Diary of Leon Ma. Guerrero

2nd June 1945

About 400 B-29’s carried out another concentrated daylight raid yesterday, this time on Osaka, and the Times feels compelled this morning to write: “The enemy’s terror raids upon the major cities of Japan have recently reached a new height of intensity and it cannot be denied that the damage which they have caused is shockingly great…. There is no longer any need to give heed to the enemy’s claim that he is trying to hit at Japan’s military or industrial power…. The deliberate strewing of fire bombs over wide areas of the distinctly residential and commercial districts of major cities cannot be regarded as anything but an attempt to break civilian morale through sheer terrorization…. But in this objective the enemy failed decisively.”

Recalling that the Japanese had shown their true mettle after the 1923 earthquake, the Times proceeds: “Today the destruction is even greater than at the time of the Great Earthquake, to be sure. Today the destruction is not confined to one blow but continuous to mount in extent. Today, with the battle at the front absorbing the major energy the nation, there is only limited possibility of succor and aid from non-evacuated regions. But the [illegible] served to call [illegible] compensating magnitude of determined effort.”

But when the Times goes on to give “widespread evidence” of this effort it slips into wishful thinking. One may grant the Japanese “a poise and stability of heroic stature” but no one who is in Japan today can believe that “transportation and communications facilities are being restored after each raid with unbelievable rapidity” or that “rations are distributed under unusual conditions with ingenuity and dispatch”.

The truth is that the untold hoard of loyalty and patience accumulated by the Japanese in centuries of seclusion is being wasted by their rulers with cruel and criminal prodigality. Harried and hunted from their burning homes, starved, robbed, deceived, despised, driven like cattle from barracks to factory, from stinking sidewalk cave to a beggar’s hovel in thorny hills, their “unconquerable fortitude” is a tribute not so much to a “defiant, triumphant, and even buoyant patriotism” as to the naked human will to survive.