Fictional Report Assignment: World War Ii As A Burden On Japan
I am Yamashita Kouji, an anti-war resistance fighter in Japan, 1945. Since Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931, I have seen how the militaristic government’s policies have been ruining the country and our society. Hence, to save our beloved homeland, I have been taking part in various resistance movements, to voice out my dissidence and unhappiness. This is my report on the public perception of the government’s aggressive imperialist and expansionist policies since the start of the war, and the various forms of dissent all over the Japanese society.
The first point I must make is that the war has been nothing but a burden for the people of Japan. Since the beginning of the Pacific War, the Japanese economy has suffered tremendously. The country became plagued with inflation, resource shortages and currency inflation. The war economy meant that all industries were forced to produce for military needs, without consideration for civilian demands. When the American air raids began, populations from entire cities were urged to be evacuated into the countryside, separating families and heavily disrupting their daily lives.
Some were even forced to do so, as their urban homes were destroyed by the bombings. The general mood of the public has therefore become hostile towards the government, the military and the emperor. The lack of food and poor wages and working conditions led to strikes and other forms of resistance across the country. Military products were often sabotaged by workers to slow down production. Absenteeism was also sky-high. In April 1943, it was reported that 44 percent of women workers in the Kawasaki Airplane Factory had been absent from work.
Classified intelligence sources have shown that many Japanese, in defiance of the government, have turned to helping our “enemies”. While I question the validity of such actions, they have doubt dealt serious blows to the imperialist government. Kaji Wataru, a proletarian writer who lived in Shanghai, helped with the re-education of captured soldiers for the Kuomintang in Chongqing. Sanzō Nosaka, a founder of the Japanese Communist Party, worked with the Chinese Communists in Yan’an to re-educate their captured Japanese troops. Yasuo Kuniyoshi, an issei anti-fascist painter based in New York, raised funds in 1942 for the United China Relief to provide humanitarian aid to China. Some folks may regard their actions as treason or betrayal of the Japanese people, but I see them as a representation of the attitude of the general public: to end the war. They are ultimately contributing to the greater good: the removal of the fascist government from power.
Even inside the military, there were no shortage of unrest. Soldiers frequently attempted to escape fighting. Conscripted young men from universities and wealthy families wrote diaries and letters that showed their hatred for the war. A diary written in 1941 by a pilot named Hayashi Tadao stated: “To die in the war, to die at the demand of the nation – I have no intention to praise it; it is a great tragedy”. Another sailor wrote: “This journey of ours is meaningless from the point of view of military strategy and will cause no damage to the enemy. Our purpose is to prove the meaninglessness of such an action, and for this we are going to die”.
As the war took a turn for the worse after the Battle of Midway in 1942, the attitude in the armed forces became all the more pessimistic. The Japanese People’s Anti-war League formed in 1942 appealed to Japanese soldiers to refuse to fight and participate in the anti-war movement. Even the Navy minister, Yonai Mitusmasa, accepted that “I have long been advocating the conclusion [of the war], not because I am afraid of the enemy’s attacks or because of the atomic bombs or the Soviet participation in the war; The most important reason is my concern over the domestic situation”.
With the retreat of our army in the Pacific and the impending surrender of our German allies in Europe, the end of the war is in sight. While Japan will surely reach its conclusion in defeat, it shall be a new beginning for the nation and its people. Shōwa nationalism can finally be aborted and a new government will be established. I will continue to aid the people in their return to economic and social prosperity and make my contributions towards establishing a democratic government, while documenting any new developments in my reports. I hope that the reader, through these reports, can gain insights into the events of my time.
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