When the editors of Chuo koron, Japan's leading liberal magazine, sent the prize-winning young novelist Ishikawa Tatsuzo to war-ravaged China in early 1938, they knew the independent-minded writer would produce a work wholly different from the lyrical and sanitized war reports then in circulation. They could not predict, however, that Ishikawa would write an unsettling novella so grimly realistic it would promptly be banned and lead to the author's conviction on charges of "disturbing peace and order." Decades later, Soldiers Alive remains a deeply disturbing and eye-opening account of the Japanese march on Nanking and its aftermath. In its unforgettable depiction of an ostensibly altruistic war's devastating effects on the soldiers who fought it and the civilians they presumed to "liberate, " Ishikawa's work retains its power to shock, inform, and provoke.
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