Magazine article Herizons

Tsubaki by Aki Shimazaki

Magazine article Herizons

Tsubaki by Aki Shimazaki

Article excerpt


The rain has been falling since mother died., So begins Aki Shimazaki's understated, poignant short novel, Tsubaki. A story nestled within a story, Namiko finally learns about her mother's personal experiences prior to and following the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki during the Second World War.

Before Yukiko's death, Namiko and her son visit the woman daily. And after years of silence about the subject of the atomic bomb, Yukiko answers her grandson's questions on the eve of her death. In spare, unembellished prose, Shimazaki utilizes the conversation between grandmother and grandson to describe historical events leading to the dropping of the atomic bombs.

"But isn't justice important?" her grandson asks when he hears his grandmother's seemingly matter-of-fact analysis of the war.

Yukiko's answer is deceptively simple: "There is no justice. There is only truth."

When her grandson asks if she isn't mad at the Americans, Yukiko brings up the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers upon the people of Nanking.

The last thing she says before she dies is, `There are some cruelties we can never forget. For me, it was not the war, not the atomic bomb."

Namiko goes to settle her mother's estate and receives two envelopes from her mother's attorney. One bears her name, the other bears the name of her mother's brother, an uncle Namiko never knew she had. When she begins reading the letter her mother had left her, she learns that her grandfather was not killed by the atomic bomb as she had thought. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.