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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 August 20 - 26  > Wartime Japanese colonist devotes himself to building true peace
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2014 August 20 - 26 [PEACE]

Wartime Japanese colonist devotes himself to building true peace

August 20, 2014
Akahata ‘current’ column

In a hail of bombs and bullets, tanks are coming closer and closer... In northeast China, which was controlled by militarist Japan during World War II, fighting continued even after Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers in August 1945. Japanese colonists settled in that region, left behind by Japan’s Kwantung Army, had to go on a terrible escape journey.

Chased by the Soviet military, surrounded by local Chinese people, they ran around the vast land with nothing but the clothes on their back. Among those fugitives was a young man, Tokioka Hiroshi, who joined the Volunteer Pioneer Youth Army at the age of 15. Tokioka wandered through the woods and fields for 60 days. He finally reached the Chinese city of Jilin and managed to return to his homeland.

Under the government slogan “Realm of Peace and Prosperity”, the boy dreamed of a utopia spreading over a vast plain. In reality, Japanese colonists deprived Chinese peasants of their land and houses, and treated them as slaves. This was part of Japan’s war of aggression which colonized other Asian nations.

After the war ended, Tokioka learned that he had been deceived by the government. With empty pockets, he settled in an isolated place among the mountains in Fukui Prefecture with some friends. They worked the land, sipping thin rice porridge in a cottage thatched with bamboo leaves. Day after day they cut down trees and cultivated the land. At last, they succeeded in creating a village there. “I finally became a true pioneer,” Tokioka said.

Meantime, in a bid to build a new peaceful society, Tokioka entered the Japanese Communist Party which consistently opposed Japan’s war of aggression. Studying about the unequal structure of society by lamplight, he worked to increase the number of party members and Akahata readers. At one time, he even ran for office in a local election.

Tokioka passed away last year at the age of 87. This year, a collection of his posthumous writings and his acquaintances’ eulogies was published. The following is a message he wrote:

As a proud member of the JCP, I want to play a pioneering role in achieving a genuine peace.
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