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Father's Dying Wish
of War Guilt in a Japanese Family
into English by Philip Seaton
a Foreword by Masaaki Noda
do you tell the victims of your own aggression and your children when
you have participated in your nation’s war atrocities?
silently pondered the issue for four decades after returning from
service as a Kempei (military
policeman) in Manchuria, concealing his
thoughts even from his immediate family. His written request to his
daughter Ayako Kurahashi to carve on his tombstone his apology to the
Chinese people touched off a firestorm within the family. It
transformed the life of Ayako and other family members as she fought
not only to inscribe his will but also to carry his message of apology
to the villagers of Manchuria where he had served.
brought to life so poignantly in My
Father's Dying Wish, are not just
ones for Japanese (or Germans) to struggle with. Directly or
indirectly, this book raises questions for citizens of all nations that
have fought (and continue to fight) wars abroad, above all Americans.
Senior Research Associate, Cornell University,
and coordinator of The
Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan
others say about 'My Father's Dying Wish'
A fascinating and
thought-provoking account of the continued impact of Japan's invasion
of China during World War II. It offers a rare insight into the
attempts of one former Japanese soldier and his family to come to terms
with, and atone for, the events of the war. It is beautifully
translated, and deserves to be read widely.
Senior Lecturer, University of Leeds,
and author of Sino-Japanese
Relations (Routledge 2005).
In the last decade Ayako
Kurahashi has travelled around China to uncover her father's role there
during the war as a military policeman in the Japanese army. She
describes with great sensitivity what she found. Her journey attests to
the terrifying realities of Japan and China's recent past. This book is
an exemplary demonstration of the way in which personal accounts can
shed light upon broader historical processes.
Emeritus Professor, Keio University,
and author of Historiography
and the Judiciary: Germ Warfare Unit 731 in the Courts
(in Japanese, Gendai Shokan
is a former schoolteacher and freelance writer. As well as the
Father’s Dying Wish, she has written
numerous works of fiction that consider the nature of Japanese war
responsibility. She lives in Saitama, just north of Tokyo.
Philip Seaton is
an Associate Professor in the Research Faculty of Media and
Communication, Hokkaido University, Japan. He is the author of
Contested War Memories (Routledge 2007).
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of Spears: The Last Mission of the Jordan Crew
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Nagase Takashi, Second Edition edited by Gill Goddard
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