« Obsessing blindly over our `assigned duties' | トップページ | We're closer to our neighbors than we realize »

2005年8月23日 (火)

For war-displaced, the scars never heal


For war-displaced, the scars never heal


Dainari Adachi was a 12-year-old middle school student in occupied Manchuria when World War II ended. His family lived in a small town near the border of the Soviet Union. On the day word arrived that Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, had admitted defeat in the war, he was playing outdoors as usual.

When Dainari returned to his home, his mother told him that Japan had lost the war. He was too young to know what that meant in practical terms.



A few days later, Soviet warplanes appeared over the town. One shot at the boy without warning, and he fled into nearby woods. "Although the war had ended in Japan, you might say the war actually started for me on that day," he recalls.


Soon, Soviet ground troops arrived. Dainari's father, a civil engineer, had died of illness several months before. With his mother and two younger brothers, Dainari was moved through a succession of internment camps. During this period, his youngest brother, a 2-year-old, died while being carried on his mother's back.

Food was scarce. It occurred to young Dainari that if he were not around, his mother and other brother would have more to eat. He left without saying even goodbye.


The boy found work on a frontier farm. Early in his 20s, he met his future wife, a woman named Motoko.

Motoko was the daughter of a Japanese farmer who had settled in the former Manchuria. She had fled with her mother from the invading Soviet forces. After her mother died, she was raised by Chinese foster parents.

It was not until 36 years after the end of World War II that the two war-displaced Japanese who married in China set foot in their mother country.


At the surrender, about 1.5 million Japanese were living in the former Manchuria. In the turmoil that followed, at least 200,000 are estimated to have died in raids by Soviet troops and Chinese residents, group "suicides," illness and other circumstances.

Their stories graphically illustrate how the wheels of fortune turned in different ways for these individuals, according to where they were on Aug. 15, 1945.


Today, Adachi and his wife live in Chiba Prefecture on a 60,000-yen monthly pension. His wife cannot speak Japanese. Being five years her senior, the husband wonders anxiously, "If I die before my wife does, what will become of her?"


--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 16(IHT/Asahi: August 17,2005)


« Obsessing blindly over our `assigned duties' | トップページ | We're closer to our neighbors than we realize »






この記事へのトラックバック一覧です: For war-displaced, the scars never heal:

« Obsessing blindly over our `assigned duties' | トップページ | We're closer to our neighbors than we realize »