||“Another Prince of Wales” (short story) by Aritsune Toyota
First published in Hayakawa SF Magazine (April 1970)
Currently available from Kurodahan Press’s Speculative Japan (2007)
|Original: Japanese, 1970
Translated by David Aylward, 2007
Synopsis: In the twenty-first century, England and Japan have mutually declared war on each other and the United Nations approves of the formal hostilities. People around the world rejoice and are eager for the climactic battle limited to war machines of 1941. Keith is on the War Supervision Commission for the UN, who travels to Japan to await the start of the battle, surrounded by eager recruits and anxious spectators. 18 pages
Analysis: Keith is mixed-blood man—the two halves from English and Japanese lineage. He is in a unique position to with the War Supervision Commission to assess the motivations of the two war instigators. Whereas the Europeans see war as a game where prisoners are held, traded or even cared for, war for the Japanese is a serious affair of art and dignity; rather than capturing prisoners, soldiers are executed. Times have changed, however, and war has been formalized into an absurd game.
The War Commission exists so that war is ensured to entertain the population of the world and that that war is exciting, going so far as to even have a favoring hand in the battle so that the brief clash satisfies the masses. These occasional and very brief wars are valves of stress that countries use to release tension and that people watch to ease their own tension. If this reflects our reality, does America, then, have too much pent up stress? Do they feel the need to bloodlet because of their stressful way of life? I guess being the self-imposed world police would be kind of a stressful job especially when that police force is so ignorant of the same world. To quote George Orwell: “”War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”