- 国立歴史民俗博物館研究報告 (ISSN:02867400)
- vol.126, pp.119-131, 2006-01
太平洋戦争中、補給を断たれて多くの餓死・病死者を出したメレヨン島から生還した将校・兵士たちをして体験記の筆をとらしめたのは、死んだ戦友、その遺族に対する「申し訳なさ」の感情であり、そこから死の様子が描かれ、後世に伝えられることになった。あるいは自己の苛酷な体験を「追憶」へ変えたいというひそかな願いもあった。自己の体験をなんとか意義付けたい、しかし戦友の死の悲惨さは被い隠せない、と揺れる心情もみてとれた。このように生還者たちの記した「体験」の性格は多面的であり、容易に単純化・一本化できるような性質のものではない。戦後行われてきた戦死者「慰霊」の背後には、そうした複雑な思いがあった。いくつかのメレヨン体験記を通じて浮かびあがってきたのは、「昭和」が終わり、戦後五〇年以上たってなおやまない、〈戦争責任〉への執拗な問いであった。その矛先は、時に天皇にまで及んだ。たとえそこで外国への、あるいは己れの戦争責任が問われることがなかったとしても、「責任を問うこと」へのこだわりや「死んでいく者の念頭に靖国はなかったろう」という当事者たちの文章は、戦後日本における「先の戦争」観の実相を問ううえでも、さらには戦争体験の風化・美化を進める今後の世代が前の世代の「戦中の特攻精神や飢えの苦しみは戦後教育と飽食に育った世代の理解は不可」という声に抗して「戦争体験」を引き継ぐさい、今一度想起されてよいのではないか。Former officers and soldiers who survived their time on Mereyon Island during the Pacific War, when the disruption of supplies ended in the death through starvation and disease of many in the Japanese army, have put pen to paper to record their experiences. These reminiscences contain sentiments of "apology" to their fallen comrades in arms and their families, and describe the circumstances of their deaths, which can be passed on to future generations. They also represent a hidden desire to transform their own harsh experiences into "reminiscences". They also tremble with emotion as they seek to give some meaning to their own experiences and are not able to hide the tragedy of the deaths of their fellow soldiers. In this way, the characteristics of the recorded "experiences" of these survivors are varied, and cannot be easily simplified or unified. Such complex emotions are to be found behind post-war "memorials" to the war dead.One theme that reveals itself from several records of their experiences on Mereyon Island is the persistent question of responsibility for the war, which is still asked today, 17 years after the end the Showa period and more than half a century after the war. At times, the brunt of this question is directed as high up as to the emperor. Even if foreign countries or the soldiers themselves have not been brought to task over responsibility for the war in their writings, the obsession with "asking who was responsible" and the words of the people of that time that say "Those about to die would not have thought about Yasukuni (Shrine)" question the reality of the view in post-war Japan of "the next war". Their writings should be remembered once again when inheriting "war experiences", as future generations subjected to the toning down and romanticizing of war experiences are faced with voices from the preceding generation claiming that "It is impossible for those generations educated after the war who have only known full stomachs to understand the suicidal spirit and suffering of starvation that were present during the war".