カテゴリー: Japanese Children's Books、おすすめ！日本の子どもの本、読みもの／chapter books and novels
|キーワード||沖縄 戦争 友だち|
This young adult novel, which was awarded the Tsubota Joji Award in Japan, depicts the lives of five boys in Okinawa just after World War II. Mitsu, a boy of about eleven whose nickname is Hanah, returns to Okinawa after being evacuated during the war. He joins up with four others: Habujiro, who makes a living dismantling artillery shells and is nicknamed for his grandfather, a catcher of habu vipers; Popo, who has a special talent for farting and lost one hand during the air raids; Behgua, a boy who lost his parents in a mass suicide, makes his home in a goat shed and can only speak like a goat; and Sandeh, whose mother is involved with an American officer.
The five boys make a hideout in a Banyan tree and spend their time playing and stealing food. Okinawans believe that Banyan trees are inhabited by mischievous wood sprites known as Kijimuna, hence the title of the book.
The tale begins with Hanah and his friends trying to swipe food from American soldiers who are hanging out with some Japanese women on the beach. The soldiers discover the boys and threaten them with their pistols, taking away their clothes. The book goes on to chronicle the boys’ daily lives, including their encounter with a Japanese deserter who collects the bones of
the dead, and their interactions with an entertainer who begins living in the boys’ hideout and who dresses them up as Kijimuna and takes them to funerals. Through these events, the background of each boy is gradually revealed.
The book relates real events in the life of the author, who is a well-known writer of screenplays for popular Japanese superhero shows. The characters vividly convey the feelings of Okinawans, including their ability to see humor even in the darkest times and their respect for life. (Doi)
- Text: Uehara, Shozo
- Gendai Shokan
- 360 pages
- ISBN 978-4-7684-5804-4
- Ages 13 +
Okinawa, War, Friendship