@@Before dawn of March 10th, 1945, the Tokyo downtown area was attacked from the air by allied forces killing more than 100,000 people. Saotome Katsumoto (1932- ), who experienced the air raid at the age of twelve, wrote about it in his first novel Shitamachi no Taiyo [The Sun of the Downtown] in 1950. Hi no Hitomi was written subsequently.
@@Sugio, whose graduation from elementary school is near at hand, desparately runs away from a fire caused by the air raid of March 10th with his parents, his classmate Machiko and her mother. Machikofs mother is separated from the rest and Sugiofs father turns back to search for her. Rest of them reach the river, find a drifting boat and escape danger. The next morning, when they return to the place where Sugiofs house had been, his father is there, but Machikofs mother is still missing. They began to live in the ruins of the fire. One day, an iron plate falls down from the air and fatally wounds Machiko. While they are cremating her body, enemy planes come and attack them. Sugiofs father is bombed to death. Then the war ends. Sugio swears to himself that he will never foresake the peace.
@@Hi no Hitomi first appeared in the magazine Tanoshii Rokunensei [Happy Sixth Grader] and was illustrated by Takebe Motoichirô. His illustrations were given considerable weight and took up nearly half of the pages, which were realistic and had more impact than those of Suzuki Yoshiharu who provided art work for the published version.
@@That Hi no Hitomi grappled squarely with the fact of the air raids, and Saotomefs strong will to convey the tragedy of war were highly praised. On the other hand, it was debated whether it was useful to create a story heavily dependant on private experience.
@@Hi no Hitomi was later included in volume six of Saotome Katsumoto Shôsetsu Senshû [Selected Novels of Saotome Katsumoto] published by Rironsha in 1977. It was also revised and collected in volume two of Ai to Inochi no Kiroku: Saotome Katsumoto Jisenshû [Records of Love and Life: Saotome Katsumotofs Own Selection of Works] published by Kusanone Shuppannkai in 1991.