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The Memoir of Bill Norways by his son Toby

Photograph: Afternoon Tea at Cavalry & Guards Club in 2019


A friend of Agape World, Toby Norways (left), has written about his late father, Bill Norwayswho forged a lifetime friendship with his former prison guard, Kameo YAMANAKA, as a part of his PhD thesis.


Toby hopes to get the Memoir element of his PhD published, as well as a photo book of his father’s artwork.


For Bill, Toby's father, studied at the prestigious Chelsea College of Art, his artwork, even in the hardest of all times as a FEPOW, is precise and delicate with full of positive light. Bill worked as an artist in the advertising industry, after the war, while the "letter writings" continued between him and his war time captor.


Photograph provided by Toby Norways taken in 2015, at the ode in English

Toby travelled to Japan in 2015, in order to research into his father’s friendship and met with the YAMANAKA family as well as a surviving former prison guard, Taku KAWARAI.


The friendship between Toby’s late father and late YAMANAKA was as such, Toby found himself an ode in English by their family grave.


It was a poem by Toby's father, Bill Norways to Kameo Yamanaka in July 1983, reptinted as below. 


Like his artwork, Bill's poem is filled with postive light. It moves hearers' hearts.


Our World decreed

That we should meet

As enemies,

Without a common tongue;

But, prompted by

An ever greater Power,

Our hearts conversed

And softly spoke of Peace.

Dear God,

Who Brothers made of us,

Touch all men’s souls,

So Mankind may be thus!


Kameo Yamanaka ・ Bill Norways

Singopore 1942

Screen short from


This amazing story of two men’s friendship, which lasted for lifetime even though they first met in a prison camp in Singapore as enemies without a common tongue, reminded me of the story of Moses.


Moses took moral responsibility. He stood up to the Egyptian slave-master, for the sake of the weaker and marginalised, and became a leader. Moses comes in to the biblical story, as the answer to the primordial failure of mankind.


Adam and Eve both denied their personal responsibility, and blamed others. Cain did not say, “It was not me” after killing his brother Abel, but denied moral responsibility by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 3:9)


If each of us take responsibility and be “our brother’s keeper”, then there will be more stories of a lifelong friendship. Ultimately, the world will be a better place, as it ought to be.


Posted by HUMc on 26th November 2020

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