Achieving Kyosei in East Asia
Edited by Yoichiro Murakami and Thomas J. Schoenbaum
Chapter 8: Mapping the Sorrows of War
Philip West But as I got into the storytelling for the two movies, I realized that the 19-year olds from both sides had the same fears.They all wrote poignant letters home saying, “I don’t want to die.” They were all going through the same thing, despite the cultural diﬀerences. – Clint Eastwood, director, “Flags of Our Fathers” (2006) and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2007) 1 Our right is but one: To be rancorless sons Of our luckless and sad Russian land. Let our grievances burn, rot, decay deep inside To the outside we’ll spring living shoots: only then, Looking up, will our Russia’s fatigued countryside See the Sun it awaited so long. – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, “Prisoner’s Right” (translated from the Russian by Ignat Solzhenitsyn) 2 1. INTRODUCTION This beginning attempt to map the sorrows of the Asia Paciﬁc War has a threefold purpose. One is to introduce the work of Japanese artists whose voices are rather hidden and serve as counter narratives to the on-going acrimony over the unhealed wounds of war between Japan and its former enemies. A second purpose is to place the “sorrows approach” used in this essay in the context of the human deaths for the whole of World War II. And a third is to articulate the obvious yet often glossed-over ambiguities of the word peace as it is used in the narratives of peace and military museums in Japan.3 2. SORROWS AND JAPANESE COUNTER NARRATIVES Imagine the eﬀects on reconciliation that the paintings...
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