I dropped in a city museum named ‘Onojo Cocoro-no-furusato-kan’ (a museum of a hometown in our heart) in Onojo City, Fukuoka Prefecture. The remains of the buildings and relics of the people who lived in this area after the Second World War were exhibited in this museum. Seventy-five years have passed since the end of the war, and the exhibits made me re-realize the fact that this war placed heavy burden on ordinary citizens. The place for the city museum had been used as the US military base (Itazuke base) for a long time.
I was deeply impressed by the sketches and descriptions of Burma made by Sadakazu Ide*, an artist from Onojo City. (*Please note that Sadakazu Ide is an English translation based on Chinese characters’ Japanese pronunciation.) He was dispatched as a Japanese soldier to Burma (now Myanmar) in the Second World War, and after the war ended he returned to Japan and conveyed to the Japanese people the hardships and the outpouring of his emotions he experienced in the battle fields in Burma by making sketches and descriptions to the best of his ability. However, regrettably, he passed away before he could complete his works. I wish we could preserve his works, to which he devoted his life, as a cultural heritage of Onojo City to be handed down to future generations in the same manner as Sakubei Yamamoto (1892-1984)’s annotated illustrations of his daily life as a coal miner, which are exhibited in Tagawa City Coal Mining Historical Museum. Sakubei worked as a coal miner in different mines in Chikuho region, northern Kyushu, for about 50 years, and after he retired, he started drawing those illustrations in his mid-60s and kept drawing until he passed away at the age of 92 in 1984. His works were included in the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2011.