Book One: The Kujiki

The story begins with Kunio Ishida, an old rakugo-ka (Japanese storyteller) recounting a television news report about a significant archeological discovery outside of Tokyo, Japan. He learns that an unlikely pair of kids, a 16-year-old, half-Japanese, half-American high school girl named Red (due to her dyed red hair) and a 17-year-old American Navy intelligence seaman named Nick, have discovered an authentic copy of the controversial Kujiki—the first book ever written in Japan, circa 620 A.D.

Kunio goes to the bamboo forest where the discovery was supposed to have occurred and unexpectedly meets Keiko. Thanks to fairy dream vision, Keiko is able to show him the events that lead up to the discovery of the Kujiki. We follow Nick, a very bright boy from Norman, Oklahoma, to his Naval intelligence post in Yokosuka Base, Japan where he unexpectedly meets Keiko after hiking in the Tanzawa Mountains. Nick meets Red, who is quick witted, angry, and socially isolated, especially where she attends school (at The American School in Tokyo) because she thinks that her mother is dead. Her stepmother is a jerk, and treats her poorly, causing her to always feel unwanted. Her only friends, other than Keiko, are a bird that can’t fly and a beetle. Keiko teaches Red about the amazing women of the Heian period, and the past Empresses that once ruled Japan. In school, she learns about the sordid truth behind the Kujiki. Red and Nick’s chance meeting in the bamboo forest sets off a chain of events that ultimately leads to the discovery of the Kujiki, an ancient Chinese map, stacks of gold, sacred texts, and is the catalyst that changes their lives forever. At the end, Red learns that her mother is still alive.

Book Two: The Silk Road

The second book of the Keiko series, is filled with twists and unexpected turns as Red tries to avoid the mob in Tokyo, who suspects that she has found gold, and the U.S. Navy sends Nick on special assignment to punish him for his recent activities. Red is mysteriously invited to the Imperial Palace where Empress Meiko extends her hand in friendship, and gives Red life-changing information about her mother’s true identity, the niece of the Empress. Nick is sent to China for its 60th Naval Anniversary celebration, and secretly attempts a dangerous mission to retrieve Red’s mother, and the precious Crown of India, with help from a very unexpected ally, “the Captain.” Nick is shot. Red and her new best friend Robin are kidnapped by the Yakuza and escape in a spectacular fashion. In history class at school, we learn about the ancient trade routes from China to the Middle East, called the Silk Road, and how powerful and hidden philosophical ideas accompanied the precious riches trade—as well as powerful connections to Keiko’s Buddhist secret order. In the face of extraordinary challenges, Keiko continues to share her love and wisdom, as the young couple begins to realize they care for one another deeply. At the end, Nick is discharged from the Navy and given a full scholarship to Tokyo University awarded by the Empress to study Marine archeology and Red’s mom is returned to her life.

Book Three: Yonaguni

The third book of the Keiko series brings major changes for Nick and Red, as Red tries to find emotional connection with her mom and Nick begins his life as a university student. They both move to Tokyo: Red moves in with her mom and Nick to his new dorm. Nick meets an enchanting 85-year-old Japanese woman that teaches him many things about the true nature of love. He is immediately sent on a research boat to explore the “Great Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean. There he discovers the horrifying truth about man’s effect on one of our most precious natural resources. He travels on to explore and the spectacular underwater monument, at Yonaguni, thought to be from an ancient culture thousands of years before the Egyptian civilization. Red, although finding her own empowerment, enters a path of trouble, as she is unable to process her mom’s seemingly distant energy. Her parents send her to visit family in the United States for the summer. After more trouble with her cousin, she unexpectedly meets an Apache Medicine Woman in New Mexico that brings about profound personal healing and transformation for Red—not to mention, the powerful realization of the Japanese people’s genetic connection to the Native American people. Ultimately, we are inspired to realize that mankind has been traveling and communicating ideas for centuries before we imagined. Moreover, just because they didn’t have “high-technology” does not mean that they didn’t have something even more profound—a true connection to one another, the earth, and the universe.

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