- 国際日本文学研究集会会議録 = PROCEEDINGS OF INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON JAPANESE LITERATURE (ISSN:03877280)
- no.7, pp.73-87, 1984-03-01
Since the early 20th century Japanese poets have written with intensity and eloquence in opposition to war. Antiwar poetry in Japan has been composed across a broad spectrum of genres, styles, and philosophical perspectives. Poetry opposed to war in Japan, as elsewhere, tends to by highly personal in nature. Poets often describe the experience of the individual in wartime. Some write explicitly about family members, lovers, friends, and about their own experiences in poems that extract war from the depersonalizing realm of newspaper headlines and casualty figures.During the Russo-Japanese War, Ōtsuka Kusuoko and Yosano Akiko wrote about soldiers at the front. Yosano's admonition to her brother at Port Arthur in "Do Not Give Your Life" caused another poet,Ōmachi Keigetsu, to charge her with treason when the poem was first published in 1904. It has been the subject of lively controversy among literary critics ever since. After World War I poets Momota Sōji and Fukuda Masao wrote poems bitterly critical of Japan's costly military thrust into Siberia. In the 1920s poetry oppesed to war in Japan was often heavily infused with the doctrine of the Proletarian Literature movement. But such works as Miyoshi Jūro's "A Letter to Shantung" and Negishi Masayoshi's highly sarcastic "For the Sake of the Nation" were less ideological in their criticism of the military and the draft.The vast majority of writers in Japan supported the nation's war effort between 1937 and 1945. Still, controversy remains over a small number of poets, such as Yamanoguchi Baku and Kaneko Mitsuharu, whose writing of this period has been interpreted as critical of the war. With the revulsion toward war felt in Japan since 1945, poets have regularly produced antiwar poems that have been published singly and in anthologies.