8 July, Takashi Yano

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The war in that land went on and on.
  And on and on and on. . . .
  Ever since the longest-living old man in the country was a little baby, there had been fighting. Even the king had no idea why they were fighting—but still the war went on.
  The two sides hated each other simply because they couldn’t face losing. Day after day, people were dying. Soldiers went on dying just in order not to lose.
  No one knew what could possibly bring this incomprehensible war to a conclusion. “Forward! Forward!” the commander kept feverishly yelling, simply because retreat was out of the question. All the king said to his subjects was “Fight!”—although both the king and the commander had long since forgotten the meaning of it all.
  Everyone was exhausted.
  Everyone longed to say, “Let’s stop! Let’s just stop this stupid fighting right now.”
  With just one little change, surely everything would change, but no one opened their mouth.
  It didn’t stop. It couldn’t stop. On and on went the fighting. So many soldiers were dying, their families were in floods of tears, and they hated the enemy all the more. The children who hated the enemy became adults, and they in turn grabbed their guns and went off to the battlefield.
  This chain of death was set to go on, forever and ever.
  Until one day, a young man appeared. . . .
  He did just one thing.
  He stood at the battlefront where he was assigned to fight, and right there, halfway between the opposing sides, he threw down his gun, flung his arms wide, and with tears in his eyes he yelled—
  “Stop!”
  Someone shot him. No one knew if it was friendly fire or enemy fire. The truth lay buried in darkness. But the young man’s death did not stay not buried in darkness.
  The soldiers who saw him fall told others, and the story spread among the citizens in both the lands. The young man who stood between the opposing sides and cried “Stop!” and was killed became everyone’s friend, their child, their brother. Everyone felt his death as their personal loss, and they cried.
  Stop!
  It was true.
  They must stop this ridiculous thing!
  His cry became their slogan. Everywhere in both the lands, people stood up, and more and more refused to be conscripted as soldiers. Things started changing on the battlefront, too. On both sides, soldiers were choosing to throw away their guns and stop hating each other.
  The two kings could no longer maintain their armies, so they shook hands.
  Nothing had been gained on either side, while the losses for both had been huge.
  But the long nightmare was over—thanks to the courageous act of one young man.
  The world can change—if you decide to change it.
  It can change for the worse.
  Or it can change for the better.


Translated by Meredith McKinney/Arranged by TranNet KK

Takashi Yano
Born in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, 1976. Won the 21st Shōsetsu Subaru Award for New Writers in 2008 for

Jashū

(Crowd of serpents). This work and his following works including

Burabura!

(Scoundrels!),

Kyō

(Wickedness), and

Shōbu!

(Battle!) have been regarded as emblematic of an era of a new wage of fiction. He has also received acclaim for his novelization of video-games including

Sengoku

BASARA

Samurai

Heroes

and

Tekken:

the

dark

history

of

mishima

. His recent works include

Genkōki

(Chronicle of the mystical box) and

Orokamono

no

shiro

(Fool’s castle).

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