Nobu Madanbashi was born on November 21st, 1918 in Okinawa Prefecture, Shuri City, the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom. A gentle spirit from a young age, she was influenced by the headmaster of her elementary school, and a desire to be of aid to others naturally bloomed within her. At age 13, she went on to Okinawa Primary Women's High School, famous for producing many of Okinawa’s educators. However, Japan was engaged in multiple conflicts with surrounding countries during this period, and before she knew it, Nobu had decided to walk the path of the nurse so that she could contribute to her country as a woman. After graduating, she joined the Okinawa branch of the Japanese Red Cross Society’s Relief Nurse Training School and began her life as a Red Cross nurse. Aiming to become a nurse during a period of military strife was a decision that required a great deal of courage, and it would have been difficult without the deep understanding and cooperation of her family.
After graduating from the Relief Nurse Training School, she worked for a time as a school nurse at her alma mater of Okinawa Primary Women's High School and at Okinawa Women’s Normal School. When the Second Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1937, she was recruited two years later as part of a relief squad at Kokura Military Hospital in northern Kyushu, beginning her days of practical training as an army nurse. Confronted by an endless stream of wounded soldiers pouring in day and night from Manchuria, northern China, and southern China, she swore to work even harder than the soldiers and served with pride as a Red Cross army nurse, tirelessly contributing her nursing skills and ultimately serving as manager of the ward for the seriously afflicted. During her approximately four years and eight months of service, she carried out her mission as an army nurse with stern discipline while facing down the realities of war, eventually returning to her homeland of Okinawa. Nobu was now 25 years old. In spring of 1943, she once again returned to her alma mater, Okinawa Primary Women's High School, and worked as a nurse, but Japan and America unfurled across the expanses of the Pacific. two years before her arrival in 1941, and the drumbeat of war grew ever closer to Okinawa. Nobu would go on to teach relief techniques directly to the ones who would become known as the “Himeyuri students."