Skivvy Girl Synopsis
American military occupation of Japan had just begun when seventeen-year-old Matsuyama Yoshiko finished high school. Her father had been killed on Iwo Jima, leaving Yoshiko and her mother without a breadwinner. Neither the mother nor daughter had any workplace skills and hovered on edge of poverty. Yoshiko found work sorting rotting vegetables, but the income was so little they suffered from malnutrition. When Yoshiko could tolerate the job no more and contemplated suicide, she took the advice of her young girlfriends who told her about extraordinary money girls made by “accommodating” the American military men stationed in Japan. After wrestling with her conscience, she reluctantly decided to become a prostitute in Yokosuka though she had no sexual experience whatsoever. Yoshiko arrived in Yokosuka with very little money, no friends, and no plan. She found nobody willing to help her until a prostitute, “skivvy girl” as they were known in military jargon, agreed to introduce her to the mama-san of a local skivvy house. The mama-san took Yoshiko under her tutelage and provided sustenance while the neophyte learned the intricacies of accommodating clients. Across the Pacific, Robert Wiley had just graduated from high school in a small rural town. With no money or prospects for meaningful employment, he seized on advice of a seaman home on leave who suggested Wiley enlist in the navy where he could obtain training and qualify for the “GI Bill”. He was assigned to a branch of naval intelligence, and after specialized training was sent to Yokosuka Japan. Wiley visited the skivvy-house where Yoshiko was serving her apprenticeship. Drawn to each other, they bonded and began a relationship that lasted for two years. They endured cultural conflicts, language problems, unplanned separations, and cataclysmic natural disasters. Their love endured through it all, but when the sailor returned to America, Yoshiko abandoned the life of a skivvy girl and returned to her home village where she was lucky enough to find work in a newly opened ceramic plant. Wiley returned to Japan after eight years with a vague hope of finding Yoshiko. By a chance encounter with a former Yokosuka skivvy girl working as a waitress, he learned that Yoshiko had returned to her village. Though apprehensive about the welcome he might receive after eight years, Wiley found Yoshiko willing to renew their love affair. Their idyllic relationship was not to last long, however, as fate cruelly delth them a blow the star-crossed lovers could not overcome.