The Notes of a Japanese prisoner in the USSR
February 5, 2008 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Kiuchi Nobuo - a Japanese airman in World War II, was captured and sent to a prison camp in the Ukraine. He tells his story with drawings.
posted by tellurian (23 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Fantastic. The sketchy English somehow adds to it.

When he refers to "Moon Blindness", I assume he's referring to night blindness induced by vitamin deficiency?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:04 PM on February 5, 2008

Beautiful, funny, and really touching in places. "We don't know their language and we can't speak the language of words, but we all understand the language of music." Good find.
posted by steef at 8:09 PM on February 5, 2008

Great series - I like the cultural observations as he encounters POWs and soldiers from other countries. Interesting how a number of the drawings are devoted to going to the toilet. Also, does this girl look pregnant?
posted by awfurby at 8:14 PM on February 5, 2008

I loved this! Thanks for the post!

Interestingly enough, the site reads better in Russian than in English.
posted by pravit at 8:17 PM on February 5, 2008

This is wonderful tellurian. I found this one immensely touching and cheering.
posted by Abiezer at 8:47 PM on February 5, 2008


Imagine, 600 thousand POWs, their story almost entirely forgotten these days... what a great link.
posted by vorfeed at 8:59 PM on February 5, 2008

This is amazing. What a gracious man.
posted by maxwelton at 9:23 PM on February 5, 2008

The link is from the Wikipedia entry on Japanese POWs in the Soviet Union. There is also a small gallery at the Maizuru Repatriation Memorial Museum [Japanese].
posted by tellurian at 9:35 PM on February 5, 2008

thanks for this; beautiful in its simplicity and earnest tone.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:46 PM on February 5, 2008

very cool
posted by dydecker at 9:53 PM on February 5, 2008

Really nice. He actually manages to make war look charming - which it isn't, but you know what I mean.
posted by Xere at 10:17 PM on February 5, 2008

Fantastic post - what a wonderful site.
posted by greycap at 10:42 PM on February 5, 2008

An awesome and illuminating discovery tellurian. His images and story read like a movie storyboard. I hope it is turned into a film. What a wonderful and moving narration he created. Loved the Japanglish used as well. Poignant.

By the end of World War II about 600 thousand Japanese soldiers and officers have been held captive in thousands of prison camps on a territory, stretched from Kamchatka in the East, across Urals to European part of USSR in the West and Yenisei Basin in the North.
The History Chapters not only hold Japanese Army sound victories but also atrocities of defeat that I intend to tell about to the new generation. I decided to draw these pictures in memory of those of my comrades-in-arms, who were not destined to return home.

Kiuchi Nobuo, retired Air Corps

I had no idea.

His story and artwork remind me of those done by Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya and The Gulag Collection: Paintings of the Soviet Penal System by Former Prisoner Nikolai Getman.

Important to remember, especially in these times as the so-called Patriot Act etc spiral out of control, what unthinkable suffering can happen, under whatever flag the atrocities are committed, caused when leaders and those who support them blindly gain fascist power.
posted by nickyskye at 10:52 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

What a great post. Very very best of the web. Thanks.
posted by Rumple at 11:44 PM on February 5, 2008

The site is fantastic. It's ironic how such beautiful and humble drawings make unreal suffering and hardship imaginable.
posted by Skygazer at 11:53 PM on February 5, 2008

Totally awesome.
posted by XMLicious at 3:52 AM on February 6, 2008

Great post.
posted by The Monkey at 4:28 AM on February 6, 2008

posted by tehloki at 6:14 AM on February 6, 2008

Nice :)
posted by bullitt 5 at 7:51 AM on February 6, 2008

Really touching to someone in the military, especially. Capture is one of those things about which we say, "oh, never happen to me." So to hear about real experiences as a POW is always humbling.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 8:13 AM on February 6, 2008

Fantastic. Thanks.
posted by googly at 8:20 AM on February 6, 2008

That was very interesting! Great find!
posted by Harald74 at 6:12 AM on February 7, 2008

Loved this. My own grandfather was captured and taken to a Siberian work camp. He eventually made it home but passed away before I was born so I never got to know him...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.
posted by QueSeraSera at 4:17 AM on February 8, 2008

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