Diary of Leon Ma. Guerrero

7th January 1945

Waiting for the big fire-raids, the Tokyo authorities have thought up three more ways to speed up evacuation. Strangely enough in a land supposed to combine the brutalities of feudalism and totalitarianism, nobody has yet thought of chasing excess population out at the point of a bayonet.

Instead reluctant city folk who hesitate to inflict themselves on country relatives and who have heard stories of ruthless profiteering in evacuation centers, are being bribed with special rations of soap, butter, etc. Thrifty holdouts may be moved by the promise that their houses will be let, thus providing the additional bribe of rent. Finally worriers are being assured that the members of their families who stay behind will be lodged in special boarding houses with special rations.

Our former landlady would probably constitute a typical example. Her eldest daughter went off to the country together with all the children in her neighborhood school. But she herself is staying behind with her baby, her husband, and her mother-in-law. She wants to be a good wife, a good Japanese wife, and take care of her lord and master. It is this Confucian virtue that makes the greatest bottleneck in the evacuation program together with a total incomprehension of how near and dread is their danger.

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