At Yokohama station, my father and younger sister were there to greet me. We were in tears when we finally got together after three years of my military life. However, they were living underdifficult condition after losing the newly built house in Yokohama (Nishitakenomaru) which was built with my father’s savings after long years of teaching.It was completely destroyed in the fire bombing during the war.
During the twenty three day journey onthe cargo trainthroughSiberia, I kept wondering what I would do once I returnedtoTokyo. It was a question of going back to the Ministry of Finance which I entered after graduating from the Law Department of Tokyo University or not.
There were atotal of twenty seven people who entered intothe Ministry in Septemberof1942, and I will be probably the last one to go back there. All the rest must have been already advanced before me, and it would be very difficult to go after them from the bottom of the group. If that is the case, I should utilize the qualification of passing the Law examination during my student life, and become a lawyer. By the time the train reached Nakhodka, I was firmly determined to go to that direction.
The day after I returned home, I went to the Ministry of Finance and met Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono, and the Section Chief of the Secretary, Otsuki. Mr. Kono said, “you were marked as missing in the name list for your class. I am so glad you are back now. Would you like to start tomorrow? Your compensation will be the same as others in your group. As I replied, “I would like to rest a little bit since I just came back,” I was told, “there is no one else like you who came to the office as soon as they came back. You should give yourself some rest first.”
The firm decision to become a lawyer immediately melted like snow and changed to the wish to return to the Ministry of Finance. At that time I realized how easy it was to change a mind. It was actually a good idea because I did not know how the system changed after the war, and becoming a lawyer was not that easy even if I passed the Law examination. Two more years of internship in a Law office was required, during whichtimewe had to endure a very low income. (Before the war, we could just belong to a Law Office to start to work after passing the examination.)
I was not single, and was engaged, but I was supposed to get married as soon as I could and start a family. Therefore, I was worried if alow income as an apprentice of a Law office would be enough to take care of the family. With all these possibilities, I gave up the decision to become a lawyer and decided to return to the Ministry of Finance. The first position I was given was the Chief Administrative officer in the practical business of Repatriation in the Ministry of National property.
In the meantime, the controlled economy which was experienced during War continued, and rice was distributedand rationed for example. The amount was so little, so there was no way to eat white rice till you were full. We had to add pounded brown rice and finely chopped daikon. Goods were sold in the underground market, but they were too expensive for us.
The time we came home was three years after the war ended however, and I heard the situation was improving quite a bit. It made me imagine people’s daily life must have been the continuation of hardships after hardships.
When I think about the former military officers who could go back to Japan right after the war from the areas where Soviet army did not invade, their situations put them in a much better situation.They faced the drastic change of the society after the war themselves, and coped with it quickly. They were also able to look for work. On the contrary, people who came back from Siberia had a fewblank years after the war. Their families did not know where they were. These factors caused various disadvantages for them.
Although I was rather lucky that I could go back to the Ministry of Finance, there were a lot of people who found out their company was out of business or they lost their former positions. Because of the Farm Land Revolution that took place after the war, some were considered as the land owner who was not present and their land was taken away. Some were considered dead in the war but came home to find out their wives were married to their own brothers. Due to the extrememalnutritionduring the captivity, a lot of people suffered from the prognostic symptoms from it after their return.