|@@In July 1944, the Japanese Government decided to evacuate groups of
children from large cities to the countryside in order to protect them
from air raids. Shibata Michiko (1934-75) experienced the evacuation and
wrote Tanima no Soko kara based on her experience, which is considered as the first full-length childrenfs literature dealing with group evacuation.|
@@A fifth grader Chiseko parts from her family and is evacuated in a group to Shuzenji, Shizuoka Prefecture. A sixth grader Katsue is the leader of Chisekofs squad. Since Katsue heard of her fatherfs death in action, she bullies other members of the squad more and more harshly. Chiseko is also bullied by Katsue. Chisekofs eldest brother visits her and tells her that the most important thing is to survive. Later he dies in action. Chisekofs group evacuates further to Toyama Prefecture. She bears the pangs of hunger believing in the victory of Japan. Chisekofs father visits her to tell her that other members of their family were burned to death during an air raid. She was terribly shocked at the news. Then the war ends by Japanfs surrender. Chiseko feels as if the sky has fallen down on her. A younger boy Takeshi suffers from typhoid, and due to malnutrition, dies. Shocked by his death, Takashi, who has been taking care of little ones with Chiseko declares that he will no longer be cheated by grown-ups. Chiseko also says that she will only follow what she believes to be right.
@@Tanima no Soko kara first appeared in a coterie magazine. Elements such as an elder brotherfs death, the character of Katsue, bullying, further evacuation to Toyama, Chisekofs familyfs death by air raid, and incidents after the end of the war were added when it was published in book form. The story is narrated from a prewar viewpoint. Chiseko is a typically patriotic girl who bears hard reality, overcomes her weakness, and tries to learn from her evacuation.
@@Although some critics suggested that Shibatafs writing reflected only an individual experience, Tanima no Soko kara was highly valued because it was written from a childfs point of view for the first time. It was also the first work of condemning war by someone who experienced it as a child. It was nominated for the Sankei Award for Childrenfs Books and Publications in 1960.