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30th volume of Japanese WWII memoir collection published

The cover of the 30th volume of "Magotachi e no Shogen" (Mainichi)

The 30th issue of "Magotachi e no Shogen" (Testimonies for our grandchildren), a collection of both personal World War II experiences and oral history passed down to children and grandchildren of those who experienced the war from all over Japan, was published this August.

Osaka-based publisher Shimpu Shobo Co. has been putting out the volume annually since 1988. Along with painful memories of airstrikes, the atomic bombs and losing loved ones, the volume also includes messages calling for peace.

In January 1945, four teachers at Taimei national school in Tokyo's Ginza district died in an airstrike. "We must not forget that tragic history exists even in Ginza, which is now crowded and lively," writes an 84-year-old man who was a sixth-year student at the time.

An 86-year-old woman from Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, who was a nursing student at the time, recalls the hospital where she was working was rendered useless from airstrikes and unable to do anything to treat the sick and wounded. "We were doing our best to avoid the falling bombs -- it wasn't a situation where we could look after others," she writes.

"War is hell. Humans become inhuman," she added. Because of her firsthand experience, she pleads earnestly, "We have to uphold the Constitution of Japan, and maintain a peaceful world without war."

This year, there were 636 submissions for the volume, and a total of 77 were selected for the 30th issue. The book is priced at 1,620 yen.

Shimpu Shobo is also currently taking submissions for the 31st volume to be published next summer. The theme for the next issue is "Preventing war through writing memoirs." Submissions must be under 1,600 characters in Japanese and include the writer's name, age, address and phone number, and sent to Shimpu Shobo's "Shogenshu" representative at 5-17 Higashikozucho, Tennoji Ward, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, 543-0021. The deadline is the end of March 2018. Telephone inquiries can be made at 06-6768-4600 (in Japanese).

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