"He's A Brother"

Altenir Silva

Based on the story of Jacob DeShazer from the book "Return of the Raider: A Doolittle Raider's story of War & Forgiveness" by Donald M. Goldstein and Carol Aiko DeShazer Dixon.



Photo : Public Domain and JacobDeshazer.com



December 7, 1941. A man named Mitsuo Fuchida from the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service leads the attack against the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Counting soldiers and civilians, 2403 people were killed. 


Meanwhile in Pendleton Army Air Base, Oregon, a soldier named Jacob DeShazer learns about the attack and is filled with fury. He decides to volunteer for a mission. The goal: they will strike Japan in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. 


This is their story…



A TREATMENT: (only the main events)




TITLE CARD:  "Tokyo,Shibuya Station, May 22, 1948"


It is rush hour in the train station. Passengers come and go into the gates to get on board and to disembark. Among them, we meet Mitsuo Fuchida (46). He is picking his ticket at the ticket office.


Fuchida glances at some people giving gospel booklets to the riders. He approaches them and receives a pamphlet and checks it out.


CLOSE on the pamphlet: "I Was a Prisoner of Japan" By Jacob DeShazer (translated into Japanese).


There is a change in Fuchida's expression. He gets sad while we listen to the voice-over of Jacob DeShazer.



I was a prisoner of war for 40 long months, 34 of them in solitary confinement. When I flew as a member of a bombing squadron on a raid over enemy territory on April 18, 1942, my heart was filled with bitter hatred for the people of that nation.


CLOSE UP: Fuchida is now very gloomy.


Then, we hear airplanes flying.




In black and white photography:


Commander Mitsuo Fuchida (39) is flying a plane.


TITLE CARD: "Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941"


Fuchida speaks on the radio, "Tora, Tora, Tora!"


FOOTAGE: Planes are attacking Pearl Harbor. Explosions. Ships burn. Mariners and Soldiers run and die.


Fuchida in the plane is bombing the navy base.


FOOTAGE: More planes attacking, more despair, more fear, more horror.


We cut to the military base in Oregon.


TITLE CARD: "Pendleton Army Air Base, Oregon, the same day"


In the kitchen, we are going to meet Jacob DeShazer, nicknamed Jake (29). He is listening to the football game (The New York Giants versus Brooklyn Dodgers) on the radio while peeling potatoes. Suddenly the game broadcast is interrupted by the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Jacob gets angry and smashes potatoes with his hands. He says to himself, "The Japs are going to have to pay for this!"




Still in the army base, Jake decides to be volunteer to a mission without knowing what it could be and what he will do.




In Tokyo, Commander Fuchida meets with Emperor Hirohito. He receives an homage in a Gala Dinner because he led the attack over Pearl Harbor.




TITLE CARD: "Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina, February 9, 1942"


Soldiers are being prepared for the mission with hard training. Jake is among them.


After that, Jake and some friends from the base are leaving for a day off.


Jake and his friends arrive at the bar. They drink and have fun. Lit. William Farrow would like to know what is the mission they have to do. Jake says that most important is that they will fight for America. William says that God will protect them. Jake shrugs off any mention of God.


In the War Department, Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle explains the secret mission: they will strike Japan in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The targets are Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, and Nagoya. This operation will be named Tokyo Raid, also known as The Doolittle Raid.


At the Army base, Jake receives his mother Hulda, his stepfather Hiram Andrus, and his brother Glen. Jake's mom says, "Son, I will pray every day for you." He replies, "Thanks, mom." Jake kisses his brother and says that he needs to go. Jake leaves. The family watches him until he disappears inside the army base.




In the barracks, many of the soldiers are awake and standing. They need to go. Among them, we follow Jake. He is very excited to fight in the war.




TOKYO: Fuchida receives a new order. He will lead a mission called Darwin in Australia. This mission will attack the port of Darwin to prevent the allies from using the location as a military base.


TITLE CARD:  "Darwin Harbour, Australia, February 19, 1942"


FOOTAGE: Japanese planes bombing the harbor and destroying ships.


On an airplane, Fuchida leads the attack over Darwin Harbour.


FOOTAGE: Planes bombing the ships.


Headquarters in Tokyo. Fuchida gets congratulations from his commanders. He is a real war hero in Japan.


In his room, Fuchida feels sick.


At the medical service, Fuchida is diagnosed with appendicitis. He will need to have surgery. Fuchida says he will have the surgical operation after the attack planned against the British Royal Navy bases in Ceylon.


On the plane, Fuchida goes to his new mission.




TITLE CARD:  "U.S. Naval Air Station, Alameda, San Francisco Bay, April 1, 1942"


The aircraft carrier USS Hornet with 16 B-25 planes. We see the movement of sailors, pilots, copilots, soldiers, navigators, bombardiers, engineers and-gunners boarding the ship. Jake is very excited. He says to his friend that they are going to save America. But no one knows anything about the mission.


The USS Hornet is sailing away. Captain Marc Mitscher announces to his crew that the ship is carrying army bombers to off the coast of Japan for a bombing over Tokyo. Applause follows the news.


On the USS Hornet, Jake talks with Pilot Lt. William Farrow. They are eager to fight against the Japanese to revenge Pearl Harbor.




SALEM, OREGON. Church service, Hulda is praying. After that, she talks with the minister about her feelings. She is worried because Jake is a man far away from God. The pastor says that Jesus will protect him. Hulda believes in God but has a bad feeling that something awful could happen. The pastor prays for her and Jake.




TITLE CARD: "300 nautical miles coast of Japan, April 18, 1942"


The airplanes take off from the USS Hornet.


We see the plane with Jake as a bombardier, the pilot Lt. William Farrow, co-pilot Lt. Robert L. Hite, navigator Lt. George Barr and engineer/gunner Harold A. Spatz. When the plane takes off from the aircraft carrier, we hear a strange noise. Jake asks about the noise. The pilot responds that something scraped the fuselage. Nothing severe. They will go ahead with the mission.


FOOTAGE: The 16 planes B-25 flying over the Pacific to get their target: Japan.


On his plane, Jake bombards targets over Japan.


FOOTAGE: American planes bombarding Tokyo and other places in Japan.


On Jake's plane, the pilot receives an order to fly to China after the attack.


FOOTAGE: More planes attacking Japan.


Jake's plane takes the order and changes the flight to fly to China. The pilot says that maybe they would not reach China because of fuel.


Suddenly the plane meets a dense fog. The pilot keeps control.


A large hole in its nose slows the B-25, because of the damage sustained prior to their takeoff from the USS Hornet.


Some minutes later, the pilot informs that they are in China, but the fuel is gone. They need to jump.


They parachute one by one into the night.


Jake, the pilot Lt. William Farrow, Lt. Robert L. Hite, Lt. George Barr, and Harold A. Spatz get down onto the land, but it's a Japanese base.


The five men from Jake's plane, along with three men from another plane, are captured by the Japanese soldiers.


The American soldiers are interrogated with extreme violence and treated as criminals of war and not as prisoners of war. The Japanese soldiers beat Jake severely during the inquisition. They want to know about the attack. Jake resists and says, "I won't talk."




SALEM, OREGON. Jake's family house. Breakfast. Hulda tells her nightmare about Jake. Glen gets worried about his brother. He wonders if Jake has anything to eat at this moment. They get sad. Then, they leave the table with the food untouched.




Jake and the four men are transferred to Tokyo. There, they meet with three other American soldiers from another aircraft. Jake is interrogated again. He refuses to talk to his enemies. Jake is beaten more and faints.


The moon dissolves to let the sun comes up.


Jake's cell. He is awakened aggressively. A Japanese soldier says that Jake will be transferred to China.


The eight Doolittle Raiders are escorted by Japanese soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed. On the way, the Japanese soldiers push Jake and the other American soldiers violently with their machine guns.




TITLE CARD: "Bridge House, Shanghai, China, August 1, 1942"


(POW) Prisoners of War camp. Jake and his compatriots are thrown into a small cell with Chinese prisoners.


A Japanese soldier reports the prisoners will receive only a cup of rice soup for breakfast, four ounces of bread for lunch and dinner, and approximately two quarts of water to share among all of them. In that place, there are rats, lice, and bedbugs. Jake spends many hours sitting on his little wooden stool, squishing the bugs between his fingers.


Jake cries out words against Japan. The Japanese soldiers get him and escort Jake to confinement into a solitary cell.


In his solitary cell, Jake is stretched out on the ground with a towel on his face. Then, a Japanese soldier throws water on his face until it suffocates him.


They put pointed bamboo sticks under his nails and push the bamboo. They also make him kneel on the pointed bamboo sticks repeatedly.


A Japanese soldier throws a cup of rice on Jake's head. The rice (with worms and rotten potato peels) spreads on the floor. The soldiers leave. Jake grabs the spilled rice with his hands and brings it into to his mouth.




TOKYO. Fuchida tries to sleep in his house but can't. He is now a tormented man. Haruko - his wife - tries to calm him down, but he gets more nervous. Since his last mission in the war, Fuchida has been suffering because of his memories of war. Haruko says that what he could do for his nation, he already did. Now, he must think about himself and nothing else. It is time to get out of the army. Also, after Fuchida left the battlefield, he has been working in the headquarters.




POW. Jake's solitary cell. A Japanese soldier enters and reports that Jake will be executed.


They handcuff Jake and lead him out.


They set Jake and the other seven American soldiers in a  position to be executed.


A Japanese soldier begins the countdown: "Three, two, one, and fire!"


Jake closes his eyes to die. We hear gunshots.


Three American soldiers die (Farrow, Hallmark and Spatz). Jake, Hite, Barr, Meder, and Nielsen stay alive. The Japanese soldiers laugh. Jake is terrified because of his mates. A Japanese soldier says he will kill more of them the next time. Jake protests. A Japanese soldier punches him. Jake falls to the ground, and the Japanese soldiers kick him.


Jake's solitary cell. For the first time, he prays. Jake is crying while praying. He begs pardon. Jake regrets being so far from God.




A Japanese soldier opens Jake's cell. Jake is sleeping on the floor. The soldier awakens Jake with a kick.


The Japanese soldier escorts Jake.


The soldier pushes Jake to the wall. Jake prays to God, confessing his sins. Jake says to himself that he is ready to die.


A Lieutenant Colonel approaches and reports that Jake will be taken out of solitary. The Japanese Officer advises that if Jake does anything undisciplined, he will come back to confinement. Jake looks up, thanking God for his life.




TOKYO. Fuchida's house. A table is full of food. Fuchida and his wife are sitting for dinner. Fuchida does not want to eat. He says he lost his appetite. Fuchida gets up and leaves.


Fuchida is reading a book. But he can't concentrate. His thoughts are distant. Fuchida cries.




POW camp. Jake asks a Japanese soldier for a Bible. The Japanese soldier says that Jake cannot read a book inside the cell. Jake insists. It is not any book, it's the Bible. The Japanese soldier beats him in the chest with his gun.




A Japanese Soldier awakens Jake. He says to Jake, "Come here!"


Jake is pushing a cart and delivering food to the cells. A Japanese soldier escorts him.  When Jake finishes, the guard slaps the back of him very hard on .


The guard kicks Jake into his cell. Jake only gets one foot inside when the guard slams the door as the other foot stays in the doorjamb. The Japanese soldier kicks Jake's foot. After more kicks, Jake gets to pull his foot inside the cell. Jake prays and realizes he needs to forgive the guard, as Jesus would forgive and show love to his enemies.




The same Japanese soldier - the kicker - enters Jake's cell. Jake says, "Good morning." The guard says nothing.


Jake is pushing the food cart. He is limping. The Japanese soldier escorts without slapping him. When Jake finishes, the soldier drives him into his cell. Jake says, "Have a nice day." The soldier keeps silent.




Jake's cell. He is praying. The Japanese soldier - the kicker - comes in and hands a boiled sweet potato to Jake. Jake thanks God for that. Love really works. Jake eats the food voraciously.




The American soldier, Meder, is shivering. He is malnourished. Jake tries to bring his friend to life. But Meder is too weak and dies.


Jake asks for a Bible again. The Japanese soldier says never.




A Japanese officer informs through a translator that the Emperor wants them to receive better treatment.


In his cell, Jake receives a cup of soup with bread. He remembers Meder and cries. Then Jake prays before eating his food.




Jake meets his comrades in the courtyard. They talk about Meder, who had died of starvation. They glance at Japanese soldiers. Hite says,"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. It's in Luke 23:24." Jake replies, "I need a Bible." Then, Nielsen points to a Japanese soldier named Takeji Aota, "Maybe he can get a Bible."


Jake approaches the soldier Takeji and asks for a Bible. Takeji says he will try to bring him a Bible. Jake thanks Jesus for that.


The soldier Takeji hands a Bible to Jake and says he could only have the Bible for three weeks.


FOOTAGE: Jake is reading the Bible; Jake's eating his rice while reading the Bible; Jake's reading the Bible; Jake's working out while reading the Bible; Jake's reading the Bible; Jake's eating his soup with bread while reading the Bible; Jake's reading the Bible.


The Japanese soldier takes the Bible from Jake. Jake prays to God.


In the courtyard, Jake tells passages from the Bible to his mates. "Romans 10:9. If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."




Jake's cell. Jake is knelling and praying to Jesus.




Jake is preaching the word from the Bible to his compatriots in the courtyard.




Jake wakes from a nightmare. He breathes deeply. He  calms down and gets to pray.




In the courtyard, Jake and his mates know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Jake repeats Luke 23:24: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".




Jake is awakened by a blast in his cell. He looks up and sees one American soldier who says, "Soldier, the war is over! It's time to come back home!"


The American soldier helps Jake out of the cell. Then, Jake looks up at the sky and cries out, "Jesus Christ! I'm free! Free! Thanks, God!"




TOKYO. American soldiers are boarding the airplanes. Jake says to his mate Nielsen, "I will come back!" Nielsen replies, "Are you crazy, man? I never wanna be here again, never!" Then, Jake says, "I will come back with Jesus!"


The airplanes take off.




We hear the airplanes flying. Then, we cut to the beginning of the movie.


SHIBUYA STATION. Fuchida is reading the booklet "I Was a Prisoner of Japan" By Jacob DeShazer (translated into Japanese).


Fuchida puts the pamphlet in his pocket and goes into the station's gate.


Fuchida's House. He comes in carrying a package. Haruko wants to know what is that? Fuchida opens it and reveals a Bible.


Fuchida tells about Jacob DeShazer (Jake) and that he was saved by Jesus. Fuchida reminds her that after the war, he never gets a night of good sleep, and maybe this book that had saved the life of the American soldier could save your own life as well.


FOOTAGE: Fuchida is reading the Bible in many places: in his home; the plaza; the kitchen; his room; the train; the garden; in his living room.


Fuchida reports to Haruko that he got a Call from God. He will be converted as a Christian.




SALEM, OREGON. The family embrace Jake. He tells about his new proposal: become a preacher to proclaim the word of Jesus.




Church. Jake tells about his life as a  POW. After the service, Jake is honored by them.




Bus terminal. Jake says goodbye to his family.




SEATTLE, WA. Seattle Pacific University. Jake is studying in a class. A teacher asks Jake to tell about his war experience. Jake tells about the war. Florence, a beautiful girl, is enchanted and moved by his report. Jake and Florence look at each other.




On the campus, Florence and Jack have a conversation. Jake invites her to a movie. She accepts.




In the movie theater, Jake and Florence begin a relationship.




TOKYO AIRPORT. Jake, as a missionary, and his wife Florence land in Japan. Florence asks how Jake is feeling. He replies that his heart has never felt what he is feeling now: deep freedom and peace.


FOOTAGE: Jake is now preaching in many places in Japan. He talks about Jesus, love, and forgiveness. Jake tells how Jesus showed him his true love. After the service, he and Florence receive thanks from the churchgoers.




FOOTAGE: Fuchida as an Evangelist, tells in church how he accepted Christ as his Savior. He recounts his life from Pearl Harbor to Calvary and his journey to faith.




TITLE CARD: "Osaka, Japan, DeShazer's home, May 12, 1950"


Fuchida knocks on the door. Florence opens the door. Cut to the living room. Florence tells her husband that someone is looking for him. Maybe someone from the church.


Jake goes to the door and meets Fuchida. Fuchida says: "I have a desire to meet you, Mr. DeShazer. My name is Mitsuo Fuchida." Instantly. Jake recognizes his name and says, "Come in, come in."


Fuchida hands the pamphlet "I Was a Prisoner of Japan" to Jake.


Jake checks it out, while Fuchida says, "You life saved me!" Then, Jake looks up at Fuchida and replies, "No. Jesus saved both of us".


A kid comes in and asks Jake, "Who is he?" referring to Fuchida. Jake replies, "He's a brother."


Jake and Fuchida hug.




AT BLACK, the following credits:


Mitsuo Fuchida wrote the book "From Pearl Harbor to Calvary" in which he recounts his faith journey. Fuchida, as a missionary, preached in the United States and other countries. He died of complications caused by diabetes in Kashiwara, near Osaka on 30 May 1976 at 73.


Jacob "Jake" DeShazer stayed in Japan for 30 years as a missionary for the Free Methodist Church. Jake and Florence helped start 23 new churches in Japan. On 15 March 2008, he died in his sleep at 95, leaving his wife and five children: Paul, John, Mark, Carol, and Ruth.


Jesus said: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'; This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'; All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22: 37-40)


The End

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Altenir Silva | Scene4 Magazine

Altenir Silva is a Brazilian playwright and screenwriter. In 2019, he won the Best Feature Screenplay at Prisma International Film Awards in Rome with The Sunrise Man (co-written with Ben Fiore, based on a story by director Werner Schumann). This screenplay was also nominated as a Top Finalist, 2017, Hollywood Hills Screenplay Awards, CA, US. In 2017 his short-play "Friendship" was published in "One Minute Plays: A Practical Guide to Tiny Theatre" (Routledge UK). In 2014 he received the Award of Excellence from Shakespeare at The Burg Theatre Festival (Middleburg, VA) for the play "The Idea". In Brazil, he worked as a scriptwriter for several TV shows at Globo TV, Record TV, CNT TV. He also wrote the feature films "Belarmino & Gabriela" (2007), "The Salt of the Earth" (2008), "Japan Connection" (2008), "Curitiba Zero Degrees" (2010) and "Moses and The Ten Commandments" (2015). For more of his writings in Scene4, check the Archives.

©2021 Altenir Silva
©2021 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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