by Kazuko Kuramoto

The weight of memories is heavy in my heart.

I was once a youthful and passionate patriot, firmly believing in Imperial Japan. How did I take Japan’s sudden collapse? I died, or my innocence died with it. I once had a close-knit, loving family. It was scattered by the force of war. And my beautiful hometown Dairen, how could I have left it behind? I brought it with me. Dairen still exists as it was then. In my memory.

Uncovering them after fifty some years, I found them buried alive. How did I miss hearing their muffled sobbing? How did I miss their trace of bleeding?

Let them come out and cry, so that the tears can be wiped. Let them come out and bleed, so that it can dry.

The cost of war is high, the cost of the lost war higher. The victor judges the defeated. The defeated becomes criminal. Death by hanging.

Was I a participant in this crime? Or merely a victim of Japan’s Imperialism? Would I ever be able to justify my existence? Did I have the right to live when so many youth died for the lost cause?

These are the legacy left to my generation of Japanese. Guilt and tears.