| Ishikiri Yama no Hitobito by Takezaki Yûhi (1923 - 1993) describes the life of village people near quarries in Kumamoto Prefecture during World War II. Many authors wrote stories based on his or her young days' experience in the 1970s. Ishikiri Yama no Hitobito is one of those works.|
Genroku, the protagonist, is a fifth grader at an elementary school. He is the boss of his classmates like Saburô, and Fukusuke. He spends his days playing with his friends, protecting their territory from others, and collecting fruits on a mountain. One day, an old ex-serviceman came back to the village. The son of the old man is a communist, and he lives in the mountains with his daughter Miyo. At first, Gonroku and his friends are against the old man, but later they become familiar with the old man and his family. Gonroku's father is an able quarryman, so when a big company tries to monopolize the stone in the quarries, he persuades the other quarrymen to start a union and protest. However, they dispose of the right to cut the stone one by one. He works hard at his own quarry, but one day he is crushed by stones and dies. The son of the old man is called into the armed forces. Many of Gonroku's friends leave the village. After the war ends, Gonroku becomes a civil engineer. One day he comes to a riverside with a traditional river wall of stones. The wall has survived the heavy rain, but it should be broken to widen the river. Gonroku presses the button of dynamite as if he were bidding farewell to the old days of quarrymen.
Some special words used in wartime and the unhappy ending may make this story a bit difficult to approach for young readers. However, the lively Gonroku and his relationship with the other characters of strong personality and the tragedy in the quarry described in the latter half are very attractive.
Ishikiri Yama no Hitobito first appeared serially in Kibô no Tomo [Companion of Hope]. It was praised for its well-thought plot and the description of the complex human mind. It received the Japanese Association of Writers for Children Newcomer Prize in 1976 and the Shôgakukan Award for Children's Books and Publications in 1977.