@@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 childrenfs 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 Chisekofs squad. Since Katsue heard of her fatherfs death in action, she bullies other members of the squad more and more harshly. Chiseko is also bullied by Katsue. Chisekofs eldest brother visits her and tells her that the most important thing is to survive. Later he dies in action. Chisekofs group evacuates further to Toyama Prefecture. She bears the pangs of hunger believing in the victory of Japan. Chisekofs 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 Japanfs 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 brotherfs death, the character of Katsue, bullying, further evacuation to Toyama, Chisekofs familyfs 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 Shibatafs writing reflected only an individual experience, Tanima no Soko kara was highly valued because it was written from a childfs 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 Childrenfs Books and Publications in 1960.