- Elgar original reference
Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
Makoto ITOH (born 1936) I was born in Tokyo in 1936. In my childhood, the Second World War devastated our lives, with terrifying aerial bombing, shooting, utter starvation and the resultant lung disease. Family members were scattered, either being mobilized for the war or evacuated from their home town to survive. I was sent alone to a rural agricultural and ﬁshing family on a Paciﬁc seashore for three years. Pessimistically, I used to assume that my life would not last long. The collapse of the Japanese social orders and ideologies just after the defeat also left a deep impression with the memory of being instructed to paint out old sentences in textbooks; a sense of altering history. Up until high-school age, I wished to study engineering as a sort of family occupation, following my grandfather on my mother’s side – a professor who taught my father and my elder brother – to serve society. By chance I bought Bertrand Russell’s book Living in an Atomic Age in a bookstore to practise my English reading for a forthcoming entrance examination for a university. It was a public lecture for a BBC programme in beautiful plain English. According to my memory, Russell suggested that scientists and engineers commonly believed that science and technology have been developed in order to make human life wealthier and happier. However, the accumulation of nuclear weapons, after the actual disastrous use of atomic bombs in our age, in the milieu of international mistrust under the Cold War tension,...
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