Fortunately, the GIs had something in their pockets and backpacks that led to instant friendship with total strangers: the Hershey chocolate bar.

Laughing American soldiers handing out Hershey bars and Wrigley's chewing gum to Japanese children remain one of the indelible images of the years immediately after the war. Today, many elderly Japanese recall with fondness and amazement their experience of receiving American chocolate, candy or ice cream at a time when food supplies were scarce.

Many Americans and Japanese who lived in the period say such experiences were one of the factors that eased the pain of the American-led Occupation among ordinary Japanese.