National Geographic : 1946 Jun
Sunset in the East John Bennewitz Refugees, Bearing All Their Possessions, Crowd a Tokyo Railroad Station All over Japan the dispossessed are on the move. Some hunt relatives; thousands wander in from Korea. War veterans, leaving cities which have no more use for them, go to the country to try farming. In the stations babies wail and old women dejectedly hold heads in hands. Every train is packed, even to the locomotive. Incendiary bombs, which spared rails, destroyed many coaches. headache. What not to teach is a lot clearer than what is to be taught. One Military Government educational offi cer with whom I talked said that he had air mailed home for a copy of a junior high school text called Democracy at Work. When it arrived, he gave it to the superintendent of schools, who was so affected that he broke into tears. He said it was the first chance he had had to read about the living ways of other people since he had attended a mission ary school. Yet in this same school the Emperor's re script on education is handled only with white gloves, and entire classes rise and bow before the Emperor's picture at the beginning of each class day.* At an intermediate school near Wakayama the principal cordially invited us into his office. His coat and trousers hung on him like un ironed wash, but his manner was punctilious and he had the distinguished air of a man who wears a tie. He invited his teachers, eight women and two men, in to meet us. We sat around a charcoal brazier and tea was served. The women answered only when spoken to. We offered cigarettes around and they were accepted with grave eagerness. The women did not light theirs, since smoking is considered unbecoming to women, but they tucked them into their blouses. Japanese-English dictionaries were passed out, and the chat that followed was partly spoken, partly written. The principal an nounced that he and his teachers considered theirs a very enlightened school. They had stopped teaching their children the importance of fighting spirit. They dwelt upon the beau ties of peace, art, and contemplation. * See "Behind the Mask of Modern Japan," by Willard Price, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, No vember, 1945.