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Michio Takeyama (1903–1984)

Autor(a) de Harp of Burma

3 Works 169 Membros 2 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Mishio Takeyama

Obras de Michio Takeyama

Harp of Burma (1946) 165 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



The beautifully written Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama is the haunting story of a Japanese unit during and after the end of World War II. At the time of it’s original publication it was seen by some as blatant propaganda, but over the years has come to be accepted as a lyrical message about the futility and despair that is always the final result of war. The story is of a Japanese unit deep in the jungles of Burma striving to reach their lines but knowing full well that the war has been lost. After surrendering to the British they sit in prison camp awaiting repatriation and they ponder on the fate of the talented harpist of the unit, missing from his last mission. Is he dead or has he deserted, and if so, why.

The author is showing us a different side of the Japanese soldier, one that we Westerners rarely see. These are young men facing the inevitability of defeat, not knowing what to expect if and when they are returned to their homeland. They miss the comfort and security of their families and hearing about the atomic bomb has brought great unease and uncertainty about their future.

The Harp of Burma is a small story in terms of pages, but manages to deliver a large message on idealistic pacifism. I found this story to have a surreal, dreamlike quality and, although simplistic and somewhat dated, I believe this story still has emotional value in today’s world.
… (mais)
1 vote
DeltaQueen50 | 1 outra resenha | Aug 16, 2012 |
Read this on the plane coming back from Japan as I've been meaning to read it for quite a while. It takes place during the Japanese occupation of Burma during WWII and reflects on a troop as they try to keep hope alive through music and their refusal to leave a man behind. It's a good story but I can't help but compare it to [Fires on the Plain] which this book simply cannot compete against. Some of the primary differences:

Focuses on despair
Focuses on a single soldier and his struggles
Struggle to keep humanity alive

Focuses on hope
Focuses on an entire troop and their struggles
Struggle to leave their humanity and compassion behind

Both books reflected on the struggles of the individual versus society but in slightly different ways. Harp's main concept is the comparison of Burma's way of living versus Japan and which is more correct. A highly civilized advanced society based on military teaching versus a society that sacrifices advancement based on religious training for the sake of a strong sense of religion and community.

"We Japanese have not cared to make strenuous spiritual efforts. We have not even recognized their value. What we stressed was merely a man's abilities, the things he could do -- not what kind of a man he was, how he lived, or the depth of his understanding. Of perfection as a human being, of humility, stoicism, holiness, the capacity to gain salvation and to help others toward it -- of all these virtues we were left ignorant."

It is believed that Japan has lost its moral sense out of greed and that's why they came to lose the war. Men forgot their own independent way of thinking to become patriotic and to conglomerate themselves to a greater sense of unity. But one can't go anywhere with such a group mentality.

This passage along with another debate between two soldiers at the beginning of the book (pg. 46 in the standard copy) are certainly the strongest parts of the book. Although the story of Mizushima is quite heartfelt and admirable.

Overall, a pleasant read but nothing compared to Fires.
… (mais)
3 vote
lilisin | 1 outra resenha | May 18, 2011 |



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