS, not your average WW II story. Here is Chapter One:

 

A special thank-you to my editors: 

Major Robert Bauman (USAF-retired)

        and

Susanne C. Johnson, M.A.

 

 “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.” Gautama Buddha 

 

Copyright Marcus Nannini, 2016

ISBN: 0692814353

ISBN 13: 9780692814352

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CONTROL NUMBER: 2016920544

 

 

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


CHAPTER ONE

PEARL HARBOR, OAHU

DECEMBER 7, 1941

 

Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarine, the I-16-tou, hides in the muddy bottom of Pearl Harbor. A few hundred yards ahead seven first-line battleships comprising the nucleus of the United States’ power in the Pacific rest quietly at anchor.

The midget sub’s commander, Lieutenant, junior grade, Masaharu Yokoyama is stripped to his waist with sweat dripping from every pore of his body in the one hundred twenty five degree temperature. He sleeps restlessly. The iron hull upon which he is leaning bleeds drops of water. A few feet away the sub’s engineer, Sadamu Kamita, stripped to his loin cloth, his forehead resting on a control panel, also sleeps. The only sound in the dimly lighted iron tube is the low humming of the ventilation system.

Yokoyama is considered to be among the brightest of the first class of Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarine commanders. As a result, he has been rewarded the honor of being released from his mother submarine closer to the entrance of Pearl Harbor than the remaining four midget submarines. He is a quick thinker and charismatic. One of his superiors said he has an angelic smile that can immediately disarm otherwise confrontational situations. He is also a first-rate student and has studied every detail of the proposed Pearl Harbor attack along with the geographical features of Pearl Harbor and Oahu. He has memorized the names and contact information of various Japanese sympathizers upon whom he may rely in the event of the need to scuttle his sub.

Their sleep is abruptly ended by the shock waves of the first torpedo strikes. The surprise Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor has begun. Yokoyama stands, wipes the sweat from his eyes and shouts:

“Kamita! Quickly, make turns for five knots and bring us to periscope depth.”

Kamita, a few years older than Yokoyama and considered one of the finest of the midget sub engineers, picks up his head as he feels the vibrations of the explosions coming through the hull. Before the orders are even spoken he begins to discharge ballast and re-start the electric motor. He does not even glance at Yokoyama as he firmly replies:

“Aye, Sir, five knots, periscope depth.”

It’s not long when Kamita calls out, “Periscope depth!”

Yokoyama grabs the handles of the periscope as it slides into place and presses his forehead against the moist rubber edges of the viewer. Moving from left to right he takes in the length of battleship row then lowers the periscope and turns towards Kamita.

“Prepare for firing torpedoes!”

“Aye, torpedoes are ready for firing.” Kamita’s tone is calm and collected.

“The West Virginia and Oklahoma directly in our path. I will confirm our firing solution and strike the West Virginia, just aft of amidships. We will target the Oklahoma second. The effect of firing the first torpedo should place the port bow of the Oklahoma nearly dead-center for torpedo two.” Yokoyama closes his eyes momentarily as he envisions the path of the second torpedo.

“Sir, if the Emperor could know of our situation he would most certainly be smiling,” says Kamita.

Yokoyama does not respond as he has returned to the newly raised periscope. He makes a final calculation of his firing solution, lowers the periscope and turns to Kamita.

“Fire one!”

As Kamita lets the one thousand pound torpedo loose he replies, “Firing torpedo one!”

The little submarine violently lurches fore and aft in response to the sudden discharge of the torpedo and corresponding weight loss. After many months of practice they both know firing their second torpedo at this time will veer left of the original target, but in this event, unlike the practice runs, the battleship Oklahoma lies in its path. Precious moments pass as the submarine begins to stabilize.

“Raising periscope!” As the periscope slides into position Yokoyama checks the firing solution for his second target, the Oklahoma now slightly listing to port. As the periscope lowers he shouts:

“Fire two!”

“Firing torpedo two!” Kamita, no longer able to disguise his excitement, shouts his reply.

Again, the little sub lurches even more violently than upon firing the first torpedo as it is now two thousand pounds lighter. Kamita loses his grip and bangs his head against a control panel, opening a gouge above his right eye. He grabs his uniform shirt hanging nearby and presses it against the wound.

Yokoyama stares at his stop-watch as he times the first torpedo.

“Our venom is in the water. Now we wait.” Yokoyama’s voice is just above a whisper.

The seconds pass and frowning, he continues: “Our first torpedo malfunctioned! It certainly could not have missed as I witnessed the propeller trail steering directly at the West Virginia.”

“It cannot be,” cries Kamita, his voice full of anguish.

Yokoyama continues to stare at the stop-watch. He raises his free hand and calls out:

“Now, Kamita, it should strike now!”

No sooner are the words spoken than the little sub shudders as the concussion of torpedo number two pushes them fore and aft, up then down, as if they are on a roller coaster. As soon as the sub settles, Yokoyama decides it’s time to assess their success.

“Raising periscope.” Yokoyama’s voice reveals only modest excitement.

As he presses his forehead into the viewer he witnesses the result of his torpedo strike. A thirty eight foot hole straight through the protective torpedo belt of the Oklahoma has been opened in her port side dramatically increasing the doomed ship’s list to port. He observes little white bodies. Some are scrambling to crawl along the hull of the capsizing ship to the relative safety of the ship’s bottom while others are jumping into the water. In a matter of moments he is viewing one of the once-mighty Oklahoma’s propellers jutting from the oil-covered surface of the harbor.

Without saying a word, he lowers the periscope. Both men say nothing as they contemplate the fate of the sailors aboard the battleship they just sunk. 

 

  

                                                      CHAPTER TWO  

                                                      KAILUA, OAHU

                                                         PRESENT DAY