Katsumoto Saotome, Who Preserved Stories of Tokyo Firebombing, Dies at 90

Hiroshi Suenaga, a survivor of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki who accompanied Mr. Saotome on these journeys, together with a go to to the house of a Chinese language man who had been compelled to work in coal mines in Hokkaido throughout the battle, mentioned in an interview that Mr. Saotome was “very tender and calm on the floor, however he had an unbending spirit within him.”

Along with his volumes of survivors’ tales, Mr. Saotome wrote an account of an American B-29 pilot whose aircraft crashed in Tokyo and who was taken prisoner, in addition to a number of novels and youngsters’s books with reference to battle.

As a survivor of the Tokyo firebombing, he was outspoken in protesting all wars. As not too long ago as April, he had written a message for an viewers that had gathered outdoors Tokyo to view a film based mostly on one in every of his novels, “Battle and Youth,” a few girl’s seek for her little one, who had gone lacking throughout the battle.

Within the message, learn by his daughter, Mr. Saotome expressed disappointment in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and mentioned that seeing information footage of ladies and youngsters attempting to flee the battle reminded him of the Japanese victims in Tokyo 77 years in the past. “I really feel like I’m seeing scenes of many Japanese individuals wandering round attempting to flee simply in entrance of my eyes,” he mentioned.

Katsumoto Saotome was born on March 26, 1932, in Tokyo, the youngest of Katsuma and Rin Saotome’s 4 kids. The household lived within the jap a part of town, often known as shitamachi, or “low city,” a collection of neighborhoods the place the poorest residents concentrated. His mom was a seamstress, and his father labored as, amongst different issues, a barber, a avenue vendor and a theater promoter.

When battle broke out, Mr. Saotome’s older brother was conscripted however his father, an alcoholic, was deemed too frail to enlist as a soldier. His two older sisters labored in a manufacturing unit.

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