A Night of a Thousand Suicides by Teruhiko Asada

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"A Night of a Thousand Suicides" by Teruhiko Asada

The novel based on actual events "A Night of a Thousand Suicides" by Teruhiko Asada, took place in an Australian prisoner of war camp, during World War II. The story involves captured Japanese soldiers planning an escape from an Australian POW camp. The soldiers knowing that a successful escape was most unlikely were faced with the reality of certain death. The battle came not only from their captors but mostly from within themselves. The struggle within came from their loyalty to their country, obedience to their leaders, and their own desire to die with honor. The views a Japanese solider and an American have on the value of human life greatly differs. While discussing escape plans with the other section leaders, Cpl. Hotei, says, '"There is not a single coward of that kind in my section. We're all ready to die defying any such order. That's the fighting spirit of Japan'" (Asada 17). This quote defines the spirit of the extremist views of a Japanese soldier. To be captured meant dishonor for them as well as their families. This extremist view is also displayed in the Samurai's motto: '"The way of the Samurai was the way of death"' (Asada 17). The soldiers in the Australian camp were not mistreated. On the contrary, they were well cared for. Despite their treatment by the Australians, a Japanese soldier would follow his leader's orders regardless of the final outcome. The idea that being captured meant dishonor to a soldier and his family was enough to drive him to die needlessly. The escape attempt took the lives of 234 Japanese soldiers. Some committed suicide prior to the escape taking place. Those who committed suicide before the escape were the invalids that were unable to attempt escaping with the others.

As the escape progressed, it was apparent the Australian soldiers did not want to kill the attempting escapees, but rather they fired over their heads in an attempt to stop the revolt. This...
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