Mayumi Kimura Maguro
Hana o Tobashite
“This year I saw on the news that it is the 70th anniversary from the end of the war. From my own real experience…the first thing I remember is the hunger. There was nothing to eat. That is what I remember the most, that and the day of the bombing. (Takamatsu city was firebombed on July 3, 1945). Every night we would hear at least 2 sirens alerting us of fire bombings. In Japan, the bombs were meant to burn and the houses in Japan were mostly made of wood so they completely burned. The sky of our city was red… red, red.” – Poem and quote by my grandmother, Toshiko Yamaguchi
I believe that there is a whole side of the history of Japan during World War II that remains untold. A story that does not speak about fanaticism for the emperor, suicide missions, and bloodthirsty political tactics. But rather the unspoken story of the misery, fear and pain that was felt by millions of Japanese civilians like my grandmother through constant fire bomb attacks and starvation.
This piece is my attempt at sharing, and reflecting on my grandmother’s side of the story during the war. It is my effort at taking away, at least for a couple of minutes, the political and military sides of war that our society constantly wants to focus on. Rather, it is my attempt to reflect, to honor, and to grieve for the people that all around the world suffer and are silenced by war. Not only in the past but in our world today. The last minutes of my piece serving as an elegy to all of these human lives.