Biography of the great authors
By Akihiko Kaminoyama
Learns from Tomiko Miyao.

Miserable experience in Manchuria became a driving force.

It was a thing of several years ago. When I was watching documentary on NHK television, Tomiko Miyao appeared.
She visited old Manchuria (China northeast part) for the first time after the World War II. Fifty years passed since she leaved there. She was telling the experienced miserable thing dolefully during war here. Owing to painful recollections of that time, she said that she was not able to visit this land for 50 years.

In March, 1945, Tomiko Miyao went over Manchuria as a teacher's wife. A daughter was born only a month ago, and family emigrated accompanied by her. Soon after emigrating to Manchuria, she was sick and fell down. Although it was in a serious condition that a doctor forsook, she recovered by natural healing. It was a miracle. However, there was participation in the war of the Soviet Union soon, and there was surrender of Japan. The exploitation team to which she belonged was attacked by the angry Chinese repeatedly. The Chinese also saved her familyfs life repeatedly.
She tells the situation at that time like this.

When she was indebted in a Chinese's house, Tomiko was drawing water by carrying a baby on the back. Then, a mob's group had crowded into the house. She ran into the kitchen with a baby hastily. The mob went past without finding them. It was in the small traditional cooking stove that they hid themselves then.
The traditional cooking stove still remained. Tomiko who stood there again said quietly as follows, gI was surprised that I put myself into such a narrow place with my baby.h
I also looked at the cooking stove with the image of television. It was not enough size for an adult to put in. I really felt that she was so desperate.
The Miyao family who became refugees stayed at a coal mine which Japanese people had concentrated. But, there was also a hell on earth. There was nothing to eat. They faced a severe winter soon. Old men and children died of malnutrition one by one. And furthermore, tuberculosis and cholera spread. Coal mine workers also died one after another.
In such severe environment, the Tomiko Miyao parent and child were able to survive somehow. She said, gIt is because I had such strong wish that I wanted to live anyhow and to return to Japan.h It was severe situation even for the adults to survival. She confessed being moved to tears, gI had tried to sell my baby foolishly.h The Chinese who comes to buy a child had hung about at the surroundings of the Japanese who had became the refugees. Arranging much food at hand, they had invited so that children might be sold.
gIf I hand them my baby, she does not need to starve to death.h The words often ran about in the mind of Tomiko who had become faint-hearted. After all, she did not sell her baby.
But, she was ashamed of her who thought so for a moment Tomiko and her baby were able to come aboard a repatriation ship at last, doing near-death experience repeatedly. And they came back to Japan. Tomiko and her baby were a figure severer than a beggar and came back to Kochi where a husband's parents located in. It was in September, 1946. It took in one year from the end of the war.

Then, it became the cause for the thought, "miserable war experience in this Manchuria must be handed down to future generations", to make her aspire for a writer. Tomiko strove for writing, taking up a kindergarten teacher's work nearby, after returning to Kochi.
She gave up going to a university because of opposition from a strict father, and had entered the normal school. She who opposed the father found the substitute teacher's job, and came out of the house at the age of only seventeen. Then, she became acquainted a man who was a husband in the future.
Even if a woman looked for work after the war, it was not found easily. The kindergarten teacher's work was difficult work with a cheap salary, however, she continued it for seven years.

Tomiko Miyao came to attract attention as a writer, after "Ren" which subscribed in 1962 won the woman Rookie of the Year award of "Fujin Koron."
After winning the award, she opted for divorce with the husband who led married life for 20 years. According to the collection of note written by her, she is writing that she cannot explain the reason in a single phrase. She was legally granted the divorce in 1963. Next year, she was remarried to a man who was a childhood friend and a journalist of the Kochi Shimbun.
But after that, she came up to Tokyo with a family because of the debt, as if they escaped from their country. They made the new start in the apartment of 6-mat one room in the Shimotakaido. Tomiko did works as a freelance writer for the life, but evaluation of the manuscript was bad and works were stopped. She found a job at the editorial department of a publishing company reluctantly. This became an opportunity in which she had a better opinion of herself as a writer.
Tomiko Miyao won the Rookie of the Year award brilliantly. However, she spent after that the time which was not evaluated at all as a writer for ten years. When she sent a manuscript to a publishing company, it would have been returned politely. She had announced her work only by the limited contributions.

The turning point visited to her in March, 1971. A novel "Kai" written by her only for the purpose of writing a good work in the previous year was self-published, and it was distributed to the publishing company. The work won brilliant the Dazai prize. After that, she has been writing many works. In Japan, she is a popular writer.
There are very impressive sentences in Tomiko Miyao's essay.
gLiterature is play of extravagant words which grows up considering useless huge time and trial and error that are not counted as nutrition. Since literature is such a thing, if the poor thing lies on the bottom, rich growth of the literature could never be accomplished. I think so.h It is a philosophy which Tomiko Miyao acquired in having experienced the bottom of poverty.
Some people of the present writer applicants imitate a life of the old writer who wrote up novels and became famous at the bottom of poverty. It is more useful to extend a view and to gain experience with the money earned rather than play such imitation.
In a time with these abundant goods, is what must be obtained by thrusting down a family and a sweetheart at the bottom of poverty with your wish?
There is an expression that a writer is a storyteller. Tomiko Miyao was growing at the rich home until she got married. Probably, miserable experience in old Manchuria would stirred up the instinct as her storyteller.

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