It was a hot summer day in Japan today, the 15th of August. 70 years ago it was also a hot day and Japanese people heard that the War had ended. It was also the first time for Japanese people to hear the voice of Hirohito, the Emperor Showa. The word he used was so different from the common people that most of them didn´t understand what exactly the Emperor was saying. They sort of guessed that the WWII seemed to end.
In Japan, this day is in the middle of Obon and most of Japanese people spend time with their family in their hometown. I was born way after the WWII. It was normal for me every house has one or two colour TVs, supermarkets opened 7 days a week and public baths were disappearing from the neighbourhoods. For me, wars were just a history.
My grandpa never talked about the War even to his family. My grandma knew he was sent to China but she didn´t know what my grandpa was doing there, and he took it with him to the grave. On the contrary, my calligraphy teacher often told me about it. He was also sent to China as an interpreter as he spoke good Mandarine. He told me the day he received the red paper (the call to go to the war) and how sad his mother was although they weren´t allowed to express it.
He was from Nagasaki and the last return ship from China arrived at the Osaka Bay. He took a train home to Nagasaki where he saw the burnt down city of Hiroshima and his own city Nagasaki. He said he cried for anger towards the government who did not try to avoid such an ending, who just let people die like that. Then he became a journalist to tell people the truth.
My teacher, as well as my grandpa, they were already old when I met them and as a child it was difficult to think these gentle people went to the war to kill people. The war was part of them. Since while, both of them are no longer with us but they must be around with us during obon. I wrote the word, 祈, pray for today, the 15th of August 2015. Let´s just pray for those young soldiers who did not survive and who did survive, and also for peace.