« (社説)戦後69年の言葉 祈りと誓いのその先へ | トップページ | 毎日新聞、千の証言 »

2014年8月16日 (土)

社説:8・15と戦争 記憶の継承の担い手に


August 15, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Pass on lessons of war to future generations
社説:8・15と戦争 記憶の継承の担い手に

The Aug. 15 anniversary of the end of World War II is the anniversary of surrender for Japanese people.

Japan, which invaded China and launched a surprise attack on the United States, was defeated exactly 69 years ago, although Japanese leaders said all 100 million Japanese were prepared to die an honorable death.

This reckless war left 3.1 million Japanese nationals dead. In all of Asia, the number of victims is believed to surpass 20 million.

Every August, many newspapers run articles featuring the war.

This tendency is occasionally ridiculed as journalism limited to August.

However, on Aug. 15 each year it is an indispensable ritual to quietly mourn war victims both in Japan and overseas and deeply consider war and peace.


Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

Those born after the war account for 80 percent of all Japanese nationals, and an overwhelming majority of those who experienced the war are in their 80s to 90s.

The memory of the war is gradually fading among Japanese people, and there are tendencies to regard wars as if they were games and describe the last war in a nostalgic tone.

No time should be wasted.

It is an urgent task to hand over the memory of the war to future generations to prevent a recurrence of the same mistakes.

Even those who did not experience World War II can visualize the war through the words of those who experienced the tragedy and through literary works featuring the war.

Novelist Shohei Ooka channeled his experience of the last war into literary works, such as "Furyoki" ("Taken Captive: A Japanese POW's Story") and "Leyte Senki" ("The Battle of Leyte Gulf").

In his book, "Sendo" ("War"), published by Iwanami Shoten Publishers, he wrote, "As a soldier and someone who experienced the war, I'd like to talk forever about how tragic war is."

It is important for each and every member of the public to respect his resolve and to pass on how stupid wars are to future generations.

Former Okinawa Gov. Masahide Ota, who fought in the war as part of student mobilization, has collected photos of various wars in the world and reminded the public of the cruelty of wars.

Ota inserted photos of a soldier being beheaded, a child who was stabbed in the stomach, a charred woman and other cruel scenes into a book titled, "Ningen-ga Ningen-de Nakunaru Toki" ("When humans become non-humans").  首をはねられる兵士、腹を裂かれた子供、焼け焦げた女性。目を背けたくなるような写真の数々を「人間が人間でなくなるとき」という題の記録集にまとめた大田さんは、

In the book, Ota writes, "It is necessary to confirm that we, individuals, cannot only be easily turned into 'non-humans' depending on the situation, but can also turn others into non-humans."

Wars are nothing but absurdity that turn humans into non-humans and madness that tramples down the dignity of lives.

The novel, "All Quiet on the Western Front," authored by German novelist Erich Maria Remarque, known for his antiwar literature and works describing World War I, ends after notifying its readers of the death of protagonist Paul Baeumer.

Remarque, a World War I veteran, wrote in the work's last scene that it was so quiet and calm on the western front that a command post had nothing to say but "All quiet on the western front. There is nothing to report."

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Up to 15 million people are believed to have died in the war. In other words, in the history of that war, there are 15 million people who perished and were buried, just like Baeumer.

In the Pacific War, a massive U.S. airstrike on Tokyo left 100,000 people dead on a single night.

The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed over 200,000 people.

There were numerous other air raids on Japanese cities.

Poet Zenmaro Toki composed a poem that reads, "There were reportedly hundreds, or even thousands of abandoned bodies. None of them had two lives."
土岐善麿は、日中戦争をこう詠んだ。「遺棄死体 数百といひ数千といふ いのちをふたつ もちしものなし」


Tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of precious lives could be lost instantly in any war.

Having a rich imagination of such a tragedy can lead to true mourning of the war dead.

If so, we must keep in mind that a massive number of Asian people fell victim to the Japanese military in the last war.

The victims of the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War are spread throughout Asia.

There is no difference between countries and regions in the degree of absurdity and cruelty of war.

Such being the case, it is the duty of Japan, which caused immeasurable human suffering and damage to property in Asia, to equally mourn Japanese and other war victims.

Any war causes a rift between countries involved and instills feelings of hate.

While those who wage war tend to forget their memory of causing damage to their victims, the victims keep their memory of suffering forever.

Japan's deep-rooted row with China and South Korea over the interpretation of history involving Japan's wartime atrocities has raised questions as to how countries that wage war and victims should hand over their bitter memories to future generations.

How to remember what has historically happened may differ from country to country. But a conflict over the matter must not cover up the tragedy of war.

Ongoing discussions on reinterpreting the war-renouncing Constitution to open the way for Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense have called into question the pros and cons of using force.

There are wars to counter acts of aggression and unavoidable wars that must be fought for humanitarian purposes. 戦争には侵略に対抗する戦争も、人道支援が目的の、やむをえない戦争もある。

Having a military deterrence is necessary to maintain peace.

However, wars cause cruel bruises and leave a negative legacy to countries involved and their people, regardless of how they start or end.

This is the reality of any war.

The phrase, "use of force," should not be easily mentioned without deeply thinking about its meaning.

Almost everyone throughout the world certainly hopes that they will not experience a tragedy similar to World War II.  二度とあのような戦争は経験したくない、というのが、ほとんどの国民の願いだろう。

Each and every member of the public should keep in mind the ugliness and cruelty of war in discussing how to ensure peace.

毎日新聞 2014年08月15日 02時30分


« (社説)戦後69年の言葉 祈りと誓いのその先へ | トップページ | 毎日新聞、千の証言 »





« (社説)戦後69年の言葉 祈りと誓いのその先へ | トップページ | 毎日新聞、千の証言 »