07 November 2005

Diary of an Japanese Schoolgirl, 1945

June 17, 1945

Today we went over what we'll do at the presentation assembly, and this time we had Hachikuwa-sensei decide. Today was a spiritual training day for the whole school, and we did something different--we did hand-to-hand combat. Iwamaru-sensei told us many different stories. Then we piggybacked the person across from us and ran and did other things. The next station was Akuzawa-sensei's hand grenade-throwing class. We used small balls for hand grenades and imagined that the large ball we used for the intergrade meet was the enemy's head and threw the small balls at it. We threw the hand grenades with all our might, but they didn't hit their target. Then we moved to Hachikuwa-sensei's station, where we practiced striking and killing with a wooden sword. We faked to the left and faked to the right. Then after some time we went to Ishida-sensei's station. We took our clothes off and practiced spearing someone. We used our foreheads to butt the chest of the person in front of us, thrust our hands into their armpits, and pushed with our feet firmly planted on the ground. In the end, only one person was still thrusting. Then when that was done, we went to Yoshikado-sensei's station, where we practiced spearing. Yoshikado-sensei said, "They're still there. Spear them! Spear them!" and it was really fun. I was tired, but I realized that even one person can kill a lot of the enemy.

August 16, 1945

Today at breakfast we heard very sad news from Miyaji-sensei. At long last, Japan was forced to surrender unconditionally to the Soviet-American-British alliance. It was because of the atomic bomb. On August 15, His Majesty said, "We have endured hardships and sadness, but we have been defeated by that atomic bomb, and all Japanese could be injured and killed. It is too pitiful for even one of my dear subjects to be killed. I do not care what happens to me." We heard that he then took off the white gloves he was wearing and began to cry out loud. We cried out loud too. Watch out, you terrible Americans and British! I will be sure to seek revenge. I thought to myself, I must be more responsible than I have been.
SOURCE: Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese, by Samuel Hideo Yamashita (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2005), pp. 289, 307

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