Growing Vegetables

Phyllis Birnbaum

  • A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi translated by Eugene Soviak
    Princeton, 391 pp, £30.00, January 1999, ISBN 0 06 910014 4

‘One of the most important and compelling documents of wartime Japan,’ the publisher informs us. ‘A tribute to the human spirit,’ declares the blurb. The translators assure us of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi’s ‘meticulous attention to detail, the self-revealing thoughtfulness of his reflections, and the acuity of his observation’. The photograph on the cover shows him unprepared for this cascade of compliments, sitting amiably in front of shelves of books, rumpled and smoking a pipe.

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