Photo Exhibition / 写真展
Location / 会場 Gallery Tosei / ギャラリー冬青
Period / 会期 4 August to 29 August, 2020 (Sunday, Monday and 13-17,August Closed) 11:00-19:0
As I met various people through Myanmar, I became aware of the “connection between Japan and Myanmar”. The World War II was an unfortunate event, but it was the beginning of the relationship between the two countries, and I wanted to touch the stories of its predecessors, so I visited "Tedim Road", which was once called “Hakkotsu Kaido".
The Tedim Road is leading from Kale-myo, Sagaing Region in central Myanmar, through Chin State to Imphal, India. The mountains of the Arakan Mountains, which have an altitude of 1000 m to over 2000 m, pass through a series of difficult points. I heard that there are many Christians in Chin State. When I overlooked the town of Tedim from the roof of the guest house, there were several churches and listened a hymn in the evening. I felt that it is a diverse country that is very different from the one I have seen so far (Yangon, Inlay Lake, Meiktila).
In March 1944, the “Imperial Operation” was launched, ignoring hostility and supply, but the British and American coalition forces were defeated, and the rally began in July during the rainy season. One of the withdrawal routes was the Tedim Road. It was a strategy called the worst in history, with many deaths and starvation rather than death due to repeated rout without weapons and food.
In April 2019, a person who returned from Operation Imphal said, ''The locals hid me from the British Army.They nursed me and gave me a meal. If they weren't there, I couldn't live and return. Myanmar(Burma) is my hometown'' Hearing I decided to visit during the rainy season when he was forced to withdraw.
In August 2019, heavy rain continued on the Tedim Road every day, the temperature was low, and there were countless landslides and rockfalls. I used to move a 4WD vehicle, but at that time Japanese soldiers were lurking in private moats in the daytime so they would not be discovered by the enemy. It was beyond my imagination that they walked through steep roads in the mountains at sunset.
Villages scattered along the road spread from the hill to the slope. The fierce battle over this hill may have been repeated. Remains are still found in the soil washed away by heavy rain.I heard that in the village where the Japanese army was stationed, there were many villagers who were victimized by the Allied air raid. Despite the situation, it was a valuable experience to be able to listen directly to the people of the village who helped the Japanese soldiers who are running out with their own ears.
In 2020, 75 years after the WWII, there are few people who can directly talk about the time. The relationship between Japan and Myanmar will continue to develop in various fields in the future, but it must be remembered that many of the predecessors suffered and the local people were sacrificed.