40 YEARS OR OLDER: PHOTOS AND ART OF JAPAN, a group on Flickr.
40 YEARS OR OLDER: PHOTOS AND ART OF JAPAN
A SHORT ESSAY ON REMEMBERING THE RED LANTERNS OF JAPAN By Robert L. Huffstutter
These lanterns fascinated me since childhood and might have been one of the reasons I always wanted to go to Japan.
Not one who read these strange characters as a youth, I found them curious.* Curiousity has always been a factor in the many adventures I enjoyed beginning as soon as I learned to ride a bike. But I ramble off the subject of the oriental lantern.
In a nutshell, it is safe to say that this red lantern has been the downfall of many who have wondered the alleyways of Yokohama and Tokyo in the dark of night. However, I never had an alarming experience at such establishments. Those inside were mostly Japanese gentlemen who found my surprising entry into their domain humorous, thus they treated me to sake and told me tales about their time in the Great Pacific War. Most could not speak English, but there always seemed to be one or two who could speak English fluently.
I will forever remember such kindness--and such forgiveness for our merciless bombing of such a beautiful country. Nor did I ever detect the hint of any resentment toward me among these men who fought so hard for their Emperor but had such a love of life that they did not fight unto death.
On more than one occasion, I found myself waking in a nearby inn, having been deposited there in the early hours by concerned veterans of the Japanese Imperial Army or Navy. Yes, it might sound like fantasy, but such was the character of the Japanese in the early 1960s.
* I am still unable to read these characters called kanji, nor have I ever learned to speak Japanese.