Former flight attendant in Japan inherits history of Lameng battle

Former flight attendant in Japan inherits history of Lameng battle
Miyuki Endo

In 1944, at Lameng in Yunnan Province, China, a battle occurred in which 1,300 former Japanese Imperial Army soldiers died in a suicidal attack against 40,000 Chinese soldiers.

For 15 years, Miyuki Endo, 52, has been visiting the few survivors of the battle that took place near the border of Burma, now Myanmar.

While working as a flight attendant in her 20s, Endo got to know an elderly male passenger.

Since they happened to live nearby, the two maintained a good relationship even after Endo quit her job. In 2001, she received from him some diaries and photos of the Lamen battle. The man was a survivor of that conflict.

At the time, Endo was studying at a graduate school, while taking care of her child. Her major was music history, but she said the man may have misunderstood and thought she was majoring in Japanese history.

A letter attached with the diaries said, "I want somebody to pass down to future generations the fact that there was an intense battle."

Spurred on by his strength of the man's feelings, Endo attended a meeting of former soldiers who fought at Lameng.

Using the connections she made at that meeting, Endo began traveling around the nation, from the Tohoku region to Kyushu, to visit the former soldiers. Through her travels, she developed a sense of being on a mission to record their wishes.

In November last year, her book "'Senjotaiken' o Uketsugu to Iukoto" (The meaning of inheriting experiences from the war), which recounted the stories of about 30 officers and soldiers, was published by Koubunken Co.

Several hundred books related to the war are on shelves in her kitchen, as she has not set aside a room for a study or library.

Her real profession is as a housewife, she asserts. "It's meaningful because I wrote all the stories from the point of view of an ordinary citizen," Endo said. "I think inheriting and retelling history should not be something special."

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