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Taken Captive: A Japanese Pow's Story

Long regarded as a literary classic in Japan, this extraordinary memoir is appearing in English for the first time. This is an intimate, gripping, and ultimately enlightening true story of a sophisticated, middle-aged scholar thrown into a primitive struggle for survival. It is filled with moments of sublime ordinariness - prisoners passing time by playing "20 Questions"--And heartstopping encounters - a lone soldier decides whether or not to shoot an unsuspecting enemy soldier. Throughout, the author constantly probes his own conscience, questioning motivations and decisions.


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What emerges is a multileveled portrait of an individual determined to retain his humanity in an uncivilized environment. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist. I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising.

Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Long regarded as a literary classic in Japan, this extraordinary memoir is appearing in English for the first time. There are no epic battles or grand scale heroics. This is an intimate, gripping, and ultimately enlightening true story of a sophisticated, middle-aged scholar thrown into a primitive struggle for survival.

Shōhei Ōoka

It is filled with moments of sublime ordinariness--prisoners passing time by playing "20 Questions"--and heartstopping encounters--a lone soldier decides whether or not to shoot an unsuspecting enemy soldier. The harsh conditions, the daily routines that occupy a prisoner's time, and above all, the psychological struggles and behavioral quirks of captives forced to live in close confinement are conveyed with devastating simplicity and candor. Throughout, the author constantly probes his own conscience, questioning motivations and decisions.

What emerges is a multileveled portrait of an individual determined to retain his humanity in an uncivilized environment. He was suffering from malaria and had dropped out of a group retreat, and was captured by American soldiers.

Taken Captive: A Japanese Pow's Story by Shōhei Ōoka

I say that because the book shows how important the Philippine guerrillas were, and how many Japanese soldiers they either captured or outrig The book is about a Japanese soldier who was taken captive in World War II. I say that because the book shows how important the Philippine guerrillas were, and how many Japanese soldiers they either captured or outright killed. He had given up on a Japanese victory, and held contempt for the General Staff of the military. He had a chance to kill an American soldier, but didn't take it. He might have killed himself, as did so many other Japanese soldiers, with their own hand grenade, but, in his case, his grenade was a dud.


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  • He talks about how the soldiers kept diaries, and how these were found by the U. He doesn't think that the war could have been avoided. Apparently at least some soldiers could bribe their way to advancement in rank.

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    In relation to the cruelty of the Japanese soldiers, he doesn't apologize. Even in the POW camps, certain Japanese "leaders" skimmed articles, stole things, and that includes food.

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    He refers to a soldier who had taken part in the Rape of Nanking, and says the guy " A lot of what he writes shows that the Americans took extremely good care of the POWs, at least in the camp he was in and others he knew about. The POWs were actually eating better and were treated better than those who in Japan, suffering under the U.

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    He writes about how Japanese nurses in the military also served as comfort women for the soldiers, and they were required to "service" one soldier each day. He is also anti-homosexuality. All things taken into consideration, the book seems to show that, even though the writer was well educated and basically an intellectual, he wasn't really that upset at the atrocities that the Japanese soldiers had done. He even has some rather negative things to say about the subject of love in general.


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    Although this is an interesting book, I would not care to meet the author and I don't think he is "friend" material. Sep 18, Nona rated it really liked it. This is almost the same as "Fires on the plain", only a little more rough and exhausted trip in the tropical jungle in the WWII. David rated it liked it Nov 15, Mike Lynch rated it it was amazing Oct 04, Houselions rated it really liked it Mar 16, James rated it liked it Sep 11, Auntie rated it it was amazing Jun 24, Tariq Beshty rated it it was amazing Jul 25, Masseyalum rated it really liked it Jun 18, Zita Steele rated it it was amazing Feb 23, Cindy Novak-delaurell rated it really liked it Dec 08,