If I die now, do I have something to regret?
There was a youth of one person who was conscripted by school days and went to war after he was graduated the university at halfway year of student by the Japanese government during World War II. The youth who was on the register in the department of the Osaka language school (present Osaka University of Foreign Studies) Mongolian prepared for "I donft have much time." The youth was assigned to the tank corps and stationed near the border with Russia in the northeast China.
gA clump of iron is on the head. If it falls, I will die. Do I have something to regret? I trained to answer my own question every day.h
-A source "thinking of Ryotaro Shibah, 30 pages, published by Shinchosha Co.,Ltd.-
His answer was always "I am unrepentant."
The war was ended. He was demobilized and sent home. Also after that, his training was continued. The youth became a newspaper reporter and became a national writer later. His name is Ryotaro Shiba.
When Ryotaro talked about the training to Chogoro Kaionji, a famous writer in Japan, later, he said coolly, gItfs a neurosis.h It is a funny story.
What was the driving force of Ryotaro to continue writing the great novels? I wondered about it for a long time. I seemed to find the starting point of his career as a writer in that talk. Ryotaro was deep in thought about the war and death in the battlefield repeatedly. gWhat for was the war? What purpose must I die?h
The tanks made in Japan had thin armoring, and destined for being destroyed very easily by an enemy's artillery shell. The artillery shells which Japanese tanks strike were poor, and could not give even a slight wound to enemy tanks. With the tank, his life was going to be exhausted. Who made such the worthless tanks build?
The tank corps to whom Shiba belongs just before defeat returned to Japan for homeland defense, and was stationed at Mito. He threw out a question at the military officer who explains the strategy for the case of a mainland battle. If the U.S. Forces attack from Tokyo Bay, citizens in Tokyo would escape in the direction of north or a northeast. Although the tank corps has to go south conversely, the trunk road must be overwhelmed by the drays and people. How should we go south?
The officer answered, gGo trampling people by tank.h
Shiba was hotly indignant. gWhy does the army who should protect people have to go trampling people? Why the officer who says such a silly thing without hesitation has power?h
After end of the war, he was demobilized and sent home. Japanese sense of values converted 180 degrees. Japanese fell to the bottom of poverty. Although he was in a stupor, his heart was overflowing with a sense of fulfillment that he got freedom. He had no sad feelings.
Then he thought, gWhatfs my old self? Whatfs the war? Who made Japan rush into war for what reason? What are Japanese people? What kind of existence is Japan where I live? What is present Japan, Japan under war, and Japan before it?h
He started to study culture and history of Japan and foreign countries in connection with it, in order to know such things. It was for answer to his own questions.
While he studied it, the special feature of a race of Japanese, the figures in which great men who expressed it livelily, and the figure of contemporaneous people have come into his mind.
He get published it as a historical novel.
The Naoki Prize award in 1960 by "the castle of owls."
The Kikuchi Kan Price award in 1966 by " the story of stealing a countryh and gRyoma goes.h
The Order of Culture award in 1993.
There are many Ryotaro Shiba's award histories. This is only a mere part.
The following messages from his work come to my ear:
gDo we Japanese have the history which it can be proud of to the foreign countries? Do we have the great men who can be prided to the foreign countries? We should examine our strengths and weaknesses as a race firmly.
Although we had a dark time of the war days, we will all investigate our strong point and demerit. And we will perform historical analysis and evaluation and will tell a next generation. We will tackle the problems every day so that we overcome weak points peculiar to a race, and so that we never repeat the tragedy.h
Let me get this straight with you. Many Ryotaro Shiba criticss and passionate fans must be in a world, and they must have each perception. I am one of those who try to learn his view and understand his works from the position of a writer. The talk which I wrote here may have plentifully a portion of my subjectivity. I am pleased if you, readers, have this read as an individual view.