Deaf survivor tells experience in WWII, giving up to become soldier

Recently, an exhibit on "The WWII and Home Front" that showed the hard living during the WWII era was opened in Kyoto City. The event aimed to let the next generation aware of how the Japanese people survived the hardships due to the war.

Iwao Mihara (78), a Kyoto resident, told about his own war experience. He was born Deaf in Osaka City, next to Kyoto. As a boy he yearned to be a sailor and was excited to read the articles on the activity of the Japanese army in the newspaper. He believed that he could become a soldier and fight for the nation, too .

However, when he was taken to the public office by his father in February, 1945, he gave up the dream of becoming a soldier because he learned that he was not possible to communicate with other people. He says, "It was not easy for me to give up what I had hoped".

His mind changed when he saw Osaka in full of flames with the shells that the U.S bomber B29 dropped on March 13, 1945. Mihara hid himself in the air defense trench and survived.

When the morning dawned and he walked out in the town, he saw uncounted deaths; the woman with her child burnt to death, the old woman in the bathroom sitting burnt dead, etc. "The war should not happen again. I do not want to be a soldier".

After the end of the WW II, Mihara spent the full life; he enjoyed his work, learned sign language, knew the joy of communication, etc.

However, he never has forgotten the terrible spectacle immediately after the air raid in Osaka. When he reached at the age of 60, he started to draw the spectacle that remained in his memory, and added comments on the situation and his thought at that time. About 50 drawings were displayed in the hall.

Mihara said, "The terrible spectacle was finally wiped out of my mind by drawing the pictures. I think I have come to feel comfortable. I want to tell my wartime experience in the future".

Source in Japanese:

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