Rising Scary Suspicion

The investigation went on and on without any clarity of what the purpose was. I could tell they were interested in the reality of the function of the military department in central China, but I did not know why they were interested in it.

There was a paper called “Japan Newspaper” published for us by the Soviets. I got the information that the Far East Ministry Trial was going on in Tokyo. Therefore, I got the idea that the Soviets may have been looking for anything about the activities of the Japanese army in China in order to correct records for the trial.

I was only working as a support personnel. Even the ordering of local goods was based on an ordinary method using the local currency. As a result, there was nothing they could speculate to use as misbehavior on our part.

The investigation by Mischa became less frequent, and she showed less interest perhaps because of the repetitious investigations late into the night every night. I always heard the voice of Mischa’s lover at dawn when the investigation was almost ending. As soon as she heard him, she became restless.

Going back and forth between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the prison cell was in a car with without windows. Even though I could not see anything outside, I was able to recognize the change of season with some happy sounds coming from the activities of summer.

I was fortunate that I was in the prison cell during the summer without the harsh difficulty of the cold winter weather. It was not any place you would become fond of, but I got used to living there. What bothered me was the fact there was nothing to do except for the activity of being taken out of the cell for the investigation.

The only thing I could make myself busy with was to read newspapers that I was allowed to bring into the cell. They were the “Japan Newspaper” published for the Japanese captives by the Soviets, “Neue Zeit” in German, and “Novoe Premier” in Russian. There were lots of words I did not understand because I did not have access to a dictionary, but I discovered that reading it numerous times somehow gave me the ability to guess the meanings. It was just like what the Japanese proverb tells us. “No matter how difficult, reading a book hundred times would bring clarity of its content. “

I have read “Kaitaishinsho” by Kan Kikuchi before. It was a short novel that vividly described how young Japanese scholars such as Genpaku Sugita and Ryotaku and Maeno got together and squeezed their abilities to come up with the translation of “Anatomische from Dutch into the Japanese version. It was the first book of human dissection introduced in Japan. The way I used my time figuring out the meaning of unknown languages was similar to that.

I thought about my parents, siblings and friends. It was described that many small cities, not only big cities like Tokyo were demolished by the bombing by the American Air Force. I wondered if it was true. What happened to the army units that were stationed in China and the Southern areas of Asia? Oh, I want to eat sushi, soba, tempura and unagi... Endless thoughts came to me and I kept thinking about it again and again.

The food was not that bad, and I thought I gained a little bit of weight. However, an awful thought came across. I knew a death row prisoner would be fed well before the execution. I wondered if this treatment with better food could be the same example. I told myself I was thinking too much, but it was such a scary feeling that came back again and again just like bubbles emerging from the bottom of the black swamp.

It was at the end of August when I was released from the prison in Kazan. The Soviet officials may have finally realized it was useless because only the same responses would come back from me no matter how many times they asked the questions.

When I was put onto a ship from the port of Kazan in order to go up the Volga River, I was relieved to think I was finally going back to my comrades in the Gulag. The ice in the river melted, and there were endless green natural groves of trees on both sides of the river.

On the ship, young people were enjoying themselves with a lot of joyful activity as if they wanted to enjoy the short summer to the best of their abilities. Most of the people, however, were quietly listening to the sounds of the engine, lying on the floor.

Most of the older soldiers were speaking in a low voice that their lives were better before the revolution, but I could tell they were always scared of the accusation as a critique of the new political system

I can not imagine if their lives were so much better before the revolution, but at least they had freedom of speech. No matter how much more they had access to more goods, they must have realized it was less important than the freedom they lost. In addition, their lives really did not improve as much. Then it was natural for them to have complaints.

The ship went from the main arm of the Volga into a tributary of the Kama river. When I arrived at the port of Yelabuga, a poorly built port, I felt more joy of unity with my comrades who I could not see for more than half a year than the feeling of disappointment of going back to the gulag again. “I am going back to my friends.” It was such a great feeling. They really welcomed me back.