| Yoake Asaake is a realistic novel based on the experience of the author, Sumii Sue (1902 - 1997), describing children in a farming village. It developed a different phase from former stories for children (dowa).|
Etsuko, the protagonist, is a sixth grader girl whose father was killed in World War II. She lives with her mother, her grandmother, two elder brothers, and a seven-year-old sister. Though they are poor, they spend an untroubled time, until Etsuko's mother dies of tetanus. After her death, the children decide to continue farming by themselves. While they work hard to survive, they come to have complaint against the delivery system of rice to the government or the gap between the rich and the poor. The eldest brother delivers rice earlier than the other farmers, and is in a newspaper article. When he graduates from junior high school and leaves for Tokyo, the village people blame him for not continuing farming. However, when he accidentally appears in a newsreel showing working young people, they applaud.
The conservative attitude of the village people, as well as the criticism to the rice delivery system, leaves a strong impression. Etusko and the other three children's struggle to survive reflect the expectation on children in the post-war era; life may be hard, but there is hope for the future. The village children as protagonists are unique, in contrast to other contemporary stories with city children as protagonists.
Yoake Asaake is one of the Novels for Children series published by Shinchôsha. The cover illustration was by a seven-year-old child. When it appeared, many critics warmly welcomed it, while some pointed out that a real farming village or the real mind of children couldn't be found in the text.
Yoake Asaake received the Mainichi Award for Publication in 1954. It was made into a movie and a radio drama. In 1965, a Shinchô Pocket Book edition was published.