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From the Diary of Noboru Tokuda, Soldier in the Imperial Army


Reviews of My Postwar Life

Publishers Weekly
This engaging anthology of short fiction, essays, poetry, photography, and more illuminates the interconnected past of the U.S. and Japan, from WWII up to 2011's earthquake. Ryuta Imafuku's essay, "Nagasaki. And Scattered Islets of Time," is a walk through the suspended reality of post-atomic Nagasaki, accompanied by Shomei Tomatsu's powerful photos of burn victims, detritus, and seared bamboo stalks. Deni Y. Béchard's story, "The Deleted Line," tells of Yukio, a translator who censors a textbook regarding the Battle of Okinawa and is subsequently reprimanded by an old karate master, who explains that to erase the past is "like saying we must let go of our minds, of our spirits." "The Emperor and the Mayor" is Stephen Woodhams’ candid interview with Hitoshi Motoshima, former mayor of Nagasaki, who was castigated by some for blaming Emperor Shōwa for Japan's role in WWII. Hiroshi Fukurai's "Disaster Memories" investigates the radioactive threat of the recently damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, and Noboru Tokuda's beautifully illustrated diary from his stint as a young soldier in the Imperial Army during WWII is particularly moving. McKenzie's (MacGregor Tells the World) collection is a stunning testament to a country's literal rise from the ashes--casual readers and academics alike will find many of these selections rewarding and informative. Photos & illus. (Sept.)

Stephen Mansfield, The Japan Times
“Written with the authority of eyewitnesses and empiricists, this anthology presents a portrait of Japan and Okinawa that is impossible to erase from memory.”

Manoa, a Pacific journal of international writing
“The image that opens the collection is a photograph of a piece of debris from ground zero in Nagasaki. It is the face of a wristwatch, without the straps, its hands stuck forever at 11:02 am—the hour and minute the bomb landed. Like this small timepiece, so much of our collective imagination about Japan is stuck in time looking at a mushroom cloud. However, unlike the recovered wristwatch, life in Japan and Okinawa went on. My Postwar Life is a beautiful bit of proof that it carried onward, and is something to be celebrated.”

My Postwar Life || Catamaran Literary Reader || Chicago Quarterly Review || Stop that Girl || MacGregor Tells the World || Short Stories || Early Years ||Accolades

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