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One Man’s Justice by Akira Yoshimura, translated by Mark Ealey [in Christian Science Monitor]

One Man's JusticeOne Man’s Justice, the third book by bestselling Japanese author Akira Yoshimura to be translated into English, is all about perspective: One man’s justice proves to be his condemnation. Takuya, an officer in the Japanese Imperial Army, is on the run. World War II is over, and Japan is in shambles. Meanwhile, the occupying U.S. military forces are on a manhunt for alleged war criminals, and Takuya is on the wanted list. His crime? Decapitating a war prisoner – a downed U.S. fighter pilot. Was it cold-blooded murder or serving justice? In this gripping, remarkable novel, Yoshimura offers no obvious answers.

Takuya is a fiercely loyal officer, in charge of an air defense operation. He follows orders and acts responsibly. War is anonymous: Takuya’s “perception of the enemy had been limited to the airplane itself, and that somehow he had forgotten that there were human beings inside the aircraft.”

When a U.S. B-29 fighter plane is downed, Takuya is suddenly confronted with individual faces. “It shocked Takuya to think of the Superfortresses … being manned by young men scarcely past their teens.” In spite of their youth, the prisoners become for Takuya “the embodiment of an enemy who had slaughtered untold numbers of his own people.”

Indeed, as far as Takuya had experienced, U.S. bombers moved beyond incendiary attacks on military installations and destroyed urban areas, and then targeted medium-size and even smaller towns populated by civilians – many of them women and children. Not only were countless innocent lives lost, but the resulting destruction of shelter and food sources meant bleak conditions for survivors. …[click here for more]

Reviews: Christian Science Monitor, August 23, 2001

“Works in Translation,” aMagazine: Inside Asian America, October/November 2001

Readers: Adult

Published: 2001 (United States)


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