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Where do the number of B-29s in each sortie, the tonnage of incendiary bombs they dropped on each Japanese city, from the end of 1944 to August 1945, come from? So I wondered when Cary Karacas asked me to translate a second round of air raid poems. He teaches cultural geography at the College of Staten Island, with a stress on the civilian experience of aerial bombing during war.

In responding to his first request half a year ago, I was drawn to a teacher’s experience and a military officer who put up a legal fight in a postwar tribunal. (“Indiscriminate bombing and legal judgment,” Feb. 27, 2017). This time, Karacas made a selection of 15 poems from Katsumoto Saotome’s “Great Air Raids: 310 Poets” (2015).

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