The Japanese Imperial Army, 14th Army, Shimbu Group
I have just finished sending off a draft of War Sonnets to beta and sensitivity readers. Am I a nervous wreck? You betcha! So to keep myself busy, I hereby introduce you to the Japanese side of the “Men of War Sonnets.”
Corporal/Sergeant Tadashi Abukara*. Tadashi is the second protagonist of War Sonnets, a counterpart to Leo. He is 30-years-old and is married with a wife and infant son. Tadashi, like Leo, is a farmer, but his home is in Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan. Also like Leo, he carries a good luck charm: a magatama (religious pendant) that belonged to his uncle who died with honor in a previous war. All Tadashi wants is to live peacefully with his wife and son on their farm. He is torn between his duty to his family and service to his Emperor, and he worries that he does not have the courage it takes to fight to the death. When he is summoned to active military duty, Tadashi reluctantly complies.
Lance Corporal Kaito Shimizu, age 29. Reddish-black hair, hazel eyes. Kaito is Tadashi’s best friend. He is also a farmer and lives with his parents near Tadashi’s farm. He does not take life as seriously as Tadashi, believes in living in the moment. Kaito is much more eager to report for duty than Tadashi. Although both of them hate the American invaders, he has no qualms about fighting and dying with honor if necessary.
First Lieutenant Daisuku Inoue, age 25. Black hair, dark brown eyes, 5’5″ tall, 145 pounds. Inoue is Tadashi’s and Kaito’s superior officer. He is strict, sometimes cruel. He believes he is superior to men like Tadashi and Kaito since he is educated and from the city while they are merely peasants. Like many Japanese soldiers, his highest goal is to fight to the end, die with honor, never surrender.
*To avoid confusion, I have used the Western convention of First Name, Last Name