stories

When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter 5 - page 1

The sixth year of Showa: the conflict of interests inherent in capitalism and the political situation in China gradually created favorable conditions for Japan's invasion of Manchuria. In those times those who advocated military expansion most passionately were mid-ranking army officers who belonged to the Cherryblossom Club. The left gained strength from this trend and Japan slowly embarked, not knowing what would ensue, on a long road which led to the bottomless bog of the Sino-Japanese war followed by an act of lunacy: the Pacific War.
One day in late July about two months before the Lukouchiao Incident, Kinjiro was languishing in the blazing westerly sun immersed in reading newspapers.
"It seems that China's revolutionary movement has spread to the Manchurian warlords," he muttered to himself. "This one called Chang Tso-lin seems like a pretty gutsy guy."
From the hallway came the sound of footsteps. Several people were approaching his room.
Kinjiro became alert, looked around the room, sat up straight and stared at the door. It was immediately clear to him that the footsteps belonged to newspaper reporters. He guessed that the chief-of-staff himself was showing some four or five reporters around.
The chief-of-staff opened the door and nodded at Kinjiro. "Hello, Mr. Ashihara. I've brought some newspaper reporters.
Kinjiro felt a bit tense, sensing something ominous because the doctor addressed him as 'Mr. Ashihara' instead of 'Mr. Shogun'. The doctor always called him Mr. Shogun in front of reporters.
The five reporters entered the room and looked at Kinjiro. A gaze of curiosity certainly, but not the usual one he was so accustomed to receiving from reporters. Nor was it the timid kind which a normal person would cast upon a mentally ill.
"Mr. Ashihara." said the chief-of-staff in a deliberately serious tone. "I have told the press about your recovery.
"Well..." said Kinjiro dumbfounded. "Is that so?"
Why? asked Kinjiro in his mind. What made him decide to finally anounce my recovery, now of all times?
"When was the recovery confirmed?" asked one of the reporters.
"Yesterday," said the chief-of-staff winking at Kinjiro. "Mr. Ashihara was suffering from mania, the disorder that makes one hyperactive. But now that he's become mellow with age, it disappeared by itself."