The Red Dragonfly and the Cockroach - A Short Story by Akiyuki Nosaka- 2003- translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori - 2015
Works I Have So Far Read for The Japanese Literature Challenge 12, ending March 31, 2019.
1 “Insects” - a Short Story by Yuchi Seirai, a post Atomic Bomb work,2012
2 The Great Passage by Shion Miura, 2011, a deeply moving work centered on the creation of a Japanese Language Dictionary
3 "The Whale That Fell in Love with a Submarine" A Short Story by Akiyuki Nosaka- 2003- translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori - 2015
4 “Bee Honey” - A Short Story by Banana Yoshimoto- 2000 - set in Argentina during the annual Mother’s March for Disappeared Children.
5 Killing Commendatore: A Novel by Huruki Murakami- 2017
6 The Master Key by Masako Togawa - 1962 - translated by Simon Grove
7 "The Elephant and its Keeper" - A Short Story by Akiyuki Nasaka- 2003. translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemari
8 The Emissary by Yoko Tawada - 2014 - translated by Margaret Mitsutani
9 “The Prisoner of War and the Little Girl” - A Short Story by Akiyuki Nasaka- 2003. translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemari. I did not post on this story.
10 “The Soldier and the Horse” - A Short Story by Akiyuki Nasaka- 2003. translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemari. I did not post on this story
11. Mr. English" - A Short Story by GENJI KEITA -1985- no post
12. "The Old She Wolf and the Little Girl" by Akiyuki Nasaka - 2003
Akiyuki Nosaka’s Stories, set in the closing days of World War Two, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 a date noted at the start of each story, focus on the most innocent victims of the war, very young children and animals. The stories have a fairy tale feel, the animals are very effectively
anthropomorphic rendered, putting us totally seeing things from the animals perspective. One of the three stories I have posted upon is about a very lonely whale brought to a very bloody end by his love for a Japanese submarine. The other begins in the Tokyo Zoo. There is no money to feed the animals so a decision is made to kill the animals, including a very gentle elephant raised in the zoo. His keeper of many years takes him out into the countryside. We feel the great bond between them, not even shattered in death. The other is about an old she wolf and the orphaned by war child she adopts.
Today's story, "The Red Dragon and the Cockroach" set in the final days of the war when most Japanese realized they had no change to win and focuses on an eighteen year old man selected to fly a kamakazi suicide raid on an American battle ship. He would fly an old outmoded one propellor plane known as the Red Dragon. Zeroes were too valuable for this. The planes were very slow and have in many attempts never successfully hit a target. The young man is politically naive. He wonders if in the end the full population of Japan will be massacred, as he is told. When he is told to be proud of dying for his emperor, he thinks only of the pension he hopes his mother will get. He adopted a Cockroach as a pet. He took it with him on his flights. In three attempts his squad of three planes has not found a Target. He takes his pet along on his last flight. His plane runs out of fuel and crashes. The roach survives. He does also but as the story ends he had jumped into the Sea of Japan, planning to swim to his mother's house.