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Soldiers Alive

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  5 reviews
When the editors of Chuo koron, Japan's leading liberal magazine, sent the prizewinning young novelist Ishikawa Tatsuzo to war-ravaged China in early 1938, they knew the independent-minded writer would produce a work wholly different from the lyrical and sanitized war reports then in circulation. They could not predict, however, that Ishikawa would write an unsettling nove ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published July 31st 2003 by University of Hawaii Press (first published July 2003)
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Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-red-circle
A famous sinologist once wrote:
"Japan's mission is to promote Japanese culture with the taste unique to Japan and to brighten the universe. Since Japan is located in the East and since China is its largest neighbour in the east, Japan must begin its task in China."

This "task" is exposed in Ishikawa's brutal "Soldiers Alive". "Although Ishikawa's Soldiers Alive can be read as a damning document of imperialist aggression, it was not intended as such nor is this what the Japanese authorities co
William Kirkland
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
With Eric Maria Remarque's 1929 All Quiet on the Western Front came a virtual wave of war-sorrow novels. In the same year were Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms and Frederic Manning’s The Middle Parts of Fortune, described by Hemingway as “the finest and noblest novel to come out of World War I.” Faulkner contributed several novellas and Dalton Trumbo Johnny Got His Gun, 1939, with its soldier who has lost his arms, legs, and all of his face (including his eyes, ears, teeth, and tongue); Louis-Ferdin ...more
R Reddebrek
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The sweating, dust-covered soldiers marched, accompanied by countless swarms of circling flies."

Soldiers Alive is possibly the strangest book I've read so far in terms of the context of its writing and publishing. I'd heard of the book several years ago on lists of great anti war novels. That technically isn't true though I have a hard time believing it doesn't fit on the list after reading it. I also saw a brief blurb about this being the fictionalised account of the rape of Nanking. Thankfull
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Reading for class. Not my favorite of the wartime lit in Japan, but there are some interesting asides about the act of writing (diaries, letters).
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Japan won the land but lost the war of culture.
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