The Tragedy of the Volunteer Army in Manchuria and Mongolia

The more I think about it, the more compassionate I feel about the members of the volunteer army in Manchuria and Mongolia.  Young people not even twenty years old left crowded Japan and went to the open field in Manchuria.  Their mission was to cultivate the new land with the spirit of five races under one union and the construction of Arcadia.  Nevertheless, wasn’t what they saw in the land of dreams only a barren land in extremely cold weather? After they received training in at the Nichirin Soldiers’ barracks in Uchihara, those volunteers went off to Manchuria and Mongolia one after another, but what I heard was that they had to work on cultivating the land in really poor conditions withlack of proper equipment.

I have been in Uchihara for training as a student and also after I entered the army even though it wasfora short time. What we went through was only training, but I had a big doubt about the way we had to practice cultivating the land with a traditional spade and a hoe, and so I asked that question to the leader. The reply was that the spirit to work on farming is generated from using spades and hoes.  I was not satisfied.  I had never been there, but thevast land in Manchuria and Mongolia is not comparable to farming the land in Japan, there had to be bigger farming machines such as a bulldozer or a combine.  Why was the training done with such a primitive method of cultivation?

The idealism of the leader, Mr. Kanji Kato was in a way understandable, but it seemed like anachronism to me.  Back then, he was treated like God and nobody stated such an opinion publicly to him, but I have a feeling people had doubts about it in their minds.  By the way, chief Ninomiya was a relative of my aunt, Haruko Ninomiya. 

I wonder what happened to those young volunteers who lived close to the border of Manchuria and Mongolia when the Soviet soldiers unlawfully invaded.  Did theyresist?  My guess is that they immediately became victims of the tanks and bullets because they did not seem to be equipped with any weapons.  The life of the youth just went away so quickly. I truly feel so sorry for them.

In Manchuria, there were other men who were called up for the military service.  Many families lost the main support of livlihood because of that.  In such a terrible circumstance, Soviet soldiers unexpectedly came in and spread ferocious actions against them.  They had no way of resistance.  As a result, women cut their hair to make them look like men and kept walking south holding their children’s hands using barely moving trains. However, many of them could not go on any longer and dropped.  In some cases, they had to give up taking the children with them, and left them with the local Chinese.  They practically fled just with the clothes they were wearing.  

I also heard many stories that groups of women committed suicide to avoid becoming prey of the Soviet soldiers.  Historical story like “Red Moon” by Rei Nakanishi tells such a story.  The more I know about what happened to them, I can not stop crying.  This is the war, and this is what it is to be defeated in the war.  Such a cruel and harsh fact truly sand in in my mind.  

Since I was not there, I do not think it is appropriate to write more in words with my imagination.  Therefore, I should stop writing about it further.  However, it is my sincere wish that more and more detailed written records will be made about the reality the Japanese in Manchuria went through at that time.  I wonder who can be responsible to supervise such an important task.