Skip to content

Kind-hearted Japanese soldiers erased from Japanese memory. The phantom masterpiece confiscated by GHQ, “Popul ar Edition Reprint Edition Private First Class Killed in Battle” is released.

Heart Publishing Co., Ltd.
Kind-hearted Japanese soldiers erased from Japanese memory. The phantom masterpiece confiscated by GHQ, “Popular Edition [Reprinted Edition] Private First Class Killed in Battle” is released.
The Shanghai Incident (the Sino-Japanese War) through the eyes of Japanese soldiers. Soldiers’ life-threatening battles unfolding in the trenches of rival front lines have something in common with the soldiers on the front lines of the current Russian-Ukrainian war.
Heart Publishing Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Hiroaki Hidaka) has published a popular version of “Private Soldier”, a reprint of the war documentary that was nominated for the Naoki Prize in 1938. It depicts the determination to protect the country, hometown, and beloved family, and the appearance of private soldiers who die without being able to return home.
[Image 1

GHQ (Allied Forces High Command) confiscated and destroyed Japanese publications that were inconvenient for the occupation policy. This book, which was nominated for the Naoki Prize and is a record of the China Incident drawn from the perspective of a private, is also one of the GHQ “burning books” books, and has become a phantom masterpiece. The writing of the author who is a reporter is neat, attractive and easy to read. It consists of eight compositions such as anthology and pointillism, and the title is taken from one of them.
Rather than the battle itself, the space is devoted to the climate different from Japan, the scouts and sentries, the movements of the troops, the expressions of the war horses, and the personalities and deaths of acquaintances who went to war from the same hometown. At night, when the attacks have stopped, you can talk with your friends in the rain-soaked trenches. But the time will come for the soldiers to die.
The author writes, “I hated the word ‘comrades-in-arms.’ But standing on the frontlines, I learned the depth of this word.” Sharing a small amount of food, smoking one cigarette with 10 people, and begging for one’s bones from a comrade-in-arms are by no means an illusion of a military song.
Having left his family behind in his hometown, this feeling also appears in the eyes of the enemy soldiers, and his feelings are not limited to “enemy hatred”.
A private dead in the author’s lap, military mail out of a bloodied pocket. Hanako, gokigendesuka.
Youchienha, Omoshiroidesuka.
Otosanha, Genkides.
Okaasanno, Iukoto, Yokukikinasai.
Omiyagewo, mottekaerimasyo.
I can’t read it without tears.
The month after the author was wounded and retreated, the Japanese army entered Nanjing. At the Tokyo Trials, atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking were found to be true, and along with the phrase “Nanjing Massacre,” the image of Japanese soldiers as savages became established throughout the world, including in Japan. However, what is depicted in this book are Japanese soldiers who caress for Chinese children abandoned by their parents, share meals with blind old women, and care for wounded enemy soldiers. The atrocities of Chiang Kai-shek’s army are also depicted. This is the complete opposite of the Tokyo trial. Therefore, GHQ must have had to collect and destroy this book.
I would also like to recommend reading the same China Incident written from the Chinese side, “Popular version [reprint edition] Chisato Routou”.
[Image 2

・Author profile
Masuji Matsumura
Born in Tokushima City in 1913.
After graduating from the Bunka Gakuin Faculty of Literature, he worked at the Tokushima Nichinichi Shinposha before joining the Mainichi Shimbun in 1936.
In 1937 (Showa 12), he was drafted for the China Incident, and in 1938 (Showa 13), he was released. In October of the same year, “Private Soldier” was published by Shunjusha, and the book was nominated for the Naoki Prize in the first half of 1938.
In 1944 (Showa 19), he was dispatched to the Burma front as a war correspondent, and was demobilized in 1946 (Showa 21). After that, he served as the chief editor of the Tokushima Shimbun, director of the Tokushima Japan-Portugal Association, and president of Shikoku Broadcasting. In 1984, he passed away due to renal failure. Aged 70. Other publications include Twilight Attack (Shunjusha, 1939) and Moraes Tsuredure: Selected Essays by Masuji Matsumura (Moraeskai, 2013).
[Image 3

・Book information
Book Title: Popular Edition [Reprint Edition] Private First Class Killed in Battle
Author: Masuji Matsumura
Specifications: New book format, 248 pages
ISBN: 978-4-8024-0147-0
Release: 2022.12.06
Body: 1,100 yen (excluding tax)
Publisher: Heart Publishing
Book URL:
Details about this release:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: