Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Letters From Kobe – Post WWII Japan

Have you even wondered what Japan was like during the time of the post WWII occupation? Many of us are very familiar with the Japan boom of the 80’s and the bust that followed in the 90’s but most of us have only read about post WWII Japan in text books that don’t really touch on what life was like for the Japanese and the occupying forces during this time.

“Everything along the coast must have been built close together, because now it is endless rubble. There is no open country when you leave town.

You are smack-jam in another community that looks just the same as the one just passed piles of bricks, steel twisted like old wires, a few smoke stacks still standing and Japanese people crawling in & out having found some space to make a home in all that mess.

We didn’t spend more than 2 hrs in Tokyo (went up on 1:30 bus — one hr ride — & returned on 5:15 train — 1 1/2 hr ride.)

I didn’t see very much in ruins in Tokyo. I think it is a beautiful city — lovely buildings and beautiful landscaping.”

Source:  Japan Times ‘Life keeps right on moving’

The Japan Times recently featured a series of articles based upon letters written by in 1947 and 1948 by Elizabeth Ryan who worked for the Inspector General of the Occupation in Kobe as a reporter for a provost court.  The letters were discovered by a secondhand bookstore owner in Nebraska of all places. The series of seven articles is titled “Letters From Kobe” and are a must read for anyone interested in this period in Japan’s history.

Image Credit: Wikimedia, Sto1001