stories

When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter 3 - page 1

On the same day a certain first lieutenant in the army, Hideaki Kotani, visited Kinjiro in his hospital room. He was a young man thirty years of age who, despite his young age, spoke like an older man with more experience in life.
"Last night I received the news from the chief-of-staff that you had completely recovered. My visit is with regard to your recovery." Sitting face to face with Kinjiro, First Lieutenant Kotani spoke with a grave look. "Congratulations! I wish I could say that... but to tell the truth, I was instructed by my superior to communicate some news that may be displeasing to you."
"I can imagine what it is. The chief-of-staff drop me a hint a while ago." Kinjiro nodded, sighing. "You are asking me to pretend to be mad, to be my former self, Shogun Ashihara, aren't you?"
"Exactly, to tell you the truth." The first lieutenant sighed, imitating Kinjiro. "I hesitated because it's not an easy thing to ask, you know."
"Why?" Kinjiro looked up. "How does the army benefit if I pretend to be mad?"
"I'm not sure if you can call it 'benefit'." After a moment of deep thought the first lieutenant smiled at Kinjiro. "I should rather start from the beginning and talk about how Japan's state of affairs influenced what you said and did, which in turn captivated the people's minds and enhanced the nation's morale."
"I'm afraid I don't know what you are talking about." Kinjiro said mournfully. "Nobody told me about what happened after I got hospitalized. I'd appreciate it if you could tell me. To tell the truth I would rather not hear stories about my shameful conduct when I was sick, because I'm the kind of person who fears losing self-esteem more than anything else. But I cannot resist, please go on."
"In January of the fifteenth year of Meiji, the Rescript to Soldiers was promulgated. The same year you were hospitalized to the Tokyo Lunatic Asylum," the First Lieutenant started relating. "The fortunes of the nation were on an upsurge with boundless oppotunities for foreign expansion. The military grew stronger day by day, and the general mood was such that people began to admire militarymen and regard all others less than human. In this uplifting mood, your high-spirited slogans such as 'Conquer China! or 'Tons of military funds are in my hands!' completely captured the hearts of the people. However, there were still many conscientious objectors. It was quite popular to go on pilgrimage to the Izumo Shrine to pray for draft evasion. For this reason the military decided to publicize your activities to enhance the people's militaristic morale. This was during the eighteenth year of Meiji. The name of the hospital was changed to Sugamo Hospital. You were very much concerned about affairs of the state, making two feet four inches long cannons of five inch caliber out of trash and rags glued together, discussing national politics, promulgating laws and so on. The military put pressure on the@press to report everything about your activities. You joined the cream of Japan's celebrities. The Meiji twenties were the times when Japanese nationalism was gradually raising its head. There were several incidents of hostility between Japan and Chin China over the control of Korea. You were au courant with international politics because you read newspapers everyday.