「風立ちぬ」戦争と日本人 The Wind Rises: The Japanese War Experience (Part 2)

宮崎駿半藤一利の座談会 (2013年08月)からの抜粋
Excerpts from Dialogue between Hayao Miyazaki and Kazutoshi Hando (August 2013):

Source: Studio Ghibli
Japan could never catch up
Kazutoshi Hando: The Mitsubishi Zero Fighter and the grand battleship Yamato were two of the greatest pieces of military engineering of their time, both in terms of technical expertise and level of perfection. That said, Japan failed to develop a national strategy, underpinned by the necessary technological and industrial infrastructure, to take full advantage of these weapons.   


Source: Nikkei Shimbun
私は堀越さんにはお会いしたことはないですが、映画で堀越さんの親友として登場する一式陸攻[H1] の設計者、本庄季郎さんにお会いしました。とても明るい穏やかな紳士で、学校の先生のような雰囲気の方でした。それに対して、堀越さんには、どこかに世界を驚かせてやろうという山っ気が感じられます。
I never had the pleasure of meeting Horikoshi, but I did have the opportunity to meet his good friend Kiro Honjo, the engineer behind the Mitsubishi Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber who is also portrayed in the film. He had the air of a school teacher about him, a gentlemen with a bright yet calm disposition. Horikoshi seems to have been a bit more daring, as if he was looking to do something that would take the world by surprise.
Hayao Miyazaki: Horikoshi designed a fighter plane while Honjo was the mastermind behind a bomber. The planes they crafted stood in stark contrast to each other, even when considering they were fundamentally different types of aircraft. Honjo created a plane well suited for mass production, with a design blending straight lines and rounded features. Meanwhile, the Zero was much more detailed in its design, making it difficult to manufacture.


Source: Hasegawa Model
Hando: That’s why Japan only made 10,000 Zero Fighters over a four-year period. Meanwhile, the US cranked out some 12,000 Grumman F6F Hellcats in a two-year span. Granted, there was the major gap in the manufacturing capabilities of the two countries. Even so, much of this owes to the fact that the Zero simply took a long time to make, to the point that some joked it was more of a work of art than a weapon of war.
Miyazaki: Saying all that, I think it’s quite impressive that Japan was able to roll out 10,000 of these difficult-to-make Zero Fighters. I know I dreaded lifting up my pencils and trying to draw the Zero. It’s not that it’s merely tough to depict, but when you fudge it up just a bit, you instantly know you got it completely wrong. Then you have the parabola-like features of the main body, characterized by the subtle changes they make along the way. I ended up doing all this work myself, as no one was going to do it for me, but I got upset when I watched the movie at the premiere, frustrated with the poor job that I did.
Hando: Don’t be so hard on yourself. The scenes with the Zero Fighter are some of the best in the movie.
I actually received a lot of flak about the Zero Fight one time. My passion was more for battleships and naval craft, so I didn’t know all that much about airplanes. Back when I was working at Bungei Shunshu, I was put in charge of doing this special feature on the Japanese Air Force in WW2. My superiors thought I’d be up to the task because I liked military history. That publication really knows how to work its staff hard (laughs). Anyway, we used this illustration of a Zero Fighter over Pearl Harbor for the cover, and oh man, did we get a flood of complaints came from all these airplane aficionados, who told me that I had gotten it completely wrong. While there were Zero Fighters at Pearl Harbor, they were not the 52-type that we had depicted in the cover illustration. Well, they were right, but I always wondered if that was something you could pick up from a mere illustration. I actually brought issue with me today (hands it over to Miyazaki).


Source: Hasegawa Model
Miyazaki: Yep, that’s definitely not a 52-type Zero Fighter.
Hando: Wow, you learn something new every day (laughs).
Miyazaki: There’s a 52-type that Mitsubishi restored after the war that is now on display at the Yushukan (Military Museum at Yasukuni Shrine). A while back there was Zero Fighter owned by an American collector on display in Tokorozawa (city in Saitama, just to the north of Tokyo), and the people in charge of that exhibit gave me a call and said they’d let me climb into the cockpit if I wanted. However, I declined the invite. I mean, we’re talking about the spoils of war here. Do you think a Native American would want to go check out a collection of tomahawks amassed by a white guy? The Zero Fighters on display in museums also don’t sit right with me. They feel devoid of any soul.
Hando: The Zero Fighter is a tragic masterpiece in its own right. The latter half of the Pacific War saw Japan facing a dearth of experienced pilots, effectively muting the advantages of the aircraft and rendering it a relic of the past. In the end, it was literally run into the ground as it was relegated to running suicide attacks.
Miyazaki: The Japanese Air Force should have been looking to make a jet aircraft to replace the Zero. That’s what Horikoshi repeatedly stressed to his superiors, telling them that they needed to develop a jet fighter instead of making tweaks to the Zero. But they never listened to him.
半藤:結局、”持たざる国” 日本にそれだけの国力も先見性もなかったんですね。映画の中で、零戦を牛車で運ぶ場面がありましたね。名古屋の工場から各務原の飛行場まで丸一日かかったというなは有名なエピソードですが、トラックの輸送も、そのための舗装道路も、最後まで実現できなかった。非常に象徴的なシーンです。
Hando: Utlimately, Japan is a “have-not” nation, and in the war it lacked the national strength and foresight to make up for this. There was a scene in the film in which you show the Zero Fighter being drawn by an ox cart. It’s well-known that at the time it took roughly a day to transport the fighters from the factory in Nagoya to the airfield at Kakamigahara. They were never able to pave the road between the two and make it possible to actually move those fighters by truck. That scene really hits hard.


Source: Studio Ghibli
Miyazaki: Yeah, but when you look at what Horikoshi wrote, it made more sense to haul the fighters by ox cart given the state of the roads back then. At the same time, there were not that many Zero Fighters made, so he said it was best to take it slow when moving the planes to the air field. I’m sure he had a soft spot for cows (laughs).
The Nakajima Aircraft Company also used ox carts to transport the aircraft it made at its Koizumi plant in Gunma Prefecture to the Tokorozawa airfield in Saitama. The road between the two had a lot of rough spots, and there are still sections today that are filled in with concrete. The road with the bus stop where Satsuki stands holding an umbrella in the rain with Totoro in that animated film of mine is the same road. It’s an interesting road, fairly wide and has a shrine for the Inari deity off to the side of it, but is not that well known. Sadly that area looks completely different today now that most of the trees have been cut down.
Hando: Getting back to Japan’s deep-rooted problem of being a “have-not” nation, there was a line in The Wind Rises which I felt really drove that point home. When Japan bought the license from Germany to manufacture bombers, one of the characters says something like “I wonder how many people here in Japan are going to end up starving as result of us dumping all this money on a manufacturing license for a tool of war.” Weapons cost a lot of money to make, money that could be put to better use elsewhere. A good example of this is when the restrictions were placed on the construction of mainstay naval craft by the Washington Naval Treaty signed in 1922. This left Japan with a surplus of engineers and steel, which it devoted to building a number of bridges over the Sumida River (which runs along the eastern part of Tokyo). Indeed, they built so many they turned the river into this kind of bridge exhibit, with a lot of different designs on display for the public. This same period also saw Japan make significant headway in fleshing out its railroad infrastructure. These developments really show how much money Japan’s military ate up and took away from the public’s benefit.


Source: Tokyo University
Miyazaki: Naval aircraft definitely cost a lot of money. The flood control system for the Arakawa River supposedly cost about the same amount as a battle cruiser.



Propaganda poster from 1938 telling citizens to put their industrial trash to work

Source: Propaganda Posters: A Window into Wartime Japan (プロパガンダポスターに見る日本の戦争)