The 96-year-old Japanese veteran Kobayashi Kancho was once an invader in China. But he says it was the Chinese people who brought him a new life.
In an exclusive interview with CNC, Kobayashi recalls how he changed from a Japanese invader to a Chinese soldier.
Soundbite, Kobayashi Kancho, Japanese Veteran:
“75 years ago, I was a Japanese soldier pointing my gun at the Eighth Route Army. But when I was captured, the Chinese people treated me equally as a true friend and brother instead of an enemy. They also gave me full freedom. I was awakened.”
On June 19th, 1941, Kobayashi was captured by the Chinese army when he was on a mission in Shandong province in East China. He tried twice to commit suicide, but was prevented from doing so by the Chinese army.
During his time as a captive of the Chinese army, he witnessed Japanese soldiers raping Chinese women and killing innocent people. He realized his country initiated this war of aggression and it brought tremendous suffering to the Chinese people.
On September 19th, 1941, Kobayashi and his fellow Japanese soldiers joined the Eighth Route Army. They distributed anti-war leaflets, wrote slogans and made telephone calls, trying to persuade the Japanese army to surrender.
Kobayashi said his only wish for the rest of his life is to tell the true history of the Japanese invasion to the next generation.