Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore Failor Cook

By Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore Failor Cook

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Extra info for Japan at War: An Oral History

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There were hardly any Chinese people about, only the ones who could barely move. We gathered them later into a single area where they weren't in our way. We didn't kill them. " Nanking was a grand city. Chiang Kai-shek had kept it as his capital. 1 saw the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, where the father of modem China was buried. It was really regrettable that most of the town was practically destroyed, from the shelling and air raids. This was the capital of China -like Tokyo in Japan-so we had to do it, but it was still a shame.

We'd go out for about a month at a time, rest for a month BATILE LINES IN CHINA / 31 or two, then go out again. Normally, we'd go out in company-size expeditions of about two hundred men, leaving the rest of the unit behind to garrison the base. On bandit-suppression operations there were times we got into firefights and actually saw them face-to-face, but we were always in the mountains. I was fed up with mountains. Bushes and underbrush reached your chest and you had to push them out of the way.

One thin, worn-out prisoner was at the edge of the pit, 42 / AN UNDECLARED WAR blindfolded. I unsheathed my sword, a gift from my brother-in-law, wet it down as the lieutenant had demonstrated, and stood behind the man. The prisoner didn't move. He kept his head lowered. Perhaps he was resigned to his fate. I was tense, thinking I couldn't afford to fail. I took a deep breath and recovered my composure. I steadied myself, holding the sword at a point above my right shoulder, and swung down with one breath.

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