To mark the 70th anniversary in 2015 of the end of World War II, Hans Brinckmann, author of "Showa Japan — The Post-war Golden Age and its Troubled Legacy" and other books, wrote an autobiographical essay titled "Of Guns and Cutlery" based on his memories of the Netherlands in wartime and postwar Japan. Its Japanese translation by Hiromi Mizoguchi appeared in Atlas (Atorasu), a Japanese literary magazine, which regularly publishes Mizoguchi's translations of Brinckmann's essays. The English original of the essay appears here for the first time.
On a high shelf in my kitchen I keep a small metal box containing forks and spoons made from acrylic glass. It's been years since I used them, but today I happened to take down the box, and when I opened it, war memories came floating out. Memories of a man I never met.
I went into my library and pulled out the photo album of the 1931 class of graduates of the Faculty of Economics of Keio University in Mita, Tokyo. Why this album? Because it includes photos of my father-in-law, born in 1905 as Makito Shozo, the third son of an old, established family from the city of Matsusaka in Mie Prefecture.