In My Memory

Chapter 1

Memory of war【1】

Teruyuki NODA


I was born on June 15, 1940 (showa 15).


The world was already under war. The relationship between Japan and China, which started from the Manchurian Incident, became the Sino-Japanese War, which gradually involved the countries, and in December 1941, the United States and Japan finally opened the war and entered World War II. Of course, I did not know about such circumstances, but as a child, I felt the atmosphere of war and the special circumstances of the world, and my emotions still return to my heart.


It is difficult to express that feeling in words. Is it maybe be said that it is like an adding dreamy thing, and is different from the sense of crisis, tension, anxiety and so on what adults had to have as a reality? It is an emotion that can no longer be felt in modern times. Instantaneous emotion's cuttings and various situations, even a child, were burned on my vivid memories; so, these remain the same as it is now.


The other day, I found the recorded data on the Internet that investigated the damage caused by air strikes in various parts of Japan in detail. I lived in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, and I was surprised to find that the data table was almost the same as the period I remembered. It was almost the end of the war, but first let us write down the process leading up to it little by little with personal memories.


My most vivid first memory seems to be about three months before the age of one.


This is what I understood through the date I heard from my mother when I grew up. Before that, I had various emotional memories, but I could not specify it because it was fragmented as a haze.


My house was an ordinary liquor store. It has been abolished now, but at that time it was a business that required a national license, and it was under the jurisdiction of the government office under the mechanism that one house was placed in a designated area. Although salt was also licensed and its sales were regulated, these were old business style that is now unthinkable. Life was not rich but not so poor. Each store was called by its store name and was like a guide for the town. My home was “Izumiya”.


I have an older sister and an older brother. However, my older brother died two years before I was born at the age of four, and I am the defacto eldest son. I was pretty big when I was born, even though it was not difficult for the expected month. And it seemed dark. At first glance, my mother said, "I do not want such a child."


There is a reason for that. This is because my dead old brother was a very shining and unforgettable special child with a short life. Various legends remain. My mother said he was smart, hassle-free, and listened carefully to others and calmly understood what others said. He was called Ijin's child (it means different dimension), store clerks rushed to him in a department store instantly, dressed him mannequin clothes like a dress-up doll, and took him; anecdotes were innumerable.


I was born in a different condition than her expectations, so the shock must have been considerable. However, after a while I was no longer a dark child, so my mother's calmed down and she seemed to start saying "Well, even this child is OK."


戦争の記憶 その2-1 野田暉行 Teruyuki Noda Memory of War
©Teruyuki Noda (5 months old)

 Immediately after I was born, I heard that I had kicked the tub of a maternity bath and hit my head, which is of course unremembered; it is said that Tolstoy had the memory in the womb. Unlike today, it was common for midwife to come home and give birth, so she would have been surprised by the accident. I started laughing on the 13th day and started talking early. Even now, I love laughing, I was a very laughing child.


It was early when I started singing along with the nursery rhyme record at home, my grandmother (mother's mother) was impressed, "Oh, sing well with rhythm."


I remember that a little.


Although I was convinced when I saw my picture, my nickname was "Ozeki (the second highest person named “Ozeki” in sumo)".


As a baby, I was an angry child when breastfeeding time was unusual.

戦争の記憶 その2-2 野田暉行 Teruyuki Noda Memory of War
©Teruyuki Noda (My father was 33 years old in1937.)


It is a bit off the road but let us write a little more about my older brother.


My older brother was not a particularly weak child, but he was not given a long life by divine providence. Diseases of unknown caused gradually progressed. It started after my father was called to the Sino-Japanese War and after parting with him; my older brother started to worry only about my father. Finally, he kept calling "Dad, Daddy" and continued to sing military songs one after another and died, I heard so. There are two photos left just before his death, but his mouth is half open because he is out of focus. According to neighbor man who took the picture, he could not take it because my older brother’s body was shaking.


At the time he died, Manchuria, China, was in trouble. When my father kept watch the explosives warehouse with some friends, they were suddenly shot, and the explosives warehouse exploded. 


The friends died. But mysteriously, my father was saved without any injury. Later verification revealed that the time at which the breath was taken coincided with that time. "That child died in his place of father.", my parents sank in deep sadness.


My mother said that she found his soul separated from his body a few hours before he stopped breathing. Then something unexpected happened. While my father was absent, she was taken care of a young child at my mother's parents' house; there were some old houses that were long houses, and the backyards of each house are connected so that we could look over each one. There is a large kumquat tree in the backyard of the grandmother's house. It still exists.


It was a summer evening, when people in the neighborhood were having a cool evening on the porch.


From the root of the tree, suddenly in the darkness, a loud buzzing sound was made, and a bright red pillar of fire, which was about the size of a brazier, stood up. With fear, people immediately closed shutters and stayed home. The next day, my mother heard the story from many people.


There is an example that phosphorus burns, and a fireball runs when a person dies. This episode, which many people testify to, was maybe also true.


My Father returned to Japan once, faced up with his deceased son, and then returned to Manchuria to serve the rest of the convocation. It was happy for my family that he was able to fulfill his duties in the days when the military was still under control. It is hard to say how the subsequent war forced townspeople to suffer a miserable and cruel fate and kill their lives. Of course, even in the era of winning battles, there were people fighting for life on the battlefield, and many people died in battle. My father did not want to tell much and only told me one or two safe episodes.


When he cooked rice using river water at night, in the next morning, he was surprised at the copper-colored bog at glance. When a horse he was riding was shot and he fell off the horse, he went to report to the corporal, " I was lucky that the bullet hit the horse." but the corporal yelled to him, "The horse was more important!" and so on. Due to the falling from the horse at that time, my father had the lameness throughout his life. The red paper (military call-up papers in Japan during World War II) did not come after that.


My father was absent when I was born. During that time, my mother was doing business alone, and she worked hard. She liked to read books, and under the control of light, she seemed to have read a book in secret with black curtains. I was asleep and I did not remember. One day, she was finally found by a watchman and was penalized for a week. Night patrol and drainage cleaning, I heard. But she was not the type to lose heart on that. It was the epoch when it was impossible to do so.


  It was cloudy day and soft feeling a little sunlight. At that time, my house had a passage of concrete floor that went straight from the store to the dirt in the kitchen, but I was alone in the back room facing that passage. It was calm, and the rooms and passages were a little bit comfortable with a slight air flow. That feeling still revives. Suddenly someone came in there. He came straight, feeling as if he did not care about anything. And lifted me up. "Dad. Welcome back." I said in a small voice, "Oh!" My father was surprised at the unexpected, then he hugged and cheered with joy. I remember the beard. I felt embarrassed and did not know what to do, so I stayed still. It was first time for me to see my father, but I soon found out. My mother must have told me to greet him like that when the time came. I thought "Now!", and I tried to do it cleverly even though I felt embarrassed. Even now, the memory has been gone deep in my heart with a guilty. Eventually, my mother came home and knew what was happened; I was greatly praised and became to feel a kind of embarrassment or uncomfortableness again.